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16 march 15 presentation

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16 march 15 presentation

  1. 1. • Shurooq receives bids for $95mn resort development • Bahrain Airport Company signs MoU for new fuel farm • Aksal group inks deal for new mall in Morocco • Cities of Luanda and Lobito, Angola, to be linked by motorway • Saudi Arabia awards deal for Butterfly Dome • Bahrain re-assesses feasibility of $52mn theme park project • EIB lends €3.5bn for construction projects • Skanska to construct £165m new Papworth Hospital in Cambridge • $660m in project funding secured for 100 MW Xina Solar One • Tanzania dreams big with port project at former slave harbour • R16.5bn biofuel plants won't affect food security • Coal miner Murray to gain control of rival • Egypt Signs U.S.$12 Billion Deal With British Energy Giant BP • Coega unveils plans for Cargo Airport construction • Prison security improved following 2013 escape • Highland Park continues to study boat ramp issue
  2. 2. Shurooq receives bids for $95mn resort development The master-planned luxury project will spread across 261,000 square and will comprise of three components: the fort, the hilltown and town square. The development is projected to be completed in Q3 2017 shurooq.gov.ae Gulf126 Article only available on BNC
  3. 3. Bahrain Airport Company signs MoU for new fuel farm Bahrain Airport Company and Nogaholding have announced plans to launch a joint venture for the operation of a new fuel farm complex at Bahrain International Airport. The JV will supervise all aspects of the design and construction of the complex. http://bahrainairport.com/ Gulf127 Article only available on BNC
  4. 4. Aksal group inks deal for new mall in Morocco Aksal Group, a Moroccan leader in retail, luxury goods, department stores and shopping malls, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Wessal Capital for developing a new shopping mall in Rabat, Morocco. www.groupeaksal.com Gulf128
  5. 5. Cities of Luanda and Lobito, Angola, to be linked by motorway A new bridge over the Kwanza River in the National Road 100, begins to be built this year to allow greater fluidity in the road between Luanda and southern Angola, in the coastal route, said Director General of Roads Institute Angola. António Resende said that the new bridge will have four lanes, two in each direction, and ability to support vehicles up to 100 tons, with the site to be cleared and cleared for the installation of the yard. The Director-General of Angola Roads Institute said that the current link between Luanda and Lobito, passing around the city of Sumbe, will give way to a highway, "since there have already capacity to support traffic which is recorded daily. " The construction of the highway will be built in phases, "because of its length and high cost", with the first phase starting from the bridge over the Kwanza to Porto Amboim and the second phase to Sumbe "and so on until you finish work. " The National Highway 100 currently passing through the inside of various locations, such as Porto Amboim, Sumbe and Lobito, which has caused many constraints on road traffic. The current bridge Kwanza bar will continue to work, but only for internal traffic of Luanda, António Resende needed. In addition to the construction of the new bridge over the Kwanza River, will be also built two other bridges with motorway profile on Long Queve and rivers, but smaller, in that the first has four miles long and the other two 1200 meters each. www.governo.gov.ao Afr130
  6. 6. Saudi Arabia awards deal for Butterfly Dome Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Saudi BinLadin Group has been awarded the contract for the construction of the Butterfly Dome at King Abdullah Financial District in Saudi Arabia. The glass bubble outfitted with a tropical climate will be a unique public attraction located at the heart of the financial district. The project worth approximately USD 35 million will be situated on the land bridge over the Thumamah Road connecting the two areas of the KAFD. The butterfly house is designed by German firm Gerber Architeckten International. The spherical envelope of the dome will have a diameter of 35 meters and have photo voltaic panels installed on the facade. The entire structure will be surrounded by a water pool. The project is one of many awarded to SBG within the 1.6 million square meter district. The group is also working as the main contractor on World Trade Center tower, GCC Bank Headquarters, The Crystal Towers and The Cloud commercial building. The Butterfly Dome also has several other international firms working on it. Buro Happold is the lead and MEP consultant, while Hill International is the project management firm. Swett Group is providing cost management services for the project. www.sbg.com.sa Gulf129
