|My tent, 2 years ago, Zoor Area|
Hate to say "I told you so" but I said it on my FB account - this is gonna git ugly.
The Municipality is taking away a Kuwaiti cultural activity that has gone on for generations and dates back to Bedouin tribes roaming the desert. The Municipality have made deposits so high that some families can't afford to pay. Other families are upset because the land size limits them only to the ability to set up camp for one or two families, so that extended families can't camp together (again, breaking a tradition).
People are mad. I'm one of them. Many of my friends (including my own group of seasonal camping buddies) have decided that it is all too much. We are sticking to the farm this year. I want to be in my tent!!! The Government has found yet another way to create more bureaucracy, paperwork, and tedium. 300KD for land rent, 50KD non-refundable deposit, permits and signage required, land limit of 1,000 meters, limitations on what types of bathrooms and plumbing you can set up. And, worst of all, some guy deciding where you can to camp. That translates to wastah and wealthy people being able to rent plots of land and then re-rent at higher prices.
|My Tent (background) last winter|
Seriously, are they TRYING to push people out of the country? Where else do you go? Are people supposed to just set up tents along the Gulf Road to enjoy the weather? This sucks. I think you'll notice a lot less camps this year. PATHETIC
THANK YOU, KUWAIT TIMES FOR FOLLOWING THIS STORY!!! And corruption? Oh gee, now there is a shocker....
Photo: Kuwait Times
Corruption Over Camping Spots at Kuwait Municipality (LINK)
Kuwait Times by Nawara Fattahova
6 November, 2014
KUWAIT: A Municipality employee involved in the allotment of desert spots for camping is selling them for thousands of dinars, according to several Kuwaitis who had to pay the civil servant in order to be granted those campsites. The muftah (the key person) allegedly reserved several spots for himself, his family, friends and even his domestic servants when the camping season opened. He then began to sell these reservations to citizens looking to set up their camps in prime locations.
Kuwait’s camping season runs from November till March and is popular with both locals and expatriates. Thousands of camps are set up, mostly in Ahmadi, Farwaniya and Jahra governorates in selected desert areas overseen by the Municipal Council.
Under a new system by the Municipality that aims to organize the camping season and help protect the environment, campers must now register for a designated spot and pay a fee of KD 50 plus a KD 300 deposit. Using GPS coordinates and an online registration system, the Municipality invited would-be campers to apply for a campsite.
But according to several campers that Kuwait Times spoke with in various camping areas around Kuwait, at least one Municipality supervisor is withholding the best spots for sale on the desert camp black market. “When I tried to book my location for a camp online on the website of the Municipality, I was shocked that all the good strategic locations were gone,” explained Yousef. “I later found out
that a supervisor at the Ahmadi branch of the Municipality has booked the places for himself and registered them in the names of his family members and friends. This guy is selling these places for up to KD 2,000,” he told Kuwait Times.
“We thought of preparing a petition, but when we filed a complaint at the Municipality, nobody listened. They said everyone wants the most popular locations, although we have been camping there every year. Furthermore, the locations on their system are wrong, as I applied for a location in Julaia, and the system gave me a location in Mina Abdullah. The new system sucks, and hasn’t brought any benefits at all,” he stated.
Another camper explained that the Municipality’s new system has essentially created the conditions for a black market in popular camping sites by creating artificial limitations and demand. “The new regulation changed the national tradition of camping into a business for many people. The Municipality is involved in this, and their staff are reserving good locations for their friends who are selling them for high amounts starting from KD 500 up to KD 2,000,” said Jassem, who also paid extra for his spot. “Social media and various websites are full of ads by people offering to sell a camp with a permit or just the site,” he pointed out.
The locations differ in price. “Officially, the payment is the same for all locations in all governorates, which is a KD 50 fee and a KD 300 deposit that will be returned at the end of the camping season. But practically, people are selling their sites for different prices depending on the demanded areas. Even the KD 350 officially paid to the Municipality is considered a high amount for some people, especially 17- or 18-year-old students, so many of them won’t be camping this year,” Jassem added.
Abu Ahmad, another Kuwaiti camper, confirmed that he paid the Municipality employee for a good camp location. “I was obliged to pay KD 1,100 to get a camp near a location to the one I typically camp at every year for the last 20 years. The Municipality is corrupt, but when I went to file a complaint, they told me that I don’t have any evidence as there is nothing registered in the name of this corrupt employee, who registered the locations in the name of his friends and relatives. So I was not able to accuse him as I can’t officially prove it,” he stated.
He mentioned other what he called the exploitation of the system. “Besides the corruption of this employee and maybe other employees, there is the fact that somebody will get profit or interest from the deposits and fees paid by people. Imagine how many people paid the KD 350, and this money will be in some account for five months. So who will get the profits of this?” wondered Abu Ahmad.He also complained of the space given by the Municipality. “They gave us only 1,000 square meters, which is only enough to set up camp for one family or two small families. We also have to keep space between the camps and we may not find two adjacent locations for each other, while during previous years, four or five families used to camp together in one location, which is not possible anymore,” he concluded.
UnSuperMom - You make a very valid point; and one that I was going to include in the post, but forgot to: Campgrounds. It makes sense for the ecology of the country and at the same time, the Government (and concessioners) can make money.
I have proposed this idea to friends in other countries in the Gulf; especially in Oman where seaside property is still very inexpensive (and, BTW, can be purchased by Bidoon people). With more people in the GCC buying campers (caravans), it is a good business for destination travellers (camp sites, for example, along a route to Oman; in Bahrain, Qatar, UAE) and families can take GCC vacations in their campers with the amenities of "home".
Creating a campsite is a good ROI: The main price is the land. You can rent out space to vendors (like movies, little shops, etc) and create electricity connections and waste dump areas. Charge by the night and space size.
The only problem with this (for me, in Kuwait) is that I like the open space. I don't want to be with other people. I want to be far away with only the sound of the wind and maybe a few passing camels. I don't like "urban-style" camping with buggies and noise and parties. I seek the peace, smell, solitude, and feel that you can only get, unique to Kuwait.
|This is ALL I want to see and hear|
Worse-come-to-worst this year, I'll take my tent, put it up somewhere remote, and remove after the weekend. Sad, but if it comes to that, a Desert Girl's gotta do what a Desert Girl's gotta do.