Words Tamara Batshon
Many recall the infamous trash mountain in the city of Sidon, which existed for three decades. Now, however, residents of Sidon can put all this behind them, thanks to the successful implementation of the “Rehabilitation of Saida Dumpsite Project.” The UNDP-supervised project has transformed the landscape along the southern shores of the city from a gigantic dumpsite into a state-of-the-art public park.
The project’s first objective was to rid the city of its 30-year-old trash mountain. This was accomplished by the construction of a 65,000-square meter engineered sanitary landfill. The landfill’s three cells now house the organic section of the 1.5 million cubic meters of waste that previously were randomly dumped in the old trash mountain.
A new beginning: the public park
The second phase of the project was the construction of a 33,000-square meter public park that will finally be open to the public this spring. It was made in an area that was reclaimed from the sea and filled with non-polluted filling material. The landscaping design of the park enabled it to have different levels of altitude, from sea level to 14 meters, with hills overlooking the Mediterranean. At the center of the park lies an impressive 200-seat Roman-style amphitheatre, ready to host Sidon’s ceremonies and celebratory events.
The park also offers three huge pergolas built in different styles, a decorative bridge that connects two of the main hills, plus the guard’s house and public restrooms.
As for the planting of the park, a 12,000-square meter area is covered with green grass, while a bouquet of 10,452 trees and shrubs is planted all over. Among its 300 trees, there are 43 olive trees (of which three of them are over 100 years old), 18 citrus trees, six large Washingtonia trees, multiple pine trees, phoenix trees, Robinia, Jacaranda, and other kinds. The park’s hill is also covered in gorgeous blooms: lavender, cuphea, strelitzia of different colors, lantana and gazania, among other colorful flowers. Being a family getaway zone, the park has a 200-square meter playground for kids, over two kilometers of walkways for jogging and walking, and over 50 benches along its roads for people to sit and enjoy Sidon’s remarkable green getaway.