  7. 7. Bahrain re-assesses feasibility of $52mn theme park project Bahrain is reevaluating the feasibility of developing a theme park in Muharraq. The $52mn scheme covering an area of 93,618 square meters was to feature the country’s first indoor ski slope and a three-story shopping center Gulf130 Article only available on BNC
  8. 8. EIB lends €3.5bn for construction projects The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved €3.5bn of loans for strategic infrastructure development projects, including a key railway route in Poland and improvements to Tube and cycle travel in London. The new loans will support long-term investment in 28 projects across the European Union, the Western Balkans, the Caucasus region and South America including strategic investment in road and rail upgrades and construction along with improvements to housing, urban infrastructure, education and research facilities. The new credits will finance improvements of roads in France, Germany, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the upgrading of a key railway route in Poland. EIB will fund investment in low-emission housing, education and childcare facilities, and transport in the Swedish city of Norrkoping apart from supporting SMEs and mid-cap companies in Portugal, Spain, Italy, and, outside the EU, in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Brazil. The bank's Board of Directors have approved loans worth €9.3bn funding a range of diversified projects of which €3.5bn will be used for strategic infrastructure. www.eib.org/ Uk71
  9. 9. Skanska to construct £165m new Papworth Hospital in Cambridge Skanska, a multinational construction and development company, has reached financial close with the Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for the £165m new Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. The public-private partnership contract includes design, build, finance, hard and soft facilities management of the new Papworth Hospital at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The consortium consists of Skanska together with OCS, which will provide soft facilities management services. Hard facilities management services at the hospital will be provided by Skanska for a 30-year post-completion period. The construction contract for Skanska is valued at £140m and will be included in the order bookings for Skanska UK for the first quarter of 2015. The new Papworth Hospital project will be completed in 2018 with Skanska commencing work on the site immediately. The hospital will include 310 beds, most of which will be in single rooms, a 46-bed critical care area, seven operating theatres, six in-patient wards, a 24- bed day ward, an outpatient unit and diagnostic and treatment facilities. Skanska UK managing director Terry Elphick said: "We will be consulting with all stakeholders throughout construction, an approach we like to take on our healthcare projects around the world, for example Barts and The Royal London, Derby City General Hospital, UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre, the Proton Therapeutical Centre Teaching Hospital in the Czech Republic and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in the USA." www.skanska.com UK72
  10. 10. $660m in project funding secured for 100 MW Xina Solar One Technology group Abengoa has announced that $660-million in project financing has been secured for the 100 MW Xina Solar One project – a parabolic-trough concentrated solar power (CSP) project, with five hours of thermal energy storage capacity, being built in South Africa’s Northern Cape. The total investment in the Xina project is expected to be $880-million. The project is being pursued in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the Public Investment Corporation and the Kaxu Community Trust, and is the Spanish group’s third South African CSP project. Abengoa has a 40% stake in the ownership consortium. Earlier this month, the consortium officially inaugurated the 100 MW KaXu Solar One power plant, located alongside the Xina project site, near Pofadder. In addition, an Abengoa-led consortium is building the 50 MW Khi Solar One power-tower project, near Upington in the same sun-drenched province. The $660-million non-recourse project financing agreements, Abengoa says, combine funding from development financial institutions such as the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, IDC and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, with local investment banks such as Absa, Nedbank and Rand Merchant Bank. A 20-year power purchase agreement has already been signed with Eskom, after the selection of Xina as a preferred project during the third bidding round under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. Abengoa says the location of Xina alongside KaXu, the first CSP plant to enter commercial operation in South Africa, will form the “largest solar platform in sub-Saharan Africa”. www.abengoa.com RSA37
  11. 11. Story Continues The five-hour thermal energy storage system, which uses molten salts, will also mean that the electricity produced by the plant can be dispatched after sunset to assist South Africa in meeting its evening-peak demand. RSA37
