Shweir Master Plan

Shweir has inadequate infrastructure to meet current needs & NO Master Plan!


April 1, 2009 - Latest update from Municipality - Complaint to Industry Minister + 2 violation notices

We would appreciate if someone would summarize or translate these docs to English.

In an effort to keep the people of Shweir informed, Municipality provided these 5 Documents below on March 17, 2009


      Positive response from Ministry of Environment:  Shweir Beauty must be saved > > or click on link:

Master Plan update:  Decision 439 of the Directorate General of Antiquities dated February 3, 2009 and based on the report of architects and technicians appointed by the Directorate itself.  These are steps in the right direction for Shweir's Future.                                      اعتدنا مشاركتكم بكل ما يتعلق بالمخطط التوجيهي العام لبلدتي الشوير وعين السنديانة؛
ومن هذا المنطلق ها نحن ننشر لكم قرار المديرية العامة للآثار عدد 439 المبني على تقرير المهندسين والفنيين المكلفين من قبل المديرية العامة للآثار والصادر في الثالث من شباط 2009. واعدين إياكم بالمزيد وشاكرين دعمكم المعنوي لنا لما فيه خير بلدتينا

More info on Bulletin Board at: 

Shweir's Future:  Industrial V. Environmental? 

Read official response from Mayor on Nov 4, 2008 and open letter & proposal to create an advisory committee for New Master Plan has received many inquiries about plan to Expand Industrial & Commercial Zone to 300% Shweir Size
between Shweir & Ain Sindyaneh in Nahr Bou Dawoude Valley from Al Sadd Restaurant to Mar Yohanna Monastery.

Important Questions by concerned Shweirys include:  Has Shweir benefited or been harmed by the existence of current Industries? 

IF Shweir's very weak to non existent infrastructure is beyond current capacity, how can it handle Huge Industrial Expansion?
Any studies about:  Roads?  Water & Wastewater?  Pollution?  Impact on Environment, Health & Economy, Tourism? Funding?
How can people learn more about these important issues?  What are the risks and rewards?  Who Benefits?  Who Loses?
What is best for Shweir?  Owners, Residents & those who love Shweir need facts to make informed decisions

In April, 2008, we posted link re: New Master Plan and asked for public comment to support Baladieh's efforts.
Proposed Study leading to New Master Plan - Municipality invites public Comment
Please visit that link and share your comments.  We invite Baladieh to share an update of their efforts.

Editorial Comment:  Information below reflect the overwhelming responses we are receiving from Shweir members and readers.  We will continue to update it as we get more feedback and we look forward to also include updates from the Municipality whenever they choose to share it with us/you. 

Industrial plants are usually built in least desired locations and as far away as practical from residential communities.  The most exclusive and successful communities are those with NO or least heavy industry impact, usually, no more than five 5%.  Values for entire towns & communities are affected:  The less heavy industry, the greater the value. 

Shweir should NOT have heavy industry because:

Lost Arouse al MasayefShweir was famous as best tourism & resort town for 100 years.  Not any more.  Heavy Industry & tourism do not mix.
  Shweir is in a bowl shaped valley surrounded by hills from 3 sides = Poor Air Circulation will magnify pollution exponentially. 
Pollution:  Heavy industry is known to produce Air, Liquid, Solid, Toxic & Noise pollution that are harmful to environment and residents.
Roads:  Roads are NOT engineered to handle heavy trucks.  Annual damage from heavy trucks and repairs to roads would be far costlier than any benefits the town gets from all heavy industry revenue combined. 
Shortage of Water:  Current Residents do NOT have adequate water and have to buy water 2-3 times a week by the truck loads -
NO Water for Industry:  How can we provide more water for New industry to adequately wash away their waste when there is not enough water for residents?
Wastewater system that does NOT work:  Yes, Shweir has a new waste water system that does NOT work! 
Electric Power Shortage:  Brownouts & blackouts are common occurrences. Consider harvesting wind energy like
Mike Sawaya proposes     
Future Growth:  There are currently over 1000 residences that are empty, damaged and/or NOT completed yet.  and if we factor in New construction for residences and/or businesses over the next 5, 10 and 20 years... that could be equivalent to 2000 - 4000 units. Would they get adequate basic infrastructure and services like Roads, Water, Wastewater and electric?  NO

Shweir does not have adequate basic service to current residents, Nor the unfinished units... Nor potential Growth.  Shweir residents would like to see realistic studies of how those who propose expansion of heavy industry plan to solve the failed infrastructure for the residents and businesses first before proposing any expansion of heavy industry.  Unless the intent of some is to put priority on heavy industry ahead of the need of the residents.  Then, we will definitely have a problem and we seriously doubt that the people of Shweir want to have a ghost town on their hands. 

The above are very basic factors... All of which do NOT support heavy industry for Shweir.  Look what a few existing heavy industries caused in harm beyond what Shweir can handle. To pursue more heavy industry, would further destroy the environment, increase pollution, make our town smell to high heaven, the health of residents would be adversely affected, most Emigrants would NOT want to spend their vacation in an industrial setting, and hotels and restaurants would lose lots of business. 

Heavy Industry would significantly reduce the value of land and homes and businesses in the entire region. Do the people of Shweir want to see their town to become an embarrassing example of failure and a town that squandered its unique resources?  Wake up and save Shweir before it is too late.   

The people of Lebanon and Shweir have endured many challenging circumstances over the past few decades including Civil & International Wars, Foreign Occupation, and Dirty Politics.  Majority of Shweirys are very upset about a handful of heavy industries that were allowed to be built or expand as a result of questionable circumstances, misrepresentations, lies or abuse of power over the past 10-20 years.  The people of Shweir want the current Administration to correct past mistakes and to mitigate those heavy industries that are operating beyond the scope or capacity of their licenses, causing significant harm to the environment and/or to the health of Shweir inhabitants who want these industries controlled, minimized and/or shut down. 

Shweir desperately needs to minimize existing heavy industries rather than expand them exponentially. 

We only have one Shweir with a unique setting, views and climate that cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world*.  We do NOT want to repeat past mistakes.  Please DO NOT make major decisions about Shweir's Future that are likely to be devastating and irreversible without in depth and unbiased studies and full disclosure and public feedback to reflect Shweir's best interest. 

*  Three places that we know of that come close to Shweir in topography & climate: 
1.  Tomazina in Central Brazil  where there are a large concentration of Choueris, Shweirys some from Merhege and Bouzaid families 
2.  A town in New Zealand where the Corbans and Atayas started their wine industry
3.  "Trois es Pixs" sp?  The three peaks in France near the German border, again in the wine region. 

None of these beautiful places have in their midst the kind heavy industry that Shweir has and propose to expand exponentially. 

There are better alternatives:
IF the proposed plan is about another type of Industry, light industry like WINE Industry, Hotels, Restaurant, Resort and Hospitality industry, cottage industries (home grown businesses), these are ideal for Shweir, then that is a Welcome breath of fresh air.  Yes, with Shweiry engineering, water pumps, we can transform Nahr Abu Dawoude valley into a beautiful area with running water and cascading water falls that would rival al Bardowney.  Add to it Old Souk, Old Tahouneh, Old bridge, to highlight our history and heritage, maintain and bring them to their old glory, add walkways, trails, destination resort, health club... and you will have heaven on earth where people from around the world would want to come visit and stay.  That is the kind of industry Shweir desperately needs. 

Those land owners in that area would benefit far greater, possibly over 1000% greater, by taking the light industry described above that would get overwhelming support than the heavy industry that will be devastating to the town and will be far less profitable for them.  

We urge Shweir leaders and council members to give serious consideration to conduct studies as per recommendations of experts from around the world, share their findings with the public, to reduce and hopefully eliminate as much of the heavy industry and to focus on light industry described above and take steps that would protect the environment, beautify and enhance future success of our treasured town.

Related links:    BB Posts:                  Industrial v. Environment    Recent posts @ Master Plan 
                         Web Pages:             
                      Mater Plan                  

Let us take a proactive approach, set excellent examples of positive Change and Forward Thinking to make the best of our resources and make Shweir Shine again.  


2008 Master Plan Efforts - Most recent on top

This topic is written in both Arabic and English.  First English Version:

Samar Kiame

Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 181
Location: Shweir

New postPosted: 01 Dec 2008 02:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post View IP address of poster

Under the theme of “The Master Plan for Shweir and Ain Sindyaneh”, a meeting was held in the municipal palace on the evening of November 15, 2008. The meeting was attended by the majority of the municipal council members, mainly the president of the municipality, Mr. Naiim Sawaya, along with a number of town engineers and active figures who tackled all recent issues of concern for the town residents.

The president of the municipality, Mr. Naiim Sawaya, opened the meeting by welcoming the assembly and noting that the meeting aimed at highlighting the municipality stance as to the issues on the agenda, especially in light of the declarations and objections being raised in the town. He also welcomed any constructive criticism, and condemned what was being published on about the municipality wanting to sabotage the town, affirming that its main concern is the interest of Shweir and Ain Sindyaneh.


The first part of the meeting was dedicated to the zoning issue that met with two opposing positions. Both parties based their opinions on the meetings on urban planning held with the town engineer, Ms. Lina Medawar, in which they discussed the classification of Zone T (expansion of the residential communities, industrial and residential zone) and Zone F (industrial zone only).

Mr. Ramzi El-Katoul affirmed that he had met with Ms. Medawar who had told him that there should be a Zone T that would separate between Zone F and Zone C (residential zone). In other words, the industrial zone should be expanded to a certain limit and more industrial plants should be installed.

On the other hand, engineer Imad Jardak and municipal council member, Ms. Rima Rahbani insisted that they too had met with Ms. Medawar who was positive that Zone T could be built without the need to a Zone F. The objective would be to limit the industrial zone to the existing plants without expanding it. This decision was justified by the fact that the potential plants will be necessarily built in the vicinity of both towns and houses, and will be exposed to view due to the geography of the region, thus having a direct impact on their environment. In addition, they pointed out that the municipality was the one to decide whether to expand or limit the industrial zone, and that the urban planning did not impose any conditions and allowed the elaboration of a master plan regardless of the industrial zone.

