I recently had the true pleasure to meet with Mohamed Al Qassem, Managing Director for Nakheel Communities. I must admit that I did not expect to be received directly by the Managing Director when I sent Nakheel a very long list of questions regarding the status of works in JVT. We had a lovely discussion and while I did not leave with specific timelines and commitments like any good North American would desire, I certainly felt that concerns of owners and residents can be heard and will be acted upon within the limits of what is realistic and possible.
I am delighted to share with other JVT residents the essence of our discussion. I hope this will provide everyone with a good outlook on future improvements to expect in our neighborhood.
Bubbling water – fountains, lake and roads?
My first concern, which I expect is shared by many, was to get a clear understanding of the plans to address the troubling groundwater issue. The recent rainstorm in March set off spectacular flooding across Dubai and JVT was clearly affected as well. Since then, Nakheel has siphoned off the standing water from roads and in the main parks. You may have noticed that work was already underway to alleviate the rising level of the lake and amassing groundwater prior to the devastating rains. At my meeting, I learned that Nakheel had already commissioned a study to assess the water table issue and they are hoping for final conclusions to be delivered sometime in June. One of the early findings of the report is the need to locate a permanent, underground pump in JVT to siphon off the sea water which finds its way to us by below ground cavities and natural channels. We can look forward to the many canals and fountains being activated once appropriate long-term solutions are agreed upon so that the proper foundations are in place to allow for sustainable operation of these waterways. We can also expect the lake to be rehabilitated as part of this process. It was also noted that bridges are missing at the bottom of staircases that adjoin many canals. I was assured this will be addressed as well. Anyone who has lived in Dubai for some time will realize that excess rainwater and managing groundwater sources is a concern in areas across the city. We can look forward to completion of the study that we hope will find the best solutions for our neighborhood. I must remark here that the landscaping has vastly improved over the last year, and while we await some aspects that must be completed, clearly with these ongoing studies, there will be more positive change to come.
A key to JVT – new map !
Another considerable problem in JVT for the last four years has been the lack of way-finding and street signage. Those living in the community will have seen that road signs are now nearly all in place. This has brought about some changes to house numbering and the old plot number system is back in place to identify a townhouse or villa. In addition, the streets have now been allocated ‘names’ or more correctly to say, an alpha-numeric code. At first glance, it is somewhat confusing despite the color coding of each district. In the course of our discussion, the idea was raised for a proper map to be designed showing not only districts but street names as well. Mohamed was keen to take this idea forward and will be commissioning this map to facilitate directions for residents and visitors alike.
Advertising to JVT residents – revenue for whom?
On another note, I also enquired about the advertising signage on the main roads. I was curious to know if the revenue generated from these advertising panels will offset the community management fees charged to owners by Nakheel. Unfortunately, this is not being considered despite the fact that RERA is encouraging developers to ‘think outside the box’ rather than raise service charges. A recent Gulf News article notes that ‘developers must allocate some of the built-up area for revenue generation. The proceeds from these can go into the service charge fund, according to the Rera head. “These assets can contribute 50-70 per cent of the service charges,” said Marwan Bin Galita, Rera CEO.’ Possibly, we can stimulate a discussion with Nakheel management to take under consultation a plan for revenue generated in the community to be directly applied to maintenance costs?
Access to JVT – gate passes
If you have been wondering, the gate passes are indeed coming soon. The deadline to submit paperwork was extended, but nevertheless, we can expect that passes will be on their way. The gates make our communities secure and allow the guards to control who is coming and going. This can only be a positive evolution to give residents more peace of mind. I would encourage those who have not already done so to submit their paperwork, lest they be stopped and questioned at the entry each day. Give our guards a helping hand by getting your gate pass in order!
RRR in JVT? Recycling on the horizon
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – surely our planet needs us to do more in terms of reuse and wasting less. Therefore, I asked Mohamed about plans to bring recycling opportunities to JVT. I, for one, travel weekly to Springs or Jumeirah Park to deposit the papers, plastic, glass and aluminum that my family diligently sets aside. It would make life somewhat simpler if we could access a central recycling bin closer to home. I learned that Nakheel has already started discussions on this topic and explored alternatives for the collection of paper separated from our regular trash. Happily, they are looking at the cost/benefit analysis of doing this in different ways. No one would be happy with a large increase in the annual maintenance fee, but clearly one can look forward to Nakheel identifying a way for those living in JVT to do our part for the planet right within the community in a cost-effective manner.
Leisure Time in JVT
The planned shopping center, Al Khail Avenue, is well underway. I was told that Nakheel will be releasing an official progress report to the press very soon. Of course, we can all see the deep hole and the foundations being built and I’ve learned that a construction tender will go out next month bringing the new mall and cinema that much closer to reality. For many, weekends are also about family time and personal renewal. Therefore, I also asked whether there are any plans afoot for a JVT mosque. Many worshippers may be pleased to know that this is on the cards, although there is no time table or formal plan at this stage. Of course, approvals and funding will be first steps. Interestingly, I learned that in the case of a mosque, these are largely built thanks to the contribution of alms by the faithful. Therefore, it will certainly require a broad involvement from many interested parties, but Nakheel would be supporting the effort to bring a mosque to JVT in the future.
Open Communication for a better community
We all have the same objectives for a safe and enjoyable community to live in with a full array of amenities and conveniences within our immediate reach. Clearly, I found goodwill among the Nakheel management that I met to hear and address the concerns of owners. A lot of plans are underway and I encouraged the team at Nakheel to keep us informed of these activities. I certainly aim to establish a fruitful and open, regular channel of communication to keep my community readers informed about plans underfoot with our master developer. Stay tuned for future updates!
24 April 2016