Central Planning Office
MR. DOMINIC MCPOLIN
Chief, Central Planning Office
Central Planning Office
MR. DOMINIC MCPOLIN
Chief, Central Planning Office
The Central Planning Office (CPO) is responsible for the management of a collaborative business model for the coordination of the Planning, Design, Construction and Asset Protection of all physical infrastructure including private infrastructure in the Kingdom of Bahrain (approximately 200,000 transactions per year). CPO also provides the Technical Interface with all private sector real estate developers in relation to infrastructure and provides a neutral arbitration service in matters of conflict arising between CPO stakeholders on issues related to infrastructure. Currently, CPO has 74 Stakeholders (individual agencies across a wide spectrum of developers of infrastructure including the private sector, oil and gas and military).
CPO was represented on a number of National Committees including The National GIS committee, the Urban Planning Special Projects Committee, the National Sustainable Energy Committee, the District Cooling plan implementation subcommittee (chair), the SLRB Spatial data Project committee. CPO was also represented on various technical steering committees including the Light Rail Planning project, the LNG PPP , the A/B Pipeline Project, the Hidd Industrial Area Masterplan (GCC funded) steering group. CPO also provided advice and technical support to the Cabinet Subcommittee For Infrastructure and Services through regular attendance at weekly meetings chaired by HH the Deputy Prime Minister, Sh. Khaled Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.
Seef Area Masterplan
CPO prepared and developed further in 2019a major input of new ideas to be applied in master planning of the Seef area. Those ideas included urban area management institutional change recommendation, local area transportation, a linear park proposal and a skywalk masterplan for Seef. The skywalk plan was also presented separately to H.H. the Deputy Prime Minister and a number of concerned ministries. In 2019, CPO team took the Skywalk project in Seef to a new level by testing the constructability of the proposal, developing a business model.
Fishing Harbour Project
CPO completed the preparation of the study of Bahrain’s government fishing harbours to develop those harbours in order to provide a revenue stream to enhance the facilities for the fishing community and to make the harbours self sufficient with regards to operation and maintenance costs. CPO has conducted a comprehensive study of the development of existing fishing harbours throughout the Kingdom, focused on evaluating the possibility to enhance these government assets into potentially self-sustaining centers, where the ongoing traditional activities are kept to co-exist with other functions, such as tourism, commerce or entertainment. The possibility to exploit harbours for immediate revenue generation focused on spaces available for billboard advertising and/or telecom antennae. Harbours were categorized according to development potential in cooperation with Marine Resources. A further selection has been completed and a detailed analysis has concentrated on two key sites. Detailed analysis, and recommendations for the development of a priority site for commercial land uses, restaurants and pedestrian walkways have been presented to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister for approval.
Presented draft regulations prepared by CPO to the Cabinet Subcommittee for Infrastructure, which decided that the regulations should proceed to a legislative stage after translation to Arabic. CPO proposed the setting up of Designated Areas for District Cooling.This idea was taken up by H.E the Minister for EWA and formed the basis of a Ministerial order No. 5/1/2019 requiring any developer where District Cooling is available to connect to the District Cooling Network as a first choice and would not connect only through an exemption to be granted prior to building permit. CPO also worked on the preparation of a concession agreement for the allocation of a term concession for a private District Cooling Investment to provide 40K/TR for the Town Center, Salman city.
Reclamation Completion Certificate
CPO implemented a more streamlined and detailed procedure for the issue of completion certificates by the concerned Municipalities for reclamation projects. This new process was implemented in 2018 and CPO monitor progress and made a feedback presentation to the Cabinet Subcommittee for Infrastructure.
Government Borrow Area (GOBA)
CPO followed up and coordinated the recommended the reduction in the area allocated as the Government Borrow Area (GOBA) for the dredging of construction and reclamation sand. This request has arisen due to CPO’s mission to protect infrastructure assets including marine assets, which are currently within the old designated GOBA. The proposal was presented and agreed by the Cabinet Subcommittee for Services and Infrastructure.
Adoption of Infrastructure provided by the Private Sector - Procedure Manual
An increasing amount of infrastructure is constructed by the private sector in recent years, particularly in our larger private masterplan developments and accessible housing sites. CPO has gained experience with the problems and issues, which arise with the planning, design and construction of this class of infrastructure. Based on that experience and lessons learnt, CPO has finalized a manual, which clearly sets out the procedures to be followed and the design standards to be applied for each infrastructure. The document was refined during 2019 and shall be available for publication in early 2020. It is expected that this initiative will save time and costs in the private sector and will facilitate the smoother adoption of the completed infrastructure by the concerned utilities.
Three Dimension Infrastructure Data Capture
CPO continued to work in 2019 in partnership with SLRB and EWA to finalize the consultancy, which was commissioned to study infrastructure data standards and data capture for infrastructure as built records. The study also included a pilot project for the capture of 3D infrastructure data using new technology under the supervision of the UK Ordinance Survey.
• One Voice
CPO represent collective center for all View of all Stakeholders regarding the Infrastructure and present it as one voice or view on their behalf.
