In 2013, about seven years after cessation of quarrying in the mythological Binyamina quarry, it seemed that rehabilitation of the site and its preparation for the benefit of the community – would soon become a reality. The Quarries Rehabilitation Fund, which finances and executes rehabilitation of quarries throughout the country, including the Binyamina quarry, asked to advance the rehabilitation planning by Toch-Saragossi Landscape Architecture, in partnership with different stakeholders, led by the Binyamina–Givat-Ada Council.
A fertile collaboration between Ramat Hanadiv, in which one third of the quarry area is located, and the Binyamina–Givat-Ada Local Council, led a short, but significant process aiming to involve the local community in the ideational development of the site plan. This framework included meetings of residents and a joint brain-storming session, a tour of the site with the planner Tali Toch, a stand for questioning residents as part of the Binyamina March, a tour of students studying architecture and planning, and tours with a Binyamina scouts group and with primary and high school students. At the end of the tours the students participated in a wish workshop, in which they were asked to express their wishes for the site through plastic art.
This process produced a number of ideological directions for planning the quarry:
- An active leisure and extreme sport park
- A environmental education centre
- A “nature reserve”
- A human and nature park
- A place for multi-participant performances
- A environmental art centre
- A quarry heritage centre
The following sources of tension were apparent:
- The tension between development for the benefit of humans and development (or preservation) for the benefit of nature
- The tension between development for the benefit of tourism and development for the benefit of the community
For a practical examination of the different directions, a few criteria were defined:
- The extent of inclusion of the chosen direction (to what extent does the idea allow diversion and inclusion of different ideas)
- The extent to which it serves the community (from an understanding that the quarry is part of the town and as such it should serve its residents optimally)
- To what extent will the site be active (in use) when choosing a particular direction
- The extent to which it correlates with sustainability values (that are founded on a desire for balance between environment, society and economy)
These findings were presented to the steering committee, which included representatives of the Binyamina–Givat-Ada Local Council, Ramat Hanadiv, KKL-JNF and the drainage authority. There was a notable consensus between those present regarding the preferred direction:
The site will be used as a “community nature park”, a buffer between Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park (with more significant nature characteristics) and Binyamina (community characteristics). The site will allow diverse activities while emphasising sustainability. Such a park will allow development of bicycle trails, extreme sport, unique walking trails, seating corners, art and environmental education.
The park will be open to the public free of charge and will invite the community to take part in activities.
Out of concern for the economic feasibility of the park’s maintenance, development of specific commercial-tourism elements will be examined.
The findings of the process were assimilated into the planning.
In the event that conditions develop and the development will go ahead, via collaboration with the Binyamina–Givat-Ada Local Council, the quarry will be used as a community nature park ad as an active educational centre that will also facilitate ecological tourism.