Amid the discussions, Mr. Salah Bou Saab intervened with a firm position, stressing the need to limit the industrial zone and prevent its expansion because the town could not tolerate further plants.

On the same note, engineer Nabil Bou kheir confirmed the possibility of drawing up a master plan without having an industrial zone. He called for reasonable thinking and for the implementation of law on the existing plants in order to resolve the issue of building any house next to any plant, since the law organizes and restrains plants and obliges their owners to abide by the relevant licenses. He said that if neglected, things will go from bad to worse, and called for sanctioning whoever does not have a legal license, especially with the large number of questionable enterprises operating without licenses…

Industrial plants

The intervention of Mr. Bou Kheir led to a large debate on the existing plants and their legal status. In this context, he requested to present the committee formed by the municipality and in which he is a member with the licenses of the said plants to review them and make them binding for the owners.

As to Mr. Simon Baaklini, member of the municipal council and owner of the stone factory in Ain Hanout , he made it clear that the Council of Ministers was the sole authority that could allow the relocation of any plant, knowing that the relocation costs ten times more than the plant itself. He also declared that before expanding his plant, he visited some lands in neighboring regions, such as Bou Mizan, Koleiat and Mtein and expressed his readiness to relocate his plant in case he finds a substitute industrial zone between Mtein and Bou Mizan. He called upon whoever has the capacity to help buy the land and cover the cost of relocation, expressing his willingness to bring his own contribution to this project.

Once again, had its share of criticism where Mr. Simon considered what is being said on this website to be a problem because emigrants for more than 40 and 50 years do not know what is going on in Shweir but through the internet and satellites. He said: “their suggestion is dismissed”. He also refused any unreasonable talking, stressed on the town’s welfare and environment, and welcomed whoever wants to express his opinion directly.

His suggestion to build an industrial zone in Ain Sindyaneh going from the cemeteries to the Nahr met with some objections based on the fact that this region is merely natural and environmental and constitutes the entrance to the town.

Mr. Simon reiterated that the plant needs the financial support of the Council of Ministers and the payment of a compensation for its relocation, or else “its relocation is out of question”.

By saying that, he stirred the reaction of some attendants who raised the issue of the school built near the plant that is a source of disturbance for the students...

Moreover, the mayor of Ain Sindyaneh, Mr. Sabeh Jardak tackled the problem of the town residents, especially the youth seeking to build houses. He explained that the small perimeter of Ain Sindyaneh and its vicinity to the Ghwab natural reserve where investment is limited, and the plants on the other side of the town do not encourage the residents to build houses in their own town, thus pushing them to leave. When some of them resorted to Ain El-Hanout, they were surprised to see the plants built in this region, including Mr. Simon’s plant that transgressed the neighboring lands and breached the terms of the licenses.

While the mayor affirmed that they did not want to remove the plant, he wished that there would be constraints and commitment to the licenses, and wondered if Ain El-Hanout was a region suitable for building plants.

The mayor also called for a prompt decision to be taken as to the cement factory at the entrance to Ain Sindyaneh, since the owner went on and bought further lands in a potential attempt to expand his plant.

Someone also noted that the owner of the aluminum plant in Shweir had recently purchased a large farm near his plant. The assembly asked the municipality to inquire about the facts.

As to Mr. Naji Jardak, owner of a sawmill in Shweir, he said that “none of the plants in the region fulfill the conditions and that this is partly due to the absence of control by the municipality”.

He also pointed out to a declaration against the nylon plant, and read in his name and in the name of the signatories the declaration that mentioned “the health and environmental damages resulting from the emitted chemical and radioactive substances, according to specialized experts, as well as the bad smells, the sounds of engines and power generators, the noise and the dazzling lights day and night, the distortion of nature because of this plant and other neighboring plants, and the disturbing trucks and huge machineries”.

Following the declaration, Mr. Jardak called upon the president of the municipality and the municipal council members to “put an end to this environmental, health and building crime in Ain El-Hanout and Ain Sindyaneh without any delay”.

To comment the issue, Dr. Nabil Ghosn, ex-president of the municipality and current member of the municipal council, affirmed that the nylon plant was yet to have the investment license and thus, did not have the right to operate, and that it did not fulfill the conditions of the Ministry of Industry. He also explained that the ministry of Industry had granted the owner two years to equip the plant only, provided that after the expiry of this period, he would ask the Ministry to examine the plant before its operation to make sure that it meets the required conditions. Mr. Ghosn noted that he had suggested that the president of the municipality grants the plant owner one or two months to fulfill the requirements of the Ministry of Industry.

The president of the municipality declared that a committee will be formed to conduct a study on the ground and determine the suitable area to build an industrial zone, a transitional zone and a green zone, expressing the municipality’s readiness to cooperate with this committee.

As to the objection against the nylon plant, Mr. Sawaya asserted that it was submitted to all concerned ministries of environment, health, industry, interior and municipalities. He also noted that meetings were held with the ministers who called upon the municipality to oblige the owners of plants to abide by the licenses or else their plants will be shut down. He said that this was the reason behind the formation of a committee to study the plants and reach a solution in favor of both towns and of the plants that became an irreversible fact.

Mr. Wajih Nasr, owner of a gas plant in Khenchara, also had an intervention in which he affirmed his fulfillment of the license terms and his commitment to the required specifications for the building of his plant. He wondered why the town residents did not abide by the licenses in their own town while they did so outside their town. He also suggested allowing the building of light plants for those who wish to work in their town.

Mr. George Rizk went back to the year 2004 because he considered that the issue must be discussed from the very beginning. He suggested increasing the rate of investment in the Ghwab to allow the Shweirys to benefit from this region and build houses while preserving the green landscape, thus staying in their town. He also suggested building an industrial zone in what he called “the valley” at the bottom of Ain Sindyaneh. However, this suggestion was highly dismissed because “the valley” is close to the houses and overlooks the opposite regions…

Mr. Sadek Korban suggested studying the current situation and forming a committee that would examine all issues and present them in another meeting.


Engineer Samih Halabi considered that the decision of the municipality to limit plants to their lands and licenses was a good step, saying: “the lesson is yet to be implemented”.

As to the Ghwab that is subject to a debate to decide whether to preserve its greenery or turn it into a residential area, Mr. Halabi suggested not to rush to request the increase of investment in this region. He also expressed a point of view that would improve investment in this region and increase the prices of lands while preserving the green environment that distinguishes Shweir and attracts many vacationers from all regions… The proposal was to make Ghwab an environmental tourist region and build chalets there or a region for camping, bike riding, horse riding and fishing… thus attracting tourists from all over Lebanon…

Engineer Nabil Bou Kheir backed the proposal and explained that the direction of the region is towards the north, which makes it cold and unsuitable for residence, not to mention its geography, soil, and steepness. He also said that had our ancestors deemed it a suitable area to build houses, they would have done it a long time ago.

As to Mr. Elie Aoun, he wished to separate the issues in question, dividing them into three:
- zoning: according to him, some issues did not cause any damage and “must be mended before they break”. He suggested recovering the zoning file from the urban planning service, reevaluating it, and adding to it the recommendations of the current council where the industrial zone would be limited to a certain area…
- Issues that caused a serious damage (stone factory, cement factory, nylon plant…): he said: “we noticed that the owners of the plants are from Shweir and we want them to stay here” and no one is thinking of getting revenge. He also explained that the relocation of these plants must go hand in hand with a land reclamation, and said that the municipality should borrow to support this project and all residents should bring their contribution…
- The school: Shweir is reputed for its environment and education, “education is the ornament of this town”. He suggested promoting the educational utility and building a university. He also pointed out that the school is close to the plants, “which violates the simplest of environmental and health conditions”, calling to put an end to this problem and reach a decision as soon as possible”…

Recalling the decisions taken in the previous years pushed the president of the municipality to read some of the decisions that were signed by the former municipalities and that gave the owners of plants licenses, allowing them to expand and overstep the neighboring lands…

The president of the municipality held responsible both the former municipalities and the owners of plants, and condemned those blaming him on for decisions taken by former presidents. He noted that the owners of plants insisted on relocating their plants to areas within Shweir and Ain Sindyaneh, but the municipality could not relocate them. He also demanded the owners to follow the licenses to the letter by virtue of law, assuring that the municipality will pursue violations…

Finally, an advisory committee was formed to study the zoning issue, including the following members:
- Engineer Elie Aoun
- Engineer Ziyad Shaya
- Engineer Nabil Bou Kheir
- Mr. Ramzi Katoul
- Attorney Gebrayel Nassar
- Engineer George Naoum Mjaess
- Mr. George Bou Rizk
- Attorney Ramzi Mjaess
- Engineer Imad Jardak
- Engineer Elie Halabi
- Engineer Samih Halabi
- Ms. Rima Rahbani
- Mr. Touma Touma
- Mr. Naji Jardak
And the three mayors: Mr. Sabeh Jardak, Mr. Sami Sayegh and Mr. Mkhayel Sawaya, as well as the deputy president of the municipality Mr. Habib Mjaess as president.

Since we value objectivity and we stand at an equal distance from everyone, we will make public the declarations of the former president of the municipality Dr. Nabil Ghosn and the current president Mr. Naim Sawaya who requested, each at a time, the publication of some official documents.

In the first three pages of the link below, Dr. Ghosn states briefly the content of these official documents, and considers that Mr. Naim Sawaya, being the president of the municipality, allows the nylon plant to operate, without fulfilling the conditions of the Ministry of Industry, and that he is responsible for this issue because he signed the report of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. Consequently, if the owner of the plant meets the required conditions of the Ministry of Industry, he will not pose a threat to its environment. Mr. Ghosn also stated that during his mandate, he never violated any of the legal terms, even if some published documents mentioned that the lands where the plant was installed were not yet classified as an industrial region. Dr. Ghosn justified his approval of building the plant on land 1487 by saying that this land is situated in a region that was considered industrial a long time ago.