-The procedures processed by CPO during 2019-
Assistance to Major Strategic Projects
CPO continued support to the LNG Project throughout based on a weekly technical interface meeting to address all coordination issues arising due to the replanning of the project network in the Hidd Industrial Area. All issues arising were successfully addressed during construction and post construction of the LNG terminal, the submarine infrastructure, the on shore facilities and the installation of the delivery gas network all progressed with minimal delays due to the intensive and continuous coordination activities which were managed through CPO and the LNG Technical Interface Office. The project was completed in 2019 and CPO has integrated the LNG Technical Interface Office as a CPO Stakeholder for coordination with other Stakeholders and with Ministry of Industry and Commerce in particular.
• The BAPCO Bahrain Refinery Modernization Project (BMP)
The BMP is the largest Strategic Project in Bahrain and requires a high level of coordination particularly in relation to the programme of external works required to support the project. In 2019 CPO continued coordinating for all the related external works like Gas Pipelines, 220kV lines, Ma’ameer channel bridge crossing and subsea pipelines. These external works had to be integrated with other major projects in the vicinity of the BMP site including the upgrading of King Hamad Highway, Water and TSE projects, and the construction of a major stormwater network. Integration efforts continue with regards to traffic management particularly with the increase in traffic flows on surrounding roads with the commencement of operation of Pot Line 6 in ALBA.
CPO followed up on a major coordination one day workshop with 55 participants which defined the agenda for action which has formed the basis for the programming and technical problem solving to facilitate the production of a fully integrated joint programme. Monitoring of progress is facilitated through a weekly technical interface meeting with the Refinery technical Interface Office.
• A/B Pipeline
The A/B pipeline project was completed in 2019 and CPO assisted BAPCO in the coordination of other projects close to the new A/B pipeline.
• Marina Club Redevelopment
This is a major real estate project planned, designed and under construction by Amlak (The Bahrain Pension Fund) CPO took responsibility for identifying the location and processing of the land rights to the 66kV substation site required to support the project. CPO also took the lead in the coordination with the Capital Secretariat in relation to the reclamation and access road to the 66kV substation of the site which required additional direct coordination with businesses and leaseholders on Al Fateh Corniche. CPO continues to provide coordination assistance and advice to the Marina Club Project Management throughout 2019.
• Southern Loop Road
CPO held a coordination workshop with Roads Directorates in April 2019, for the southern loop road which will connect to the Al Sahel Project and which was urgently required for road access and services installation. The workshop was arranged to get the stakeholders to clear the planning permission and during the workshop CPO identified the problems regarding closing the gaps between the road project limits, and the connectivity of services. The action sheet following the workshop was issued to the concerned parties and followed up.
• King Hamad Highway
CPO also held a coordination workshop for the King Hamad Highway widening project, and identified the larger issues of shifting the proposed East Sitra highway interchange at the King Hamad Highway and Avenue 96 junction, to a location further south, and the Ras Zuwaid masterplan, and getting the corridors for the 220kV cables and gas lines for the BMP. After the workshop an action sheet was issued and followed up.
Technical Interface Agreement
CPO negotiated and finalized three new Technical Interface Agreements with Private Sector Developers in 2019.
Seef Pedestrian mobility
Starting from a comprehensive study completed in 2018, CPO has developed a potential growth strategy preliminary model aimed at increasing pedestrian safe access and circulation, which will stimulate coherent development for Seef district. In particular, CPO has developed two strategic models, which are both based on the concept of creating a future network constituted by interconnecting pedestrian bridges, corridors and flyovers. The “Four Corners” strategy implies identification and connection, via a pedestrian walkway, of four major attraction poles (“anchors”) within Seef district: subsequent ramifications will include other areas will develop incrementally. The “Seed and Grow” strategy calls for an incremental and piecemeal approach in identifying potential connections, via pedestrian flyovers and between existing and/or future buildings.
CPO Electronic Permits
The development work by Information & eGovernment Authority’s (IGA) to transfer CPO’s paper based processes to an electronic format continued in 2019.
• Electronic Permits - Milestone 1: Online Planning Permission
CPO monitored the electronic planning applications which has moved from paper-based exchanges between stakeholders to the new TASAREEH Portal (https://www.tasareeh.gov.bh) provided by IGA. So far, in 2019, 79 electronic planning applications have been raised. Therefore, the total No. since the launch of the system is 169.
By 2019, CPO has increased the No. of the external stakeholders to join the system. Currently, they are seven external stakeholders. CPO provides a “hot desk” for applicants who are not mainstream stakeholders and are not on the system. CPO has also carried out a number of training sessions for stakeholders on the operation of the new system. CPO also provide continuous support by phone and email for user troubleshooting and for interfacing with IGA.
• Electronic Permits - Milestone 2 – General Service Notifications:
The General Services Notification (GSN) System is for the 3-day approval of small infrastructure jobs such as house connections for utilities. This is a legacy system, which has operated on an electronic basis since 1991 based on the previous CPO Wide Area Network. In 2019, the legacy system remains operational and the total number of GSNs are 3971. Currently, all base maps and digital GIS supporting data are updated to current status making the GSN system more reliable.