Letter from the Minister of Environmental Protection

You download a scan of the original letter in Hebrew in PDF format here.

The Minister of Environmental Protection

2 August, 2012

Mrs Yael German
Mayor of Herzliya

Dear Madame,

Re: The Boardwalk at Zvulun, Herzliya

I write to you following residents’ requests regarding the boardwalk currently being built at the above beach.  Following an examination by professionals from my Ministry, and from data the applicants brought to me, I am of the opinion that the building permit for the Zvulun Boardwalk is incredibly problematic.

Firstly, I want to emphasize that it is doubtful that the work that began last month under the permit issued by the Licensing Authority is consistent with the previously approved plan (No 253 of 1961), and with the permitted purposes of that plan.  It would have been more proper that the establishment of the boardwalk in the scope discussed – which has widespread implications to the environment and landscape – would have been sent for examination by the Local Board, and a meticulously detailed plan of all the implications drawn up.  Such an all-inclusive plan would have determined the appropriate conditions for the establishment of the boardwalk, with clear directives to prevent damage to the beach vicinity and the cliff, and have allowed for discussion by additional planning institutions like the Regional Board and the Committee for Beach Preservation (which falls under the Ministry of the Interior – Ed.), in consultation with the professional bodies of my Ministry.

Furthermore, since the municipality under your authority is advancing a new plan for Herzliya’s beaches (and since the municipality was recently given directives to conduct an extensive environmental impact survey), I believe there was certainly reason to wait before commencing any actual work.  I cannot fathom the actions of the Municipal Director of Engineering, who is advancing construction in one place, without any consultation from environmental professionals, and at the same time, acting as part of another ongoing programme with the relevant planning committees as required.  Joining the Boardwalk to the existing and meticulously detailed plan, and the gathering of environmental survey data in advance, would have allowed for the integration of the Zvulun Boardwalk into a much wider plan and ensured the preservation of the beach vicinity in the best possibly way through professional directives from my Ministry’s staff, and as part of a more comprehensive vision.

Secondly, as part of the organizational preparations preceding the work, the contractor has deviated from the physical area allotted to him.  The contractor worked from the point of view of anulled territory that will be developed as part of the Project for the Development of the Boardwalk and Adjacent Garden.  Not only was this completely preventable (it should never have happened at all in such a sensitive place), the Licensing Authority should have acted as required, coordinating and determining the correct conditions to begin work in such a sensitive space, and according to the directives given by professional elements  trained in beach environment preservation.

I therefore ask you to immediately make all the necessary arrangements to ensure that all work on general beach surroundings, and the cliff specifically, be performed with all the required caution, through the close supervision of the Environmental Division of your city.  The latter will receive assistance and advice from the professionals in my Ministry, through consultation and comprehensive directives from my Ministry’s personnel.

To conclude, it was impressed upon me that the Municipality operated in an unreasonable manner, both from a public point of a view and a beach preservation point of view, causing unnecessary harm.  Therefore, I’ll ask your cooperation in rectifying some of the damages.

MK Gilad Erdan
Minister of Environmental Protection

Mrs Alona Shefer Karo, Manager, Ministry of Environmental Protection
Mrs Galit Cohen, Deputy Manager of Planning and Sustainable Development
Mr Rani Amir, Head of the Sea and Beach Department
Dr Dov Tzvieli, Consultant to the Ministry, on Beach and Sea matters
Mr Gidi Bresler, Sea and Beach Department Planner
Mrs Tal Ben Dov, Tel Aviv Regional Planner

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