  12. 12. Tanzania dreams big with port project at former slave harbour In its heyday, Bagamayo was a gateway to the heart of Africa for colonisers, with trade goods surging in from the Indian Ocean, and timber, ivory and countless slaves exported from the east coast harbour. Then Bagamoyo, which looks out towards the island of Zanzibar, fell on lean times for more than a century. Now Tanzania plans an $11-billion project to make it the region's biggest port and an engine of Africa's boom. The Chinese-backed project would dwarf Kenya's port at Mombasa, east Africa's trade gateway some 300 km (180 miles) to the north, and include an industrial zone and rail and road links to capitalise on growth in a region hoping to exploit new oil and gas finds. "It will be the engine for economic activity not only for Bagamoyo but for the entire region," said district executive Ibrahim Matovu, speaking from offices overlooking beaches where ship-builders hammer out wooden dhows as they have for centuries. Many doubt the plan can succeed and ask if Bagamoyo is even the right location for a port, given it is just 75 km (50 miles) up the coast from Dar es Salaam and far from gas deposits off Tanzania's southern coast. Politics also plays a role. President Jakaya Kikwete comes from Bagamoyo and many see the port as his legacy project. But a groundbreaking ceremony was delayed from July and the project is unlikely to be revived during an election season that culminates in October, when his successor will be chosen. In addition, Tanzania faces a budget crunch and has been cutting infrastructure spending and the country lacks a credit rating, making www.tanzania.go.tz/ Afr131
  13. 13. Story Continues China Merchant Holding International has been joined by Omani sovereign wealth fund, the State General Reserve Fund, on the project but there has been little progress on building the infrastructure. The companies could not be reached for comment. Critics say the project is too much too soon for a nation with solid growth but big infrastructure gaps. Instead, they say the government should focus on improving Dar es Salaam's port, which handles 90% of exports and is growing at 10% a year. "Unfortunately, I think they lost a bit of focus. There is a need for more coordination and clear direction on priority projects," said Jacques Morisset, the World Bank's lead country economist. Tanzania, a former socialist state, is struggling to shake its image as aid- dependent and corrupt. Last month, the acting port authority director was suspended amid a corruption inquiry, two years after his predecessor was similarly ousted. Across the region, fast-growing economies have launched infrastructure projects at a scale unprecedented in most of Africa. Many are hitting bottlenecks. Kenya, east Africa's top economy, is upgrading Mombasa port and says it plans to move ahead with a long-delayed megaport in Lamu, an ancient Arab trading post near the border with Somalia. The Bagamoyo plan, 10 km from Bagamoyo town, a tentative UN World Heritage site which has the crumbling remains of a slave market and other remnants of the East African slave trade, was unveiled during a visit of the Chinese premier in 2013. Afr131
  14. 14. Story Continues manufacturing hub. Yet there are practical difficulties, not least that Bagamoyo's port, unlike Dar es Salaam's, would most likely need regular, extensive dredging. "Bagamoyo is a really good example of a white elephant," said one analyst who focuses on infrastructure. "If you're going to have two major ports, then isn't the place to have it in the south, where the gas is?" Tanzania has up to 53.28 trillion cubic feet of off-shore gas, putting it on par with some Middle East producers, but it has yet to construct a liquefied natural gas plant. Plans to upgrade Tanzania's central corridor rail line that connects mineral-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo to the coast are moving slowly. "If you improve only the ports without improving the railway, you are not doing anything," Shaaban Mwinjaka, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Transport, told Reuters. PEOPLE, THEY HOPE In the meantime, Dar es Salaam has problems of its own. The World Bank recently issued a stark assessment of the efficiency of a port expected to reach capacity within a decade. Last September, the Bank signed a $565-million deal to nearly double Dar's capacity by 2020. "If the port was as efficient as Mombasa, which is certainly not a great benchmark, the country would make almost $2-billion profit gain per year," said World Bank economist Morisset. Afr131
  15. 15. Story Continues Back in Bagamayo, artisans sip tea as they wait for the odd tourist to amble by. "They've been talking about this (port) project for so, so long, but there's no action," said Rast Mwite, a painter who sells leather sandals and chairs cut from coconut wood. "But people, they hope." Afr131
