The village of Kfaraabida, 2 Km south of Batroun, is renowned for having one of the last unspoiled stretches of beaches along the Lebanese coast. But, as is the case with many of the country’s few public beaches (Ramlet el Bayda, Aadloun), it has been subject to plans for privatization and development proposals since 2007. In fact, it is estimated that 170 km of Lebanon’s 220 km coastline has been turned into private property.
The project was first approved by the cabinet in 2007 and includes the privatization of the beach as well as the development and construction of a luxurious resort by a private company. The project was put to bed and later brought up on 14/05/2015 when the Ministry of Environment announced that the Environmental Impact Assessment of the project, which was approximately 8 years old by that time, was obsolete and that a new one should be undertaken for the project to go through. A month later, on 19/06/2015, the Ministry had an inexplicable change of heart and decided that the EIA was still valuable. In exchange of 30,000$/year the government approved the project which was to be implemented by the Development of Lebanese Shores Company, a subgroup of Al-Husam Contracting Group and with the accord of the Kfaraabida Municipal Council . “Article 2 of Order 144,” the law regulating coastal properties in Lebanon since 1925, stipulates that the seashore until the farthest area reached by the waves during winter as well as sand and rocky shores are considered public property. And activists see this project as yet another infringement to the law.  As the project gained momentum in the following year, a protest was organized on September 10, 2016 that witnessed the participation of Kfaraabida citizens, fishermen, activists and different NGOs . Protesters considered the project as an abuse to public space, a threat to the different plant and animal species living in the area, a loss to the livelihoods of many fishermen in the area and a danger for the nearby historical site recently uncovered by archeologists . In addition to a petition that collected over a thousand signatures, the protesters required that the following demands be met by the government and the municipality of Kfaraabida: - Their total refusal of land reclamation and privatization of public coastal areas - Transform the beach into a natural reserve as per the National Masterplan - Cancel the decree that was pending cabinet approval for the start of the project - Pleading to MPs and other representatives of the region to stand on their side. They also reminded that they are not against the touristic project as a whole, but that they categorically refuse the use of public property especially coastal estate as the private company possesses other parcels of land suitable for the project . The protest seems to have applied enough pressure for the moment as the project has seemingly been temporarily halted. In addition, no updates about the stage at which it is have surfaced in any government or media outlet.