Dubai set to become its own island

Dubai: Few residents of Bur Dubai could ever imagine that one fine morning they would awaken as islanders.

But that’s precisely what lies in store in a few years as the final shovel of dirt is removed to complete the new Dubai Canal, extending the Dubai Creek from Al Shindagha all the way to Jumeirah, morphing the area into a new man-made island surrounded by water.

The Dh2 billion canal project was launched on Wednesday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, an initiative that is expected to boost the Dubai bid for World Expo 2012.

The three-kilometre long canal will start from Business Bay, cutting under Shaikh Zayed Road, Al Wasl Road and Jumeirah Beach Road before it merges with the Gulf waters along Dubai’s shoreline.

Being the heart of Dubai and one of the oldest parts of the city, the area is a mix of commercial hubs and residential neighbourhoods, which unlike other parts of the city, haven’t seen much change for years.

Man-made islands are not new to Dubai and neither are mega projects unheard of in the city. Known for its biggest, largest and tallest projects that have helped the city to stay ahead of other metropolis in the region, residents feel this ambitious project will further add to the charm of the city that continues to reinvent itself. Good reason for longtime inhabitants to be excited.

Emarati media professional Fatima Arbabi lives in a part of Jumeirah which will definitely benefit from the new development. “It’s a brilliant project and I congratulate all the people who are part of it for coming up with such a wonderful idea. Dubai is known for its brilliance in infrastructure, one can appreciate this more when we go to other parts of the world. I’m proud that I’m part of such a blessed city,” said Fatima, who lives in Jumeirah, just a stone’s throw away from the canal site.

Once the canal is ready, Fatima’s house will be a waterfront property, which she feels will bring positive lifestyle changes. “I’m glad that I will be an inhabitant of an island with an exotic waterfront facing my home, can’t ask for anything more.”

Another Emirati, Baqer Abdul Wahed, who lives in Al Wasl area just a few blocks away from where the canal will flow, is confident the canal will inject new life into the neighbourhood.

“This project will be good for Dubai in general and for the residents of Jumeirah and neighbouring areas in particular. Living standards will improve and the area will with bustle with new life and activities. Dubai believes in continuously reinventing itself and offering its people new experiences, I’m sure this project will prove to be another masterstroke,” said Baqer Abdul Wahed, an Emirati who lives in Al Wasl area, just a few blocks away from where the canal will flow.