  16. 16. R16.5bn biofuel plants won't affect food security Pietermaritzburg - The two canola seed biofuels plants being developed at a cost of R16.5bn in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumulanga will not affect food security in this county. This was according to Leslie Young, part-owner and director of Johannesburg- based Revelations Isambulo Holdings, which is a partner in the project with China International Development and Investment Corporation Limited (CIDIC) and Huntergreen Investcorp of Nigeria. The plants should take about 18 months to complete once the environmental assessments that are underway are finished. The project comes ahead of the government’s plan to allow biofuel blends from October 1 2015. Up to 4 700 tonnes per day of rape seed are planned to be processed per day, which in this country is more commonly known as canola. The aim was to produce 2.1 million litres of biodiesel and jet fuel per day, 1 800 tonnes of animal feed per day and 61 000 tonnes of glycerine per year. New canola crops required According to Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, South Africa produces less canola than the demand for it, with local consumption at around 24 500 tonnes per year in 2012, most of which is used to make canola oil and oilcake. Most canola is grown in the southern western Cape. This indicates that substantial additional crops will be required to meet the needs of the biofuels plants. RSA38
  17. 17. Coal miner Murray to gain control of rival New York - Murray Energy Corporation, the coal miner founded and run by outspoken industry champion Robert E. Murray, agreed to acquire control of a rival producer for $1.4 billion to add output in the US Midwest and create one of the country’s largest suppliers of the commodity. Closely held Murray Energy will buy 50 percent of St Louis-based Foresight Energy LP, the companies said on Sunday in a statement. While Foresight founder and majority shareholder Christopher Cline will see his stake shrink, he will remain a significant investor and stay on as a director. The deal will give Murray Energy a bigger presence in the Illinois basin, a coal-mining region that’s a rare bright spot in an otherwise beleaguered and shrinking industry. The combination will create a producer with more than 9 billion tons of coal reserves. That’s more than any other US supplier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “In this extremely distressed coal marketplace, a coal-mining company must strive to be the lowest-cost producer in any sourcing region,” Murray, who founded his St Clairsville, Ohio-based company in 1988, said in the statement. “Foresight Energy has continued to be the low-cost producer in the Illinois Basin, with a focus on safely producing high quality, high heat coal, strategically located near low-cost transportation.” A fourth-generation miner, Murray, 75, is perhaps the most outspoken defender of a US coal industry that’s stuck in its worst downturn in decades. The fuel his company sells to power plants is under pressure from cheap natural gas and tougher emissions standards. He’s predicted publicly on several occasions that at least five big US coal producers will have to file for bankruptcy. Consol deal USA124
  18. 18. Story Continues That hasn’t deterred Murray - who regularly blasts President Barack Obama’s administration for actions he views as anti-coal, and who says there’s no reason to believe coal prices will rebound anytime soon - from making deals himself to expand his company. Murray spent $3.25 billion to acquire the West Virginia coal operations of Consol Energy in December 2013. Murray has since said he plans to increase production at those mines and has been on the lookout for more acquisitions. He’s targeting coal mines and reserves that he thinks can be the lowest-cost supplier of the fuel to coal-fired power stations - plants that he thinks are too important to be taken off the country’s electric grid and that are located in places where it’s too expensive to convert to natural gas. “That same strategy will carry me into the future,” he said in a December interview. USA124
  19. 19. Egypt Signs U.S.$12 Billion Deal With British Energy Giant BP Cairo — Egypt's Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail signed an energy deal worth $12 billion (91.5 billion Egyptian pounds) with energy firm British Petroleum (BP) on Saturday. Ismail was cited by Egyptian state news agency MENA as saying that the deal is set to provide Egypt with a quarter of local energy production and will contribute to filling the gap in demand of petroleum products by 2020. The deal will see the British energy giant develop 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 55 million barrels of condensates in the West Nile Delta area. BP announced earlier this month the discovery of a deepwater exploration well, called Atoll-1. "The estimated potential in the concession exceeds 5 trillion cubic feet," the company said in a press release on March 9. Egypt has been facing an energy crisis for years, with power outages surging in the summer. Egyptian authorities have often owed the power crisis to a larger fuel crisis and have been taking measures in recent months to diversify sources of energy. Egypt aims to build solar power plants and wind energy facilities within the next three years, with a total capacity of 4,300 megawatts, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in January. Egypt has signed an agreement with Russia last month, in which Russia will help Egypt build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa, on Egypt's Mediterranean coast, allowing Egypt to generate electricity using nuclear power. www.bp.com Gulf131