On the other hand, President Naim Sawaya held Dr. Ghosn fully responsible for the building of the nylon plant in the town, for the following reasons:

- Transforming land 1487 (where the plant was built) from a residential to an industrial area
- Ignoring the requests of many municipal departments who told him not to give the plant owner the license before the classification of the area as an industrial area
In addition, Mr. Sawaya said that the plant owner, Mr. Youssef Habib has asked the municipality to reconsider the classification of the land 1478 from a residential area to an industrial area in order to expedite the applications related to the building of the plant. He also explained that what Dr. Ghosn had said about the land being situated on either side of Nahr Bou Dawoud was wrong because the land is far from the Nahr.
As to the right to invest in a floor tile plant and stone sawing on the land 1542, Mr. Sawaya wondered why the municipality had agreed to expand this land that would overstep the neighboring lands 1543 and 1545, especially that the Ministry on Industry had issued a license for one land.



It is worth mentioning that and the town residents and emigrants it represents expressed their concerns even before the building and operation of the nylon plant without a license. In fact, they have been following the issue from the very first moment the bulldozers went into that land, uprooted the almond trees and grapevines, and destroyed the stone walls… At that time, used all means to contact the municipality which was then presided by Dr. Nabil Ghosn, in an attempt to show him the gravity of the situation, according to the explanations of specialists and experts united on this website.

This important issue comes to surface again with the new president of the municipality, Mr. Naim Sawaya, knowing that the plant owner violated the license like the majority of plant owners in the town…

Amid exchanged accusations, the town residents are the masters of the situation, for those who used to go to sleep in a calm town are awaking today on the noise of trucks and sometimes the deafening sound of huge machineries before dawn…

While the debate intensifies over the industrial plants, the Ghwab reserve, the potential lands to build houses for the townsmen, and job opportunities… people fear that these problems combined would dominate the fundamental zoning issue from which all other decisions are to be taken concerning the town future image, especially on the patrimonial and cultural levels. In fact, the zoning issue is of a great importance for the townsmen since it will define the future of their houses and their children, mainly because it covers the entrance to Ain Sindyaneh and the rare and distinguished green zone between Shweir and Ain Sindyaneh…

What adds to the people’s concerns is that some officials are talking about licenses being issued for plants that are yet to be built and about real partners… Rumor has it that the building of these plants is due next spring, which led the president of the municipality to assure that he will not sign any other license for the building of further plants in the town…

Finally, eyes and hopes are pinned on the committee that will study the zoning issue and draw up a master plan for the town… Let’s hope the day won’t come when new plants will be built at the expense of an environmental fortune offered to us by God… may we appreciate its value someday!!!



 If you like to read more about this subject or post a comment, there are several pages on the BB at:

Related links:    BB Posts:                  Industrial v. Environment    Recent posts @ Master Plan 
                         Web Pages:             
                      Mater Plan                  


تحت عنوان "المخطط التوجيهي العام لمنطقة الشوير – عين السنديانة"، عـُقد مساء السبت الواقع فيه 15 – 11 – 2008 اجتماعا في القصر البلدي، ضم غالبية أعضاء المجلس البلدي وعلى رأسهم رئيس البلدية السيد نعيم صوايا، الى جانب عدد من المهندسين في البلدة وشخصيات فاعلة، تداولوا فيه كافة المواضيع التي شغلت سكان البلدة في الآونة الأخيرة،

 بدأ الاجتماع بترحيب رئيس البلدية نعيم صوايا بالحضور وأشار الى ان الهدف من الاجتماع هو توضيح موقف البلدية من المواضيع  المطروحة لا سيما في ظل البيانات والاعتراضات التي يتم نشرها في البلدة، مرحبا بأي انتقاد بنـّاء، ورافضا ما ينشر على "الشوير دوت كوم" حيث رأى أن البلدية وُصِفت وكأنها تريد "خربان" البلدة مؤكدا حرصها على مصلحة الشوير وعين السنديانة...


تمحور القسم الأول من الاجتماع حول الزونينغ حيث برز رأيان في الموضوع وكلا الطرفين استندا الى الاجتماعات التي عقداها في التنظيم المدني مع مهندسة المنطقة السيدة لينا مدوّر، ودار النقاش حول التصنيف للزون T (إمتداد للمنطقة السكنية، وهي مختلطة صناعية وسكنية) و للزون F (منطقة صناعية فقط)؛ 

ففي حين أكد السيد رمزي الكاتول أنه اجتمع مع السيدة مدور وقالت له إنه يجب ان يكون هناك زون T تفصل بين F و C (منطقة سكنية)؛ ويعني ذلك تمديد المنطقة الصناعية الى حد ما وإقامة المزيد من المصانع

أصرّ كل من المهندس عماد جرداق، والآنسة ريما الرحباني، عضو في المجلس البلدي، أنهما اجتمعا مع السيدة مدوّر ضمن وفد من البلدة وأكدت لهم أنه بالإمكان إنشاء زون T من دون إقامة زون F؛ ويهدف ذلك الى حصر المنطقة الصناعية بالمصانع الموجودة فعلا على أرض الواقع من دون توسيعها، ويبرر أصحاب هذا الرأي قرارهم بأن أي مصانع أخرى سيتم إنشاؤها فستكون حكما قريبة من البلدتين والمنازل ومكشوفة الى العيان نظرا للتكوين الجغرافي للمنطقة وسيكون لها الأثر المباشر على المحيط، وأشارا الى ان التنظيم يؤكد أن البلدية هي صاحبة القرار بتوسيع أو حصر المنطقة الصناعية وأن التنظيم المدني لا يفرض شيئا عليها، مع العلم أنهم أفيدوا من التنظيم أنه من الممكن وضع  مخطط توجيهي عام من دون تواجد منطقة صناعية.   

ووسط  الأخذ والرد تدخل السيد صلاح بو صعب وسجل موقفا حازما حول ضرورة حصر المنطقة الصناعية ومنع توسعها أكثر مما هي عليه والاكتفاء بما وجد من مصانع وعدم إنشاء المزيد، معتبرا أن البلدة ما عادت تحتمل أكثر من ذلك.

إمكانية وضع مخطط توجيهي عام من دون تواجد منطقة صناعية أمر أكده المهندس نبيل بو خير الذي دعا في الوقت نفسه الى الانطلاق من المنطق والواقع، وبضرورة تطبيق القانون على المصانع الموجودة، ما من شأنه ان يحل مشكلة إقامة أي منزل الى جانب أي مصنع ذلك أن القانون ينظم ويضع ضوابط على المصانع ويجبر أصحابها على الالتزام بالرخص المعطاة لها وبالتالي بحماية أي منزل يقام بالقرب منها، وأشار الى انه إذا تم عكس ذلك فإن الامور ستؤول من سيء الى أسوأ، كما دعا الى اتخاذ خطوات بحق من لا يملك رخصة قانونية للعمل مشيرا الى وجود علامات إستفهام حول العديد من المؤسسات التي تعمل من دون رخص...


السيد بو خير في مداخلته هذه فتح باب الجدل واسعا على مسألة المصانع الموجودة فعلا وعلى واقعها القانوني، وفي هذا السياق طالب أن تحصل اللجنة التي شكلتها البلدية، والتي هو عضو فيها، على رخص هذه المصانع لتطّلع عليها وإلزام أصحابها بالتقيد بها

من ناحيته، أوضح السيد سيمون بعقليني، عضو في المجلس البلدي وصاحب معمل الحجر في عين الحانوت، أن مجلس الوزراء هو السلطة الوحيدة المخولة بالسماح بنقل معمل من مكان الى آخر، وأشار الى ان ذلك يتطلب كلفة تصل الى عشرة أضعاف كلفة المعمل وأنه قبل أن يعمد الى توسيع المعمل كشف على أراض في المناطق المجاورة مثل بو ميزان والقليعات والمتين وأعرب عن استعداده الى نقل مصنعه من المنطقة اذا تم ايجاد منطقة صناعية مصنفة فئة ثانية ما بين المتين – بو ميزان على ان يساعد من يستطيع في شراء هذه الارض وفي كلفة نقل المعمل مبديا إستعداده بالمساهمة هو أيضا

ومرة جديدة "الشوير دوت كوم" كان لها نصيبها من الانتقادات، فقد وصف السيد سيمون ما يـُتداول على هذا الموقع الالكتروني بالمشكلة، بحيث اعتبر ان هناك أناسا مهاجرين لأكثر من 40  و 50 سنة لا  يعرفون ماذا يوجد في الشوير الا  من خلال الانترنت والأقمار الصناعية، وقال: "إقتراحهم مرفوض" وهو في هذا السياق أوضح أنه يرفض اي كلام يخرج عن المنطق وأكد حرصه على الناحية الصحية والبيئية للبلدة، ورحب بكل من يريد ان يتكلم ويبدي رأيه بشكل مباشر.

 واذ إقترح إقامة منطقة صناعية في عين السنديانة تمتد من حدود المقابر نزولا حتى النهر، الأمر الذي لاقى اعتراضا لدى البعض باعتبار هذه المنطقة طبيعية وبيئية بامتياز وتعد مدخلا للبلدة... 

السيد سيمون جدد التأكيد على ان هكذا معمل يحتاج الى دعم مادي من قبل مجلس الوزراء ودفع تعويض كي يتم نقله الى منطقة أخرى "فمن غير الوارد نقله"

كلام السيد سيمون لاقى ردة فعل لدى عدد من الحاضرين، فمنهم من أثار مسألة المدرسة التي أنشئت على مقربة من المصنع الذي يشكل إزعاجا للطلاب خصوصا من الاصوات التي تصدر عنه...

وفي الاطار نفسه، أثار مختار عين السنديانة السيد سبع جرداق مشكلة أبناء البلدة لاسيما الشباب منهم الذين يريدون بناء منازل لهم، ولفت الى ان مساحة عين السنديانة الصغيرة وقربها من منطقة الغواب المصنفة محمية والتي لا تسمح بمساحة استثمار عالية، فضلا عن وجود مصانع عند الجهة الاخرى من البلدة لا تشجع أبناءها على بناء مساكن لهم في بلدتهم وبالتالي يضطرون للرحيل عنها، ومن منهم وجد في منطقة عين الحانوت منفذا له إصطدم بالمعامل المنشأة هناك ومن بينها معمل السيد سيمون الذي امتد الى العقارات المجاورة له وتجاوزه لشروط الرخص المعطاة له.

