Controversy arose over the weekend after the Mayor of Ghobeiri in Beirut, Maan Khalil, stated that Iran can build a 1,000-megawatt power plant on the Golf Club, a property located within the municipality that he manages.
The Golf Club of Lebanon is a sports and recreation country club with plenty of outdoor and indoor activities that also include tennis, football, swimming, gym, taekwondo, snooker, playground, and F&B, among others.
“Golf Club hasn’t paid its municipalities fees for four years, and they’re claiming to lose [money] although the membership fees are paid in fresh dollars, whereas property rent paid to the Lebanese government is 75 million LL,” Mayor Khalil posted on social media.
He proposed it instead for Iran to build a power plant on it. “We welcome the Iranian giveaway to introduce a power plant of 1000 MW in the state of the golf in Ghobeiri,” he posted on his Facebook.
“The property has an area of 410 sq.m. and half of it belongs to the Lebanese State, and features its closeness to the beach,” he added.
After his visit with Lebanese officials last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran was ready to build two power plants in Lebanon within 18 months.
Khalil’s proposal sparked mixed reactions from environmentalists and the Lebanese public on social media.
Lebanon Eco Movement, an environmental organization, described the Golf Club as one of the last “densely populated lungs of Greater Beirut” and such projects threaten to eliminate them.
“It really saddens me and angers me that they want to turn one of Beirut’s last pieces of greenery into a power plant. I remember passing my childhood at the golf club, and now that’s also going to be destroyed,” Reddit user LULKappaLUL wrote in a thread regarding the proposal.
“Ghobeiry’s mayor reflects the views of those that elected him into power. Sacrificing green spaces to build a power plant is a drop in the sea of batshit ideas and proposals taken in that area,” wrote another.