  20. 20. Story Continues Egypt has long been campaigning for the economic conference, hoping that it will bring investments needed to revamp its economy. Delegations from more than 100 countries are taking part in the three-day conference, Egypt's government said. Deals worth billions of dollars have so far been signed with the Egyptian government as part of the major conference and oil-rich Gulf countries Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged $4 billion each in investments and assistance to Egypt. Gulf 131
  21. 21. Coega unveils plans for Cargo Airport construction The Eastern Cape’s Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) could soon become a multi-platform international transportation hub with plans for a cargo airport under way. The Eastern Cape propvince is home to automotive vehicle manufacturers such as FAW, Mercedes Benz, VWSA, GMSA and Ford, and the recently established renewable energy components manufacturing industry in the Coega IDZ. The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is to issue a notice for an environmental impact assessment study to assess the feasibility of establishing a cargo airport and an aeronautical or aerospace industrial cluster in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ). Ayanda Vilakazi, Coega Development Corporation’s head of marketing and communications, said early this month that the corporation "is perfectly endowed with skills, resources and world class infrastructure at the neighbouring deep seawater Port of Ngqura, to be part of the global commercial aircraft manufacturing industry". The construction of a cargo or industrial airport would serve aeronautical and aerospace industrial manufacturing. The activity could include the manufacturing of helicopters, aerospace engines, auxiliary equipment and parts, and propulsion units. The industry could also possibly contribute to aerospace product prototypes, aircraft conversion and aircraft overhaul and rebuilding. He said the cargo flights would be destined for both international and domestic airports to support the “city within a city” at Coega. An added value benefit for investors, the airport would complement other industrial clustering, like agro-processing and automotive clustering, planned for Coega. “The existing expertise, skilled labour and logistics services from the Eastern Cape’s automotive and manufacturing industries are important strategic advantages that can support the development of aeronautical and aerospace manufacturing in the region,” Vilakazi said. www.coega.co.za RSA39
  22. 22. Story Continues “Feasibility work has been done by industry experts which has yielded great potential for the project. The establishment of an advanced manufacturing cluster for aeronautical and aerospace industries has always been on our vision map,” Davids said. The planned cluster would be located in Zone 14 of the IDZ, which stretches across 2086ha of land. “Through the environmental impact assessment, we are a few steps closer to developing a possible new industry for Nelson Mandela Bay, ensuring further broadening of the economic base and growth through diversified industrial sectors and development for the region,” Davids said. RSA39
  23. 23. British Architects named the designer of Qatar World Cup final stadium Renowned British architects Foster and Partners was named on Monday as the designer of the stadium that will host the final of the controversial Qatar football World Cup in 2022. The London-based firm won the international tender competition for the project, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. The 80,000 seater stadium will be built in the purpose-built city of Lusail, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of the capital Doha. The stadium will be the centrepiece of a huge $45 billion (38 billion euro) construction project which will see an entire new city rise from the desert in time for football's biggest tournament in seven years' time. The decision was announced by Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is overseeing preparations for the World Cup in the tiny, energy-rich Gulf kingdom. Hassan Al Thawadi, the committee's secretary-general, said: "We look forward to working with them (Foster and Partners) in creating