المختار أكد أنهم لا يريدون رحيله إنما تمنى ان يكون هناك ضوابط وإلتزام بالرخص، وتساءل اذا كانت عين الحانوت منطقة لإنشاء المصانع؟

وكان للمختار ملاحظة حول معمل اللبن المُنشأ عند مدخل عين السنديانة حيث شرع صاحبه بشراء مزيد من الاراضي قد يهدف من خلالها الى توسيع معمله وتمديده، فطالب باتخاذ قرار سريع حوله.

كما أن هناك من أشار الى أن صاحب معمل النيلون في الشوير اشترى في الآونة الأخيرة مزرعة كبيرة مجاورة لمعمله وطالب المجتمعون البلدية بالوقوف عند الوقائع.

من ناحيته قال السيد ناجي جرداق، صاحب منشرة في الشوير، "إن كل المعامل في المنطقة لا تطبق الشروط المفروضة وإن غياب الرقابة من قبل البلدية له أثره على ذلك".
أشار السيد جرداق الى وجود بيان إعتراضي بحق معمل النيلون وتلا بإسمه وبإسم الموقعين على المعروض بيانا تطرق فيه "الى الاضرار الصحية والبيئية الناتجة عن المواد الكيميائية والشعاعية المنبعثة منه، برأي خبراء مختصين بهذا المجال، فضلا عن الروائح الكريهة وأصوات المحركات ومولدات الكهرباء والضوضاء والأنوار الباهرة ليلا ونهارا ولا ننسى التشويه الحاصل للمناظر الطبيعية، بسببه وبسبب المعامل الاخرى والمجاورة له والازعاج الحاصل من تنقل الشاحنات والاليات الكبيرة"

ودعا السيد جرداق في نهاية البيان رئيس البلدية وأعضاء المجلس البلدي "لوضع حد لهذه الجريمة البيئية والصحية والعمرانية في منطقتي عين الحانوت وعين السنديانة من دون تأخير أو مماطلة" 

وتعليقا على الموضوع أكد الدكتور نبيل غصن، رئيس البلدية السابق وعضو حالي في المجلس البلدي، أن معمل النايلون لم يحصل بعد على رخصة الاستثمار وبالتالي لا يحق له البدء بالعمل وأنه لا يلتزم بشروط وزراة الصناعة، وأوضح ان وزارة الصناعة أعطت صاحب المعمل سنتين ليقوم بتجهيزه فقط، على ان يقوم عند انتهاء هذه المهلة بالطلب من وزراة الصناعة بالكشف عليه قبل أن يبدأ العمل للتأكد من أنه يستوفي الشروط. وأشار السيد غصن الى أنه اقترح على رئيس البلدية إعطاء صاحب المعمل مهلة شهر أو شهرين للالتزام بشروط وزارة الصناعة.

وعن كل هذه المواضيع، أعلن رئيس البلدية أنه سيتم تشكيل لجنة تكلـَف بإقامة دراسة على أرض الواقع وتحديد المكان المناسب لإنشاء منطقة صناعية وأخرى إنتقالية ومنطقة خضراء، مؤكدا استعداد البلدية التجاوب مع هذه اللجنة.

وحول الاعتراض على مصنع النايلون، أكد السيد صوايا انه تم ارسال الاعتراض الى كل الوزارات المعنية من بيئة وصحة وصناعة وداخلية وبلديات، وأشار الى انه حصلت اجتماعات مع المسؤولين في هذه الوزارات الذين طالبوا بدورهم البلدية بإلزام المعامل بالرخص المعطاة لها وإلا إغلاقها، وأوضح ان ذلك كان سببا لتشكيل البلدية لجنة لدراسة واقع المعامل والتوصل الى حل لما فيه خير البلدتين ومصلحة المعامل التي أصبحت أمرا واقعا.

وكانت هناك مداخلة للسيد وجيه نصر، صاحب معمل غاز في بلدة الخنشارة المجاورة، الذي وصف إلتزامه بشروط الرخصة المعطاة له وتطبيقه لكافة المواصفات المطلوبة من أجل إنشاء معمله، وتساءل لماذا الاستباحة ولا يلتزم أهالي البلدة برخصهم في بلدتهم طالما أنهم يلتزمون بها خارج بلدتهم؟ واقترح السماح بإنشاء مصانع خفيفة جدا للذين يريدون أن يعملوا ويبقوا في بلدتهم.

عند هذه النقطة عدنا بالتاريخ الى العام 2004 مع السيد جورج بو رزق الذي اعتبر انه يجب مناقشة الموضوع بدءا من الاساس وليس من "القفا تحتا"، وفي خلاصة ما أتى به؛ إقترح العمل على رفع الاستثمار في منطقة الغواب كي يتمكن أبناء الشوير من الاستفادة منها وبناء منازل ضمن شروط المحافظة على المساحات الخضراء، وبالتالي لا يضطرون الى الابتعاد  عن بلدتهم. كما اقترح إنشاء منطقة صناعية في ما وصفه بـ"الوادي" في أسفل عين السنديانة، الامر الذي لاقى اعتراضات عدة نظرا لقرب هذا "الوادي" من المنازل وانكشافه على  المناطق المواجهة له...

من جهته، تمنى السيد صادق قربان دراسة الحاضر وتشكيل لجنة تكلف بسحب كل الأوراق ودراستها وعرضها في اجتماع آخر


من ناحيته اعتبر المهندس سميح الحلبي أن قرار البلدية بحصر المعامل في نطاق عقاراتها وتراخيصها خطوة جيدة وقال: "العبرة تبقى للتطبيق".

وحول منطقة الغواب التي تتنازعها وجهتي نظر بين إبقائها منطقة خضراء أو تحويلها الى منطقة سكنية، اقترح السيد الحلبي التريث في طلب رفع نسبة الاستثمار فيها، وطرَحَ وجهة نظر ثالثة رأى أن من شأنها أن تحسن الاستثمار في هذه المنطقة وترفع سعر الاراضي وتحافظ على طابعها البيئي الأخضر، الذي هو طابع الشوير، والذي يجلب اليها المصطافين من كل المناطق... ويقضي الاقتراح بجعل الغواب منطقة سياحية بيئية وبناء نماذج سكنية صغيرة (شاليه) أو منطقة تخييم وركوب على الدراجات والخيل وصيد السمك... وبالتالي استقطاب السياح من كل لبنان...

المهندس نبيل بو خير دعم هذا الرأي وأوضح أن وجهة هذه المنطقة شمالية وبالتالي فهي باردة وغير صالحة للسكن فضلا عن تكوينها الجغرافي وتربتها وانحدارها، وأكد أنه لو رأى فيها أجدادنا منطقة جيدة لبناء منازلهم لفعلوا ذلك منذ زمن بعيد.

السيد إيلي عون تمنى الفصل بين المواضيع المطروحة، مقسما اياها الى ثلاثة؛

- مسألة الزونينغ حيث لاحظ أن هناك مواضيع لم يلحقها الضرر وأنه "يجب تجبيرها قبل ان تنكسر" واقترح استرجاع ملف الزونينغ من التنظيم المدني وإعادة تقييمه وإلحاقه بتوصيات من المجلس الحالي تحصر فيه المنطقة الصناعية بمساحة معينة....

- مواضيع لحقها الضرر بشكل مفجع ومرعب (معمل الحجر، معمل الباطون، معمل النايلون...)، وقال "لاحظنا أن أصحاب المعامل شويريون ونريدهم أن يبقوا" وأن لا أحد بوارد الانتقام واعتبر أن إزاحتهم يجب ان تكون مقرونة بإلتزامات تحسين مستوى الاراضي، وأنه يجب ان تقوم البلدية بالاقتراض والمساهمة من كل الناس لنقل هذه المعامل...

- موضوع المدرسة؛ حيث اعبر ان الشوير معروفة ببيئتها وبكونها ضيعة علم "زينة هذه الضيعة، العلم" واقترح تعزيز المرفق العلمي وبناء جامعة. وأوضح ان المدرسة قريبة من المصانع وهو "أمر لا يتوافق مع أبسط مستلزمات وشروط المسائل الصحية والبيئية" ودعا الى "ضرورة وضع حد لهذا الموضوع وأخذ قرار بأسرع وقت"...

 العودة بالتاريخ الى القرارات التي اتـُخذت في السنوات الماضية دفعت برئيس البلدية الى تلاوة بعض القرارات التي وَقعت عليها البلديات السابقة والتي أعطت رخص للمصانع وسمحت لها بالتوسع والتمدد الى العقارات المجاورة لها...

رئيس البلدية ألقى المسؤولية المشتركة على البلديات السابقة وأصحاب المعامل على حد سواء ورفض ما يسري من كلام على "الشوير دوت كوم" يحمّله مسؤولية قرارات قام باتخاذها من سبقه على رئاسة البلدية، وأشار الى ان أصحاب المصانع لم يرضوا سوى الانتقال الى أراض ضمن نطاق الشوير وعين السنديانة  وأقر بعدم قدرة البلدية على نقل هذه المصانع، الا انه في الوقت نفسه طالب أصحاب المصانع بتطبيق رخصهم بحذافيرها ضمن القانون مؤكدا ان البلدية ستقوم بملاحقة المخالفات... 

