Want to rent a chalet on the beach in Kuwait? Having never heard of such a thing, the GPC team that recently joined partners GISCON and Universe Computing to design and implement an enterprise GIS for the Kuwait Ministry of Finance was surprised to learn that there are over 3,000 such vacation homes lining much of the coast of this small country in the northern end of the Arabian Gulf. While some of these “chalets” are small, quaint cottages fronting the sea, many are large and extravagant complexes of multiple attached and detached homes able to accommodate large extended families that are typical in Kuwait.
Prior to the mid-1980’s, many Kuwaiti citizens informally claimed beachfront land and built their vacation homes, often without any sort of approvals or building permits. By 1986 the development pressures and environmental impacts on the coastline, especially south of Kuwait City and extending to the border of Saudi Arabia could no longer be ignored, and the Government decided to pass a decree to reassert State ownership of the land, to lease the property back to the occupiers, and to apply stringent controls on further development so that the citizens could continue to enjoy their investment but avoid further impacts and uncontrolled expansion. Although the number of chalets is not allowed to expand, the redevelopment of existing properties with much larger houses continues to present a challenge. Fortunately, all such development is now controlled through a very tightly defined and applied property boundary and building permit processes that involves careful review by Kuwait Municipality, the Ministry of Electricity and Water, other organizations and the Ministry of Finance, the latter of which ultimately manages Chalet properties on behalf of the State.
Chalets are just one of the land and property issues that the Ministry of Finance is involved with. The Ministry is also responsible for compiling an inventory and assessment of all properties and buildings owned by the State, the administration of processes for taking private lands where required for public benefit, managing land exchanges between the government and private entities, running auctions for the sale of government owned land, and managing leases for markets and shops where these are established within government property. In carrying out these activities, the Ministry works closely with Kuwait Municipality for planning and cadastral boundary matters, with the Ministry of Justice in regards to land title administration, and with many other units of government who are involved in land affairs.
Universe Computers of Kuwait is the prime contractor for the project, and the technical management for this multi-year program is being carried out by GISCON, a Germany-based GIS and IT consulting consortium. GPC-GIS is responsible for the development of the Master Plan for the Ministry of Finance Enterprise System for Land and Property Management, and is conducting interviews with the key departments during the month of May. The project was initiated at the end of April, 2012 and the Master Plan is to be completed over the next several months. For more information, contact Mr. Rajy Wehbeh at +971-2-666-65-74.