09/01/2010 05:39

Garbage mountain will become the showpiece of a series of walking and biking paths, a lake, and a canal system.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) both pledged to ensure funding for the development of Ariel Sharon Park in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area during a tour of the site on Tuesday.

The park is meant to correct one of the country’s longest environmental blunders as it will emerge out of Hiriya – the country’s largest garbage dump. It was Steinitz’s first trip to the site.

Ariel Sharon Park is managed by a government company which recently replaced its leadership. The new executives briefed the ministers on short- and long-term development plans.

The rehabilitation of the 8,000 dunam area, three times the size of Manhattan’s Central Park, will be carried out according to German architect Peter Latz’s plans. The garbage mountain will become the showpiece of a series of walking and biking paths, a lake, and a canal system, among other features. The garbage mountain features a stunning panoramic view of the Tel Aviv skyline.

“We will use all of the legal means available to regulate as soon as possible the land needed for the park. There won’t be any stumbling on this issue. National infrastructures are not just factories, trains and roads. Today, citizens want open spaces for the pleasure of family trips in nature and a higher quality of life,” Erdan said during the visit.

“Ariel Sharon Park, over and above the fact that it will be the biggest park in the Middle East, is the opening gate to the State of Israel and as such will enjoy all of the support required. Everyone who enters Israel will see this green lung thriving in the heart of the country,” Steinitz declared.

Regarding funding for the planned quarter-century project, Erdan said, “I am very very appreciate of the cooperation with the Beracha Foundation, the park’s main donor, but at the same time it’s important to remember that the park should not subsist on donations alone, since it is a clear public resource.”

Steinitz added, “There have been ongoing energetic contacts between the administration of the Treasury and the Environmental Protection Ministry to match the park’s funding to the goals of the company to jumpstart its development.”

Interim chair of the park Esti Applebaum Polani called the park a type of “government start-up” and said that with the right support they would “take the place forward.”