  وفي النهاية شـُكلت لجنة لدراسة مسألة الزونينغ تألفت من:

- المهندس إيلي عون
- المهندس زياد شعيا
- المهندس نبيل بو خير
- السيد رمزي الكاتول
- المحامي جبرايل نصار
- المهندس جورج نعوم مجاعص
- السيد جورج بو رزق
- المحامي رمزي مجاعص
- المهندس عماد جرداق
- المهندس إيلي حلبي
- المهندس سميح حلبي
- الآنسة ريما الرحباني
- السيد توما توما
- السيد ناجي جرداق
والمخاتير الثلاثة: السيد سبع جرداق والسيد سامي الصايغ والسيد مخايل صوايا
برئاسة نائب رئيس البلدية السيد حبيب مجاعص

 ومن أجل الموضوعية، ولأننا نقف على مسافة واحدة من الجميع، نخرج الى العلن ما أصرّ عليه رئيس البلدية السابق الدكتور نبيل غصن ورئيس البلدية الحالي السيد نعيم صوايا، بحيث طالب كل منهما، على حدة، بنشر عدد من الوثائق والمستندات الرسمية؛

 فالدكتور غصن يلخـّص في الصفحات الثلاث الاولى، على الموقع أدناه، مضمون ومحتوى هذه الوثائق الرسمية ويرى أن السيد نعيم صوايا بصفته رئيسا للبلدية يسمح لمصنع النايلون بالعمل من دون توفر الشروط والمواصفات الواجب توفرها بحسب وزارة الصناعة، وأن توقيع السيد نعيم صوايا على محضر وزارة الشؤون البلدية والقروية، يجعله جزءا من المسألة ومسؤولا فيها. وبالتالي فإن الدكتور غصن يؤكد انه اذا طبق صاحب المعمل الشروط المطلوبة منه بحسب وزارة الصناعية فإنه لن يشكل ضررا على محيطه. ويرى غصن أنه أثناء ولايته لم يتجاوز أيا من الشروط القانونية علما أنه وبحسب المستندات المنشورة نلاحظ أن العقارات التي أقيم عليها المعمل لم تكن مصنفة منطقة صناعية  بعد ويبرر الدكتور غصن موافقته على إنشاء المعمل على العقار 1487، أنه يقع ضمن منطقة ملحوظة صناعية منذ زمن بعيد


 في المقابل، يحمّل رئيس البلدية السيد نعيم صوايا  الدكتور غصن المسؤولية الكاملة لإنشاء معمل النايلون في البلدة وذلك للاعتبارات التالية:

-         تحويل العقار 1478 (حيث أنشئ معمل  النايلون) من منطقة سكنية الى منطقة صناعية

-         عدم الاستماع الى طلبات التريث الذي طالبت بها العديد من الدوائر الرسمية البلدية قبل اعطاء الترخيص لصاحب المعمل الى حين استكمال معاملات تصنيف المنطقة الصناعية

وكذلك يسعى السيد صوايا الى تقويم ما ورد على طلب السيد يوسف حبيب حبيب (صاحب المعمل) حول طلبه من البلدية بإعادة النظر بتصنيف العقار 1478 من سكن الى صناعة من أجل الاسراع بالمعاملات المطلوبة لإنشاء المعمل؛ ويوضح أن وصف الدكتور غصن لهذا العقار على جانبي "ساقية" (نهر) أبو داوود غير صحيح ويوضح ان هذا العقار بعيد عن "الساقية".

ودائما بحسب رئيس البلدية وحول حق استثمار معمل بلاط ونشر أحجار على العقار 1542، يتساءل السيد صوايا أنه طالما أعطت وزارة الصناعة الترخيص على عقار واحد، فلماذا وافقت البلدية آنذاك على توسيعه الى العقارين المجاورين 1543 و 1545.



يُذكر أن "الشوير دوت كوم" وما تمثله من أبناء البلدة مقيمين ومغتربين، لم تنتظر حتى انتهاء بناء معمل النايلون وبدء العمل فيه قبل حياذته على رخصة إستثمار كي تبدي قلقها من الموضوع، بل هي واكبت هذه المنشأة منذ اللحظة الأولى لدخول الجرافات إلى تلك الأرض واقتلاع أشجار اللوز ودوالي العنب وتهديم حفافي الحجر... و"الشوير دوت كوم" آنذاك لم توفر وسيلة اتصال بالبلدية التي كان يرأسها الدكتور نبيل غصن ومحاولة لإقناعه بخطورة الوضع إستنادا الى توضيحات من قبل أخصائيين وخبراء يجمعهم هذا الموقع الالكتروني.

وإن هذا الموضوع على أهميته يعود اليوم الى الواجهة مع الولاية الجديدة للبلدية التي يرأسها السيد نعيم توما صوايا مع تخطي صاحب المعمل لرخصته شأنه شأن كل المعامل الأخرى الموجودة في البلدة...

 ووسط تبادل التهم بين المسؤولين، يقف أهالي البلدة والقلق صاحب الموقف، فمن اعتاد أن ينام على بلدة هادئة، يجد اليوم نفسه يصحو على هدير الشاحنات وأحيانا "زعيق" الآليات الكبيرة التي تسبق طلوع الفجر...

 وفي الوقت الذي يحتدم فيه الجدل حول المعامل، ومحمية "الغواب"، وايجاد أراض لبناء منازل لأبناء البلدة، وفرص عمل... يخشى الناس أن تطغى هذه المشاكل مجتمعة على مسألة الزونينغ، التي تعد العامود الفقري وانطلاقا منها تتخذ القرارات المتشعبة والمتعلقة بتحديد طابع البلدة ورسم صورتها المستقبلية لا سيما التراثية والثقافية منها، وبالتالي فإنها تعد ذات أهمية عند أبناء المنطقة لمعرفة مصير منازلهم ومستقبل أبنائهم خصوصا وأن مسألة الزونينغ تستهدف بشكل مباشر مدخل بلدة عين السنديانة، والمنطقة الخضراء بين الشوير وعين السنديانة ذات الرونق المميز والنادر...

 وما يضيف على قلق الناس قلقا، تصريح بعض المسؤولين عن حيازة أناس تراخيص لمعامل لم تنشأ بعد وسرى الحديث عن وجود شركاء فعليين... صدى هذه التصاريح تداولها الشارع وسرت شائعات عن أن الربيع المقبل سيكون موعدا لبدء بناء هذه المصانع، وتعليقا حول الموضوع أكد رئيس البلدية أنه لن يوقع على أي ترخيص لبناء أي معمل إضافي في البلدة...

 وتبقى الأنظار والآمال مشدودة باتجاه اللجنة التي شـُكلت من أجل دراسة مسألة الزونينغ ووضع مخطط توجيهي عام للبلدة... على أمل أن لا يأتي يوم ويُزهر فيه ربيعنا مصانع جديدة على حساب ثروة بيئية وجنة أعطانا إياها الله مجانا... علنا ندرك قيمتها!!!  



 If you like to read more about this subject or post a comment, there are several pages on the BB at:

Related links:    BB Posts:                  Industrial v. Environment    Recent posts @ Master Plan 
                         Web Pages:             
                      Mater Plan                  

Shweir has inadequate infrastructure to meet current needs & NO Master Plan!

A Dynamic MASTER PLAN must have these basic guidelines for Shweir’s Future Success…

1.  The Town master plan will include tools for promoting quality community and lifestyles. It provides citizens, developers, planners, and leaders with a document that clearly communicates the public's interests and expectations.  It will also provide for orderly improvement of Town resources, infrastructure and environment.

2.  The needs of the residents and employees of the Town, including youth and senior citizens, will form the basis for the plan. Topics will include economic development, including agricultural development, housing, tourism, education, recreation, and the protection of natural resources.

3.  The Town's goals are to promote economic growth that enhances rather than diminishes property values, to promote aesthetically pleasing development, and to preserve and enhance the historic, cultural, and environmental resources of the Town.

4.  The plan will help citizens communicate their goals and priorities with respect to zoning, roads, water, sewer, electrical and network to
guide elected officials over the next 5, 10 and 20 years.

5.  How can Shweir residents enhance their lives and capitalize on the many outstanding features of their Town, which include beautiful and scenic countryside, a creative workforce, a bounty of home-grown produce, an excellent Town Road system, and a fantastic view of Sunneen to the East and the Mediterranean to the West?

Since 2001, many caring Shweirys wrote dozens of posts on Shweir Bulletin Boards and urged the Municipality to establish a Master Plan.   In 2006, many engineers, architects, developers, road and wastewater experts offered to volunteer their time to work on a dynamic Master Plan.  No one followed through on these experts offers.  Not even a committee.  =  Missed Opportunities. Other towns are thriving while Shweir has gone backwards. 

In April 2008, Municipality announced and invited public participation for a bold effort to address 16 important issues leading to a Master Plan.  Everyone welcomed such announcement and gave residents hope.  No further update was made.  The only action taken was a submission to rezone an eco sensitive area that is 300% the size of Shweir into Industrial & Commercial without proper studies or public notice and input.  That would be devastating for the environment & Shweir.   

Shweir desperately needs a dynamic Master Plan & committee of QUALIFIED, Experienced & Unbiased experts. Brief suggestions from Dr. Karim Nasser, University professor of engineering in Canada, Engineers Salim & Jamil Jamil Bou Saab, Samih Baaklini, George Matar, Elie Aoun, Mike Sawaya & many others:

1.  The zoning plan should be made public by Council and invite input from, experts, residents and public.

2.  An Expert’s report should be prepared in due time based on resources, public input and limitations to determine the realistic feasibility and cost of needed infrastructure, effects on economy, environment, advantages, disadvantages, proposal viability, cost of the total project and how will it be financed. 

3. Allow Industries that are necessary to serve the community to be up to 5% of total municipal area and placed in remote location with minimal environmental effect and away from residences & businesses.

Please share with all who love Shweir, urge council members to oppose questionable industry expansion, mitigate & reduce current Heavy Industry, shut down harmful industry & pursue a dynamic Plan that will make Shweir shine


Responding to feedback from and discussion with members of family, about the positive note of the Mayor's message, we decided to take proactive steps resulting in this letter, below sent to the Mayor and Council Members.

Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 10:10 PM
Subject: FW: Official Response about Shweir's future

Sandy, Please make copies and distribute to the Mayor and Council members.


Dear Shweir Mayor Naiim Sawaya and Council Members,

Thank you for your official response and invitation to welcome working cooperatively for a brighter Shweir.

Shweir will greatly benefit from such cooperation, sharing of ideas and as you nicely put it, constructive criticism. has a network of great talent from around the world. And when you facilitate to tap into their resources, you will be amazed at the additional opportunities and options that would come.

Shweir desperately needs experts who have in depth knowledge about all aspects of Master Plans.

If we do not have such expertise, we would waste more time and opportunities like we did since 2001.