an iconic, contemporary stadium inspired by Qatari culture. "Lusail Stadium will be the centrepiece of the tournament, an architecturally innovative stadium which maintains sporting functionality and delivers on our sustainability commitments." The stadium at Lusail is also expected to host the first game of the tournament as well as the opening ceremony. Lord Foster, the chairman of Foster and Partners, said it was an "honour to design this centrepiece stadium". "We are delighted to have won the international competition," he added. The architects are an internationally acclaimed firm responsible for such projects as the redevelopment of the Reichstag Building in Berlin, the Hearst Tower in New York and, perhaps most pertinently, the revamp of Wembley Stadium in London. The company's selection comes after a long tender process. The announcement comes just weeks after a FIFA committee recommended playing the tournament in November and December 2022, because of concern www.fosterandpartners.com Gulf132
  24. 24. Story Continues The Qatar World Cup bid has been seriously damaged by continued accusations over working conditions for the thousands of migrant construction labourers who are building facilities for football's showpiece event. In recent weeks, rights groups have demanded more action be taken by the Qatari authorities to protect those workers. Last month, Qatar said it would introduce a major labour law reform to ensure thousands of workers building venues for the 2022 World Cup are paid on time. The changes, approved by Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, will see workers get paid at least once a month and in some cases every fortnight. Gulf 132
  25. 25. Prison security improved following 2013 escape Authorities are in the process of installing new security fencing at Northward Prison to help prevent escapes following a prison break two years ago. A project to significantly strengthen the perimeter fence at the prison compound was completed earlier this year. A tender went out Friday for a second project to install a new internal fence at the prison’s vocational center. Prisons director Neil Lavis said the work followed a review of security in the aftermath of the successful escape in August 2013, when three prisoners broke out of a secure recreational area in the prison’s B Wing and cut through two perimeter fences. At the time, authorities highlighted the fact that the fence could be cut with tools. Legislators allocated $1.3 million in the 2014 budget for additional security measures, including CCTV and fencing, at the prison. Mr. Lavis said, “This was part of the full review that was done following that incident. “It will be significantly harder for someone to breach our perimeter once this project is completed.” The request for proposals that went out on Friday was for supply and installation of a chain link fence and razor wire surrounding the prison’s vocational area. “The work on the perimeter fencing for the prison has already been completed,” added Mr. Lavis. www.gov.ky UK73
  26. 26. Story Continues “The external perimeter, fencing and cellular accommodation of both Northward and Fairbanks should be brought up to category C standard and more secure inner compounds introduced to hold higher risk prisoners,” said Mr. Lavis. UK73
  27. 27. Outlaw bikies cut mate out of Maribyrnong Detention Centre OUTLAW bikies strolled into a Victorian detention centre to free one of their own while terrified guards stood by and did nothing. The extraordinary incident was one of five escapes from the Maribyrnong Detention Centre in the past four months. Authorities have launched a security review. Leonard Gjeka was plucked from the detention centre by two fellow outlaw motorcycle gang members — believed to be Hells Angels — on November 11 after they cut a hole in a perimeter fence, marched into the compound and walked him out. They fled on motorcycles. It is alleged the breakout was witnessed by several guards but they did nothing because they were intimidated by the bikies. Gjeka, an Albanian national, was arrested by detectives from the fugitive taskforce in Melbourne nine days later and subsequently deported. He has been banned from ever returning to Australia. Police called him extremely violent, and he forged a fearsome reputation in Adelaide. The Sunday Herald Sun can reveal the other four escapes from the western suburbs centre in recent months. Michael Dobson, a New Zealander, fled in the same incident as Gjeka. A Chinese detainee climbed on to the roof then took a running jump over a fence to escape in January. www.immi.gov.au Aus01
