Greens’ Residents Cry Foul as Courtyards Turn ArtificialGreens’

DUBAI - For years the Greens has been lauded as a verdant oasis in the dry desert city of Dubai. But all that could change.

By Martin Croucher

Published: Mon 16 Feb 2009, 1:45 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:52 PM

The developer, Emaar, has announced that it will replace the greenery in two courtyards with artificial turf, prompting an outcry from residents.

“We rented in the Greens because we wanted to have natural greenery, not artificial greenery,” said Roland Roth, who is heading the ‘Keep the Greens Green’ campaign. “It contradicts the original name of the development.”

So far, almost 150 signatures have been collected from residents of the four Al Dhaffrah blocks to protest the changes in the first week of the campaign.

There are around 350 people living in the apartments. The changes are being made because of irrigation problems in the courtyard. By cutting off the need to water the lawn, there will be no water leaking through to the car park below the courtyard. However, Roth said the changes will destroy the natural habitat. “I enjoy being woken in the morning by birdsong,” he said.

“We live in a natural oasis. If this changes, then living conditions will be lowered. People won’t want to live here anymore and rents will fall in the area.

“These courtyards are a place for children to play,” he added. “But in the summer, these plastic lawns can get very hot and children won’t be able to walk on them.

Moreover, if they don’t water it, then the artificial grass will get dirty and start looking grey.”

Residents noticed signboards being erected just over a month ago and apparent construction work beginning on the courtyard. Tenants in the building said that they had no idea of what the work entailed, but a spokesman for Emaar Properties said that homeowner community was consulted prior to work beginning.

The spokesman said that the cost of the whole development was being borne by Emaar Properties rather than through the maintenance fees paid by owners.

“This current improvement project has been undertaken for the benefit of the owners and residents and will resolve several issues of landscaping and drainage with respect to irrigation water in certain internal courtyards of Al Dhafrah community,” the spokesman said. “All other landscaping in the community will remain as normal.”

The spokesman said the development will only involve replacing the turf in some areas of the courtyard and that trees which had been uprooted will be replaced by potted plants.

“The proposed design will ensure the long-term sustainability of the community with respect to the common area courtyards and will contribute to the reduction of maintenance costs in the future,” the spokesman added. “This is of immense benefit to the owners.

“Leaving the courtyards as is will only burden the community in the future where such costs would have to be borne by the owners themselves.”

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