As per your invitation, some of these experts have suggested that we establish an advisory committee to work closely among experts from around the world including Lebanon and Shweir and designated knowledgeable members of Shweir elected officials.

We recommend that members of the council vote to establish such Advisory Committee that will work closely with professionals, members of the staff of the municipality and the citizens in order to establish a New Master Plan.

The Council would have the ultimate decision of the approval of the recommended New Master Plan.

The experts will donate their valuable time and most likely provide alternatives and resources that can be of great value to Shweir.

They may be aware of international programs or aid foundations that can provide equipment, systems, software and hardware, or financial assistance for clean energy, water resources, wastewater treatment, education, economic, wireless and internet communications, etc.

We want people from around the world to look back 10 and 20 years from now to admire and be proud of positive accomplishments of the team effort of your administration and the Shweiry experts from around the world achieved.

We would like to know when the Council would vote on the establishment of such an Advisory Committee, so we can proceed accordingly including the selection of advisory members.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need more information.

Looking forward to your prompt and favorable response.

For the family,

Best regards,


Cc: family


We are excited about this opportunity and we are going to look at samples of some of the best models, utilize applicable data and modify to reflect Shweir charaqcteristics to achieve best Master Plan.

Here is a communication from Dr. Karim Nasser in Canada:

From: Karim W. Nasser
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 9:32 AM
Subject: Re: Shweir Industrial Map - REsponse from Mayor

My sincere thanks to all of you for getting to a milestone in the negotiation with the Municipality.
For your reference and discussion I propose the following model from the City of Saskatoon:

Municipal Planning Commission

The function of the Commission is to advise City Council with respect to all matters pertaining to community planning and development within the Municipality.

The Commission reports directly to Council

Number of members--13
One from City Council and twelve others

See :

I will provide you with details after my additional inquiries.

Thank you very much and God bless your continued enthusiasm and hard work,



The Master Plan for our Shweir
Author Message
George Matar
Site Admin

Joined: 22 Jan 2007
Posts: 408
Location: League City, Texas

PostPosted: 08 Oct 2008 11:22 am    Post subject: The Master Plan for our Shweir Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post View IP address of poster

I once wrote a song around 2001 that had the following lines:
Dow Jones falling
NASDAQ in a dive
Nothing to learn here and nothing to Teach
We're simply having a good time at Crystal Beach

Here we go agian, except this time there is no Crystal Beach, Ike took it with him.... so what to do now? We Got to get our mind off the economy, because we are royally %^&^%%. So here is something that we can interact aand come out with something positive..... I figure if the economy keep going the way it is, My last $4000 will be to buy two airline tickets for me and Janice and head back to to live in Dhour... and maybe some of you will end up doing the same thing.... Having that in mind, and you are aware that the Municipality is being proactive in implementing a Master Plan for our town........ Here is your Chance to suggest and / or recommend improvements that YOU would like for them to include in the Master Plan.

Rules of the Game is for you to be creative and practical, use examples of towns that adopted ideas and made it come true and if you can mention the results of their work.... In otherwords don't ask for the imposible... Just remember that the area is very small and any thing you recommend will effect the rest of the community.

Go ahead and shine


The letter below was sent in 2006 to key people at the time who can be instrumental in helping to facilitate a sound and exciting Master Plan.  These were my opinions at the time and invited more discussion.  

My communications with Habib Moujaes March 17, 2006 about the reason the wastewater plant that failed upon completion was quite insightful and I felt compelled to share it with you.  (See below). 

 In summary:  (based on Habib and Dr. Ghosn explanations).

The limited resources Shweir has precluded its leadership from dreaming big and when they got creative, they were personally penalized. 
Yes, the Municipality and individual council members were stung and were on the receiving end of red tape from higher authorities.

Shweir does not have short and/or long term Master Plan and raw and untreated sewage and other chemicals and possibly harmful material is being discharged from four outlets. 

Other observations from previous communications include: 

Water supply is inadequate and has to be delivered by truck weekly to each home. 

Our water springs that made Shweir famous – most are tainted, reduced to a trickle and/or undrinkable

We lost territory jurisdiction to neighboring towns… like al Kasouf Hotel on one end and even the Saadeh home on the other end…

Basic infrastructure such as Zoning, public works, environment, roads, gutters, electricity, safety, shelter, recreation and job development need big boost.

 For the past five years, we discussed on the BB how wonderful it would be if Shweir was a dynamic and vibrant town that is active year round. 

Remember George Matar’s posts about the Master Plan and “A Town for all seasons”? + many other posts…

The old souk has fantastic potential.  It remains like a jewel in the rough, hardly discovered. 

There are so many opportunities to capitalize on if… no, WHEN we, combine our resources and creativity and work cooperatively together.

 I sincerely believe that the key to turning things around is to have a bold vision and allow our selves to dream big. 

So here is our chance to help our town rise above the negativities and past challenges.  

 Yes, positive dreams give people hope and create excitement. 

Imagine if we were to take as many of these dreams and include the more feasible ones in a Master Plan (MP). 

The nice thing about a MP is that it can be amended periodically when we get more data. 

Also, the easy items can be accomplished during the short term and the more GRAND plans during the Long term…

 The reason that you are receiving this is because I believe that you have the knowledge, experience, leadership qualities and genuine desire to help your/our town.

Yes, there are many many other persons with similar qualities.  We do not intend to leave them out.  Thru your efforts via the Shweir MP, we will tap into the vast resources we have. 

As you know Shweir is famous for its engineers, architects and builders.  I am sure each one of you know of many more people who are qualified.  What is important is to find those who are qualified, available and will be blessed by the Municipality.  We  just want to help and do not wish to overstep our boundaries.

I will share with you of the people who I personally know. 

 By means of brief introduction: 

 Municipality:          Dr. Ghosn, as 3 term Mayor, has been most knowledgeable of most issues, a master at politics, diplomacy and knows key people to fill in needed roles.  Before Dr. Ghosn retires, or even when he does, we very much would appreciate and welcome his participation and guidance.  

Dr. Karim Nasser:   Retired. Taught civil engineering for decades.  Has many inventions.  Dozens of scholarships in his name.  Just completed a book “How I achieved my dream” which will be announced soon and will be available for sale on with proceeds going to benefit Scholarship fund.

Nabil and George Matar:  Both have engineering degrees and are the most active and vocal on

Shakeep & Ziad Shaya:  Accomplished Architects and are quite familiar with Shweir building codes and guidelines.

George Moujaes:   Architect – volunteered his time to design the Shweir Library and Community Center.

Riad Khuneisser:    Librarian at AUB and volunteered his time at the Shweir Library and Community Center. 

Samih Baaklini:      Engineer – does contract projects for roads and underground piping in the Houston, TX area.

Suheil Baaklini:      Engineer -  works for the Department of Public Works of the City of Austin, TX  Suheil could be most familiar w/MPs.

Jamil Bou Saab:    Has an architectural firm with about two dozen staff members.  Also familiar with design, plan and community work.

Habib Moujaes:     Mechanical Engineer, entrepreneur, past member of Shweir Council, very familiar with the Shweir issues, specs, challenges

Anwar Kenicer:      I work in commercial real estate and had experience working on a large development project as big as Shweir that included MP and infrastructure.  
I had the best mentor in the summers during my youth at Cinema Roxy:  Khalil Salim Moujaes, Habib's dad.  Need I say more?   

 The following are merely recommendations.  They are not cast in stone. 

I welcome your feedback, constructive criticism and whatever would a benefit to Shweir. 

I do not wish to be presumptuous.  Some of you may be overcommitted and may not have time for this, so please tell me.

Here I will put my ideal wish list to start with and with your feedback we can modify accordingly.

 The first step is to establish the Shweir Master Plan Committee.  May I suggest that to be under the umbrella of Shweir Foundation. 

 We get feedback about gathering as much information about each aspect of the MP, pre-requisites, and assign persons (some new) who can head or study a sub part of the MP. 

 I began to appreciate the difficulty that the Municipality faced when Habib mentioned how they were penalized for being creative and wrote: 
Our centralized government system leaves you no room to dream.”

This has stirred me to take some action as I am doing now.  Let us dare to dream… and imagine:

 Imagine we get someone like Mayor Ghosn and Dr. Nasser to guide us, give us tips, help us orchestrate this project. We get great divergent view points.

Imagine that Suheil Baaklini can guide us about best MP approach, elements, managing issues and changes…

Imagine that Habib Moujaes will take charge in addressing the basic infra structure issues: 

             Water, Wastewater, Roads, and Electricity.   Identify problems, brain storm solutions. 

             Each issue can be headed by a most knowledgeable person

Imagine Oula Aoun can continue her research dream about Old Shweir Souk

Imagine that you know of many other great and resourceful people to join this fine team. 

Imagine that the Municipality will support such MP study project, provides critical info and recommend most instrumental and knowledgeable key persons.

Imagine how excited people of Shweir would be when they have a say about this evolving MP

Imagine support by owners of major property that is mostly vacant now that if we spend $1 on MP, the town can benefit by $2, or $3+




 I can list a dozen more dreams… and now it is Your turn to add to the list. 

 Attached please find five (5) diverse Master Plan examples that we can use the best of each that applies.  

There are plenty more on the internet.  If you find other relevant information, please add it and share it with us.

 Before I get too carried away, I need your input, encouragement, blessings, good energy. 

This is a collective and team effort.  If each of us and future volunteers did a segment of the MP, no one will be overwhelmed. 

I believe this will be educational, fun and very rewarding for the town.

 I would like to tabulate your responses and get a consensus by the end of this week.

My apologies for this long message.

 If all move positively, we would like to get the MP project started in early April and have a rough draft by end of July. 


 Best regards,





April 2006

 Allow me to share some great news with you.

 Below, please find the Municipality’s positive and supportive “Official Statement” and below that are my comments.

Thank you Dr. Ghosn for giving us the opportunity to embark on what we would like to consider to be an undertaking that could become a success story and a model to emulate in transforming a town.  

 We feel blessed to have such open dialogue and the spirit of cooperation among caring professionals such as this fine group.  

We also are very fortunate to have some of the most gifted minds and engineers who are in and/or from Shweir who are excellent candidates to join us.   

