JEDDAH: Less than three months after it opened, the new corniche waterfront along the Red Sea port of Jeddah is fast establishing itself as a favorite weekend attraction for locals and tourists.
The SR800 million ($213.3 million) 4.2-kilometer waterfront has watersport parks, designated beaches, children’s play parks, interactive water fountains, six restaurants, 24 kiosks, a floating marina dock, larger-than-life animal and art sculptures, as well as dozens of designated restrooms and phone-charging stations.
The waterfront development was opened three months ago by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who offered words of praise mixed with a warning. “We congratulate the nation on this project. My question to the people of Jeddah is: Will you safeguard it? Or will we hear tomorrow that it is sabotaged?”
The corniche has been a popular Jeddah destination for many years. However, in the past, litter from picnics was a frequent problem on beach areas and adjoining parkland.
Now, with increased tourism and a more diverse local population, Saudis are assuming the role of citizen ambassadors who care deeply about their surroundings.
A Jeddah resident, Layla Hamdan, told Arab News: “For me as a Saudi, it’s about proper representation. Now we are having more tourists visiting Jeddah and sometimes they ask me for information or directions and I try my best to be helpful. If I can’t help, I guide them to someone who can. I want to leave a good impression because some are visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time.”
Along with police supervision, more than 100 surveillance cameras equipped with face-recognition technology have been installed along the waterfront. The cameras are linked to the Public Security Agency control rooms, as well as the municipality.
As an added deterrent, Saudi authorities have announced fines ranging from SR200 to SR5,000 for littering or damage to public utilities and landmarks on the waterfront. Offenders will have to shoulder additional repair costs as well.
Repair work caused by vandalism on the waterfront is now almost nonexistent.
A street cleaner, Niraj Kulkarni, praised the improved cleanliness along the corniche. “Now there are more people, more food vendors, but not so much garbage like before. People are taking care to keep the corniche clean.”
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund recently announced a separate $4.8 billion redevelopment of the corniche that will add 1,200 acres of beach, retail stores, museums, a marina and more than 10,000 residential housing units. Construction is set to begin early next year and is expected to be completed by 2030.
Source Credit: Arab News