  28. 28. Story Continues On Tuesday last week, a Vietnamese man did the same thing, climbing on to a roof and jumping a fence. It is alleged he waved goodbye to a guard. A day later, last Wednesday, an asylum seeker escaped while being escorted to a Migration Review Tribunal. Sources have told the Sunday Herald Sun that the major issues at the detention centre were security cameras not working, faulty door sensors and an “electric” fence which is no longer electrified. Sophia Dickinson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, said: “The department treats escapes from immigration detention facilities very seriously and is working closely with the detention service provider and local police to enhance security. Due to the efforts of the police, detention service providers and the department, two (escapees) have been detained.” Aus01
  29. 29. Highland Park continues to study boat ramp issue Highland Park city and park district officials have agreed to move forward with an engineering study of the Park Avenue boating facility, another step forward in search of compromise between security and access concerns.. As it stands now, the city's plan to improve security at the water treatment plant fails to provide safe and reasonable access to the adjacent boat ramp, according to members of the park district task force who have examined the issue for months. An engineering study will allow experts to weigh in on what's possible. It's unclear if an outcome exists that would satisfy all parties. So far, the city has not budged from its plan to prohibit public use of the access road on the west side of the water plant. Closing that road to boaters effectively necessitates two-way traffic on the east side of the plant, creating safety concerns for both boaters and pedestrians. Without the west road, some boaters said they don't see how a plan could work. Here's your compromise: Put up a fence around the water plant. Razor wire atop that. Secure the gates. Done. Anything else is a waste of time and money because it's not going to do anything against a determined attacker. "What I see is boaters … are going to be squeezed out," said Peter Mordini, a longtime Highland Park resident and power boater. "I'm just very nervous." It's time to let the professional engineers study the quandary and review the task force recommendations, said Park Board President Scott Meyers. "Hopefully we can come back at the end of this and figure out a way to balance the security issue with access," Meyers said. "If there's a solution to www.highlandcounty.org USA125
  30. 30. Story Continues The Park Avenue boat launch, just south of Highland Park's water treatment plant, sits on city-owned land that for years has been leased to the Park District of Highland Park, which owns the boat ramp, the floating dock and the building that houses the North Shore Yacht Club. This dilemma was set in motion last fall when city officials announced they would close the Park Avenue boat ramp to enhance security at the water treatment facility, which had recently undergone $35 million in improvements. The idea was to secure a precious resource and significant public investment, officials said then. Highland Park's treatment plant provides water for 129,000 residents in Highland Park and other communities, officials have said. But the boaters pushed back. Some, like Mordini, said they live in Highland Park because of its access to the lake and are loath to see it go. Last fall, Alan Cohen, commodore of the North Shore Yacht Club, presented the City Council with a petition of more than 1,000 signatures in opposition of the boat launch closing. Subsequently, the city agreed to work with the park district task force to find a compromise. But at the most recent meeting on March 10, members of the task force said they were limited in what they could study and recommend given the city's plan to set a perimeter fence around the water treatment plant. The closure of the west road, and the resulting two-way traffic on the east side of the plant, presents problems for boaters trying to launch their crafts, as well as for those trying to get off the lake in case of emergencies, said Nelson Armour, task force member. USA125
  31. 31. Story Continues City Council members Tony Blumberg and Michelle Holleman, who were present at the park board meeting, both said the city was committed to working with the park district to find a compromise. This summer, the boat ramp will be open as usual while its future is being studied. USA125
  32. 32. St Patrick's Day prank: Man Sellotaped to lamppost outside Dublin pub This hilarious picture shows a reveller in a sticky situation yesterday as he took part in the St Patrick's Day celebrations. The man, who was enjoying a day out with pals in Dublin's Temple Bar, was taped to a stop sign outside the iconic Auld Dubliner pub, reports the Irish Mirror. The cheeky lads' antics were snapped by Janet Newenham yesterday afternoon. Ms Newenham said the man was "happy out" and was "fed beers" by his pals. Posting on Twitter, she said: "As bad as it looks, he was loving the attention! He was being fed beers and was happy out haha." Around half a million revellers expected to pour into Dublin for St Patrick’s Day celebrations, which is officially celebrated on March 17. Funny News

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