I had several discussions with some of you and received worthwhile communications and excellent suggestions and encouragement.  

Some of you recommended excellent candidates to join and help in this effort.  

I am very optimistic about this collaboration.  At this momentum, the future long term vision for Shweir can be achieved much quicker.

 Our objective is to volunteer our time to work closely and in harmony with the Municipality, mayor, council members, public works departments, engineers and to get as many good worthwhile suggestions from caring Shweiries and residents.

 I like what Jamil suggested about establishing a Master Plan commission or committee that have the authorization, endorsement and recognition of the Municipality.  Since all appear to be in agreement and are in support of the MP and goals, may I suggest that between now and lets say the first of May, that the Municipality would establish such a commission.  During this time, recommendations for possible candidates to be appointed would be submitted for consideration by the Municipality.  If Municipality is in agreement or has a better alternative or time schedule, please let us know.  We are anxious to get started.

 It would help greatly if those to be considered to the commission would be familiar and preferably experts in certain aspects of the MP.  New commission members can review existing studies like those relevant ones that have been prepared since 1973.    

 Granted that this is an overview.  I welcome your suggestions.  Your input and collaborations would give us more options and better choices.



From: A G Kenicer []
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2006 2:21 AM
To: 'Shweir Municipality'
Subject: RE: Considerations in support of a Master Plan

 Dear Dr. Ghosn,

Your “Official Statement” in support of the Master Plan is like music to our ears.

 Our objective is to work in harmony with the Municipality to learn more about the studies that have already been made.

Also, we would like to get the perspective and vision of the Municipality, Council, and resident and let the Commissions or Committees sanctioned by the Municipality to collaborate with experts locally and abroad.   

 We look forward to receive the wastewater information you will be sending and to learn as much of the existing conditions and studies.

 Aside from Zoning and infrastructure issues, the MP could be expanded to include economic development, advancement of educational opportunities This can be expanded as we get more input from first the Municipality, Council, experts and from the public.  New and bold topics can include economic development, (such as a chamber of commerce), educational potential (such as a university satellite leading up to a full university), recreational facilities (such as public parks, amphitheatre, preservation and enhancement of historical sections like old souk in Shweir and the Tahouneh…  There may be many other worthwhile important issues to consider and evaluate.  However, I will defer such consideration to you and the experts.   

 Thank you for again for your support of what could be a road map for a brighter future and clearer vision for Shweir.

 With your permission, I will share your response with the group that we have been communicating with.  



From: Shweir Municipality []
Sent: Saturday, April 08, 2006 2:51 AM
To: A G Kenicer
Subject: Re: Considerations in support of a Master Plan

Official Statement

Dearest Anwar Kenicer,

Received your email of April 6 , and had full attention to its contents dealing mainly with a master plan for shweir . It is a very important topic to deal with and we have to clarify the master plan we are talking about because a master plan would mean two things to me:

1- Zoning of the area of shweir

2- Projects needed for collaboration with local governmental authorities as well as foreign aids to improve the infra structure of Shweir inorder to have the facilities of modern civilization so that Shweir could be an ideal place to come to .

The Zoning of the town has been a primary subject dealt with  by the municipality councils starting from 1973 until today and we feel that we approached the final steps that a Presidential Decree  would be issued very shortly dividing the landscape of

Shweir into several zone areas , each of them having different characteristics  .

I am very happy to hear that many of our people living abroad (Emigrants) , who are very enthusiastic and specialized in several fields that could give lots of their experience to be used in  implementing a new infra structure for the town, and then seek for financing from Local authorities or from different international agencies that are working to help . I am ready to support any project or projects to modify and bring our town into better standards, because we need lots of things as well as corresponding lots of money to be able to reach together our goal. 

It's good to start putting a MP for what Shweir needs most and then to start preparing qualified people in the fields so that we can have their opinions and studies and then look for ways and means to execute the projects that would be under discussion.

As for the water waste plant that we started in 1993- 94 , it will be discussed in a separate e-mail that i will be sending to you in the coming few days.

Best Regards,

President of Shwair - Ain sindyani Municipality

Dr. Nabil Ghosn


----- Original Message -----

From: A G Kenicer

To: Municipality

Sent: Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:22 AM

Subject: Considerations in support of a Master Plan

Dear Dr. Ghosn,

Hope all is going well for you.  We miss you all.

 As you are aware, I sent an email inquiring about support for the waste water project and in just a couple of days, we got all enthusiastic and supportive responses.  I will copy and paste some of the responses below. After some discussions and excitement, the respondents supported to work on a dynamic Master Plan, MP that will encompass short term needs and long term visions for Shweir and its people.  

A Master Plan is critical for many reasons including:  

1.       It helps identify basic infra structure needs for present and future projection.

2.       by collaborating with local and experts who live abroad,  Shweir can greatly benefit from their talents.

3.       For certain costly projects, by collaborating together, we can identify dozens of international entities that could provide assistance

4.       This way, by having knowledgeable person(s) locally, like yourself, you can address and coordinate important and needed logistics to obtain what ever assistance from the government to compliment foreign aid and/or assistance from Shweiries abroad.

5.       In order to bring those visions closer to reality, if we work via the MP, we can be ready and show that we have a sound and well thought out plans to submit for financial aid and resources.  Of course, we will be more successful if we show that the project is feasible and we have done our homework.   

6.       I am sure we can list dozens of other good reasons…

Although all the respondents are eager to pitch in, they are reluctant to proceed without strong encouragement and support from the municipality.  

So far we have not heard from you on these discussions.  We do not want to lose this momentum.  It would be great to encourage the implementation of such a plan at the earliest possible time.

Dr. Ghosn, even if you may go into semi retirement soon, we need your enthusiastic support of this critical opportunity and/or you can recommend a key contact person in the Municipality who help us bring this MP project closer to reality.    

 The responses below are a good example of eagerness of many successful and highly qualified Shweiries to help.  Perhaps the only communication you did not see yet was from Samih Baaklini.  Now I have his permission to share it with others.  As you will note, he is prepared to allocate $5,000 to get the right format in place.  Also note the correction on Souheil Baaklini’s qualifications.  He works for the water and waste water department, rather than department of public works, for the city of Austin, TX.  

 With Municipality’s endorsement, and the fact that Shweir Foundation is now a tax exempt corporation, we can get more donations for a comprehensive MP project since the donor would save roughly 20% to 40% on his taxes for donating to such non profit entity.

 Dr. Ghosn, we look forward to your direction and enthusiastic favorable response.   Inshallah, J

 Best regards,


From: Samih Baaklini []
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 8:21 AM
To: A G Kenicer
Subject: Re: From Shweir Waste Water Mess to 2, 5, 10, 15 and 20 year Master Plan


 I am all for that, a MP. I also want to thank Habib for this valuable information.  May I suggest letting Habib finish his Waste water treatment plant.  I realize we need the money to do so, If Habib can let us know what kind of funds he is requiring.  If all looks favorable, I can allocate $5000 for this project, maybe that will get the ball rolling.


From: Baaklini, Suheil []
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2006 8:11 AM
To: Jamil Bou-Saab, P.E.; A G Kenicer;
Cc: K. W. Nasser; G. Matar; Nabil Matar; Samih Baakllini (; George Moujaes; Riad Khunieser; Municipality
Subject: RE: From Shweir Waste Water Mess to 2, 5, 10, 15 and 20 year Master Plan

Dear Anwar/Jamil and all;

 Good morning to you all, and thanks Anwar for including me on the list. FYI I have been very busy and disconnected from Shweir news for a very long time. I do work for the City of Austin Water and Wastewater Engineering Department and not in Public Works and planning. However I do concur with Jamil and his recommendations as a good start to gather in depth information and start the process. I will be happy to help in any way that is appropriate and might add value.

I salute you all for keeping the imagination and dream alive. Let us hope that commitments from the right people for the right tasks and the right reasons remain for the long haul along with the dollars to make it happen.

Good luck and stay in touch.


“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift”

From: Jamil Bou-Saab, P.E. []
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 10:39 AM
To: 'A G Kenicer';
Cc: 'K. W. Nasser'; 'G. Matar'; 'Nabil Matar'; 'Samih Baakllini ('; Baaklini, Suheil; 'George Moujaes'; 'Riad Khunieser'; 'Municipality'
Subject: RE: From Shweir Waste Water Mess to 2, 5, 10, 15 and 20 year Master Plan

 Dear all,

Anwar great start as usual!  I would like to make brief recommendation as follows:

1-       Establishing Village commissions that should be appointed by our Municipal Government (with input)

1.1-       Establish Zoning and Planning Commission (up to 7 commissioners including a chairman)

1.2-       Establish Infrastructure Commission    (up to 7 commissioners including a chairman)

2.       The volunteer commissioners should be familiar or experts of the commission they will be serving on

3.       Objectives:  A year or so of research and analyses with recommendations of the findings and solutions for improvements.       

Ladies and gentlemen we The Shweir people built and still building communities all over the world we have talent beyond imaginations we can serve and improve our beloved Shweir.

Let us start  

Best regards,

Jamil Bou-Saab, P.E.

Vice President

505 North LaSalle Street
       401 Main St.                   
Suite 250                               Suite 930
Chicago, IL 60610                  Peoria, IL 61606

From: Habib Moujaes
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 12:42 AM
To: 'A G Kenicer'
Subject: RE: info on waste water

Dear Anwar

The information I gave you are not privilege to anyone. You can go ahead and publish it and I am ready for assistance in any way I can.

Unfortunately we do not have any Master plan or even small plans for out town.

Visionary people are a rare commodity these days, especially when you are faced with a slow and somewhat corrupt system of government, where you have to beg officials to assist in public works projects.

It is a dilemma your are faced with when you try to think BIG. Our centralized government system leaves you no room to dream.

you wind up thinking small, and making insignificant improvements that takes a long time to impact the well being of your town.

