Al Kumma Project and the Public’s Uproar

Hadi Afif

Staff Writer

  An online petition against the construction of a resort in Kornet El Sawda circulated across Facebook community the past month. This reaction is in response to news about Al Kumma project, a real estate plan set to build a resort on the Kornet El Sawda peak.

  The developmental project is headed by Realis Development, a real estate company owned by the Ghanem family. Al Kumma is expected to settle on the highest mountain peak in the Middle East boasting an altitude of 3,088 meters above sea level.

  Stretching across 420,000 m2, the project will include a five star hotel, club house, wellness center, entertainment facilities, 650 chalets, 70 villas, and a ski trail, making it the perfect destination for a holiday getaway.

  Split up into many phases, the overall project is expected to cost a whopping $500,000,000. Phase 1 is set to begin in the summer of 2017 and will cost around $100,000,000.

  Above the clouds, on an impressive mountain North of country, and next to Lebanon’s oldest Cedar forest, Al Kumma appears to be the perfect touristic attraction to save the country’s unstable touristic situation, which is due to the region’s political unrest. The general opinion, however, does not seem to agree.

  Kornet El Sawda meaning “black peak”, illustrates the mountain’s peak mostly uncovered, in contrast to its snow covered surroundings. The peak constantly faces cold winds, preventing a considerable amount of snow to survive on it and thus creating, quite literally, a black peak.

  The peak has been a must-do for hikers for years now. After a six hour walk from the Cedars of God forest, both tourists and locals are left breathless in front of the gorgeous view, which even permits the sight of Cyprus during clear weather. If the Al Kumma project was to see the day, it would intrude in one of nature’s last sanctuaries.

  With garbage filling the streets and polluting numerous water sources in the process, as well as landfills nibbling the land, few green spaces remain in Lebanon. Many citizens already expressed their concern as such a project could reduce the number of Cedar trees, increase the deforestation, and disturb the ecosystem.

  The barren land stretches for over three kilometers above the sea level, untouched, inhabited, isolated and free of any human intervention. With more than just our environment at stake, one must also wonder: in the extreme conditions of the  mountainous North, could such a project see the day, and host a resort, or should the virgin land retain its inhabitable status?

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