A case in point, Few years ago, back when I was with the city counsel (Chawki Sawaya, Mayor), we faced a dilemma of having to spend an amount of money to repair the municipality lighting system. The cost of the project (Some $3000-4000) was beyond the authority of the mayor or the counsel!!! so we divided the project into two parts each to be spent in a fiscal month. Well we got the job done.. A month ago, and four years later, I received a letter from the Centralized Inspection (Al Tafteesh al markazi) in it they said they found me guilty of breaking the law and fining me, with the rest of then city counsel men, $100 each!!

Just a reminder, city counsels do not earn a salary for their services..

As always you can count on me for any assistance needed.

Warm regards from Shweir



From: A G Kenicer
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 1:27 AM
To: fincorp @ beirut . com
Subject: RE: info on waste water

Dear Habib,

Thank you so very much for your explanation.

By identifying and acknowledging that there is a problem, at the very least, we can find a solution to correct it.

Granted the funds are not there now.  But if we work on a short and long term Master Plan, identify the critical elements of corrections needed for major infa-structure items, at least we are prepared and take steps to raise funds, as much from government and other possible matching funds and possibly by grants from caring Shweiries and other people the likes of the late Hariri… 

Without such Master Plan, we will be like a ship without a compass, lost at sea.

A couple of questions for you: 

1.  I respect your privacy. May I have your permission to post the information about the waste water?  Do you need to check w/Dr. Ghosn first?

2.  Do you know if there is a 2, 5, 10, 15 and 20 years Master Plan for Shweir?  

If so, how can we get a copy? 

If not, with Municipality’s blessings, would you consider heading a team with some of the engineers who volunteered to help in order to create such a plan?  This can be under the umbrella of Shweir Foundation. 

I welcome any advice you can share. 

Best regards,




From: Habib Moujaes
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 6:41 AM
To: 'A G Kenicer'
Subject: RE: info on waste water

Dear Anwar.

The sewage network of Dhour has 4 Outflows, 2 on Shweir side and 1 on the Zaroun and 1 on Bikfaya's sides.

All these outflows dump raw sewage into the open.

The waste treatment plant idea was to generate water for irrigation during the summer month and to clean up the open sewage discharges on the Shweir side.

The story of the waste treatment plant dates back to 1989 when the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) initiated a program of financial assistance to villages with projects in the agricultural sector, on the condition that a matching fund of equal value to be provided locally.

After we approached the agency with this project (Myself with the backing of Dr. Nabil Ghosen), we received a positive feedback from them and we initiated a study for the best location.

I prepared a study to use an abandoned sewage well (owned by the municipality) near the present HI-school in Shweir.

(I was not aware at the time that there was any plans for a school in that area. and since the well existed this represented a saving of $20,000 in construction cost.

After the initial estimate of $45,000 for the project and the approval of $22,500 gift from the CRS we started the final designs.

As the word got out about this project, Mrs. Rida Hammam informed us that the Hi-School was an active project and that area was OFF LIMIT.

We then started looking for an alternate site and discovered that the only one with possibilities was the current location of the plant.

We hit another road block, this land is owned by The St John Monastery (Dair Mar Youhanna) in Khinshara.

Dr. Nabil negotiated with the Monastery to allow us to use part of this land and in return they will benefit from the irrigation water for their land.

The work on the site started with the tank's foundation, we had to blast thru solid rocks and after a month (with unforeseen cost) we began building the tanks.

The money ran out and a grant of $10,000 By the late P.M. Harirri allowed us to finish all the concrete work.

We also had to run sewer lines to the plant (Also unforeseen in the preliminary budget). Again we ran out of money.

A local campaign generated some $3000 with which we where able to install the aeration Blower and the Piping.

What was needed was $15,000 worth of mechanical equipment (Sludge return pumps, chlorination system, Defrothing system, Catwalks, Fences, Gates, etc..) to get the plant fully operational.

Despite the shortage, we started the plant and placed it in partial operation. However since no defrothing system was installed a large foam mass developed (Because of excess detergents in the sewage water) and sludge buildup in the clarifier became excessive. I was then forced to shut the plant down.

We tried to get money from the Municipality, however the request was turned down on the basis that a large Sewage plant for Shweir, Khinshara, Jouar and Bteghrein was being studied for implementation by the Government. After waiting for a couple of years we tried numerous visits to local officials asking for funds to finish the station without any results.

A couple of further attempts where made with the minister of interior (Then Michel El Murr), again unfulfilled promises.

The plant was then shut down for good and lays Idle ever since.

The two sewage line feeding the station where later connected to a new line running down the river joining with the lines from Khinshara and Jouar.

This is a brief History of the sewage plant, a good Idea that never fully materialized because of lack of funds.


Habib K. Moujaes

From: A G Kenicer
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 9:21 AM
To: Habib Moujaes
Subject: info on waste water

Dear Habib,

Thanks again for your insightful information about background of the new factory.

I am now puzzled by something and wondered if you can help.

On several occasions I asked about update and progress on the waste water mess.

So far I have been unable to get any information about the subject.

Can you please enlighten us as to what is going on about this mess?   

If you prefer to remain anonymous, I respect that. 

Please tell us what can and should be done to fix this messy problem.

The longer anyone waits, the more damage and the higher the cost.

Best regards,



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Author Topic:   Are we on the right track?
George Matar
posted 02-27-2001 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
“If you want to fix the world, start at your house”. Now I don’t know if a wise philosopher said that, but if not then I’ll claim it. As I was reading the latest update on the New Bulletin Board and specifically reading The Webmaster article reciting all the resolutions we are hoping to accomplish to help restore our beloved town , they are great right?

I read the reply by Carmen Moujaes and was shocked, but not exactly surprised, to notice that what she has wrote is exactly what I observed in our town on my last visit (1995) to Dhour. Now could somebody tell me When is it going to get better?

In Carmen’s observation she stated that other towns she visited have been clean but not ours. Makes one wonder why these towns succeeded where Dhour has failed! Maybe Carmen pin pointed the problem. Should we re-evaluate what we are doing when we pushing projects like reforestation. You tell me “Are we treating the symptoms or should we treat the disease?” I'll leave it at that before I say something I might regret.

Here we are thousands of miles away trading ideas on how we should help improve the looks of the town, and there is hardly any input or response (excluding Habib Moujaes) from the people that are actually living there. We all better realize that our town Environmental and construction beauty has sadly vanished. And we should also realize that the fix is not a one time magical treatment, specially at this time and age. The recovery is going to be a hard one with a lot of sacrifices and commitment for continuous, daily, improvements involving everybody in the community, specially the people occupying the town.

It is easy to keep postponing, but the fact is, could Dhour Shweir afford to not act, and act now?
Now we have discussed these issues many times before in lost articles on the bulletin board. It is a concept that should always be kept in the forefront until the problem is totally fixed.

I am going to propose a couple of ideas for the Baladieh (existing or new) to adopt that will have almost an immediate impact on the town. These can be implemented immediately, this year. They are very inexpensive and very effective programs that will create healthy competition among our town's people to out do each other.

 For Commercial: Impose minimum standards on the appearance of the business, Give recognition Awards for the business that go beyond these standards. Different awards can be given, Cleanliness, Appearance, most improved, most attractive, etc.. A plaque can be given to the business that they can proudly display. Even a small brake in taxes would be beneficial to get this program going. Remember that these are the places that visitors see first.

 Residential: Each month between May and September, Give awards to the best landscaped home with a pretty sign planted in the yard saying something like “Yard of the Month”.

Now what about neglected business, or yards, well I say The Baladieh should fix it as it sees appropriate to bring it back to the minimum standard, and here's the good part...Bill the owner for the cost of the modification.

Here's another good one.. Cars found littering the streets or dumping garbage on the side of roads should be confiscated and the owner should pay a heavy fine AND clean his/her mess before the car can be returned.

Dhour can not honestly afford not to have programs like these. Isn't high time that Dhour Shweir come out of this stagnant phase that’s been hanging over our heads for decades?

We should NEVER FORGET that we were THE BEST OF THE BEST in LEBANON and we can be that proud again.


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posted 02-27-2001 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hilda     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
To me it is always a mystery that we do not get information from Shweir itself. I can't explain it. My understanding is the Baladieh is "bankrupt". The cost of living is so high that people who have some means would rather spend them on the bare necessities of daily life and beautifying the town is not one of those especially when one thinks of more necessary essentials.

The alarming thing to me is the failing to provide safe drinking water even in winter, when there usually is; and the possibility that that water be contaminated. The lack of Baladieh funds to meet basic needs for water,for instance, if true, is so sad. What can be next? a mal-functioning sewer system?

Addressing various concerns like that on this web page, may bring to light the various difficulties encountered by the Shweireh at home. Unless we hear it somehow we will be unable to know about it.

The silence of the shweirieh can mean so many things. It can be that things aren't as bad, or that we are too proud to talk about our needs, or some may think lets just forget the whole thing, we can't change a thing anyway.

My understanding is that internet access is also expensive and people using the net will not want to spend their time and money elaborating on their daily problems that haunt them choosing to try to forget for lack of ability to act....

Obtaining information as to the day to day lives of people there is essential. I for whatever I can do cannot extract it from anybody I know.

My final attempt at understanding the situation is to think that people have been living in hardship for too long to recognize the difference....Our wanting to help with little projects revives people's hopes and interest in the town. I wish we can use our collective talents a little more to avert disease outbreaks and draw attention to peoples health and safety as well.

Rabih Khoury as he comes back may be able to shed some light on the issues that we are all concerned about.

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posted 02-27-2001 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Excellent ideas George. We have 'Tidy Town' awards here that helped to improve the appearance of rural towns and reduce the littering problem. And the Mahajreen could also start the process by handing out certificates of recognition such as:
'Shweirieh bil Mahjar vote be the best......for 2001'. Or
'Shweirieh bil Majar commend......on efforts to........'
Not only would it open dialogue with residents but the process of looking for awardees would give some insight. It also expresses appreciation for hospitality and effort involved in the Eid. It may include a small cash prize, or presentation ceremony.

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posted 03-06-2001 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Shweir is writing to us! Yes, one by one! Jeremy Sawaya of Dhour Shweir has just signed the guest book (welcome, Jeremy). Before that we also have George Naim Rahbani, Najib Kneisser, Fadi Abel Ahad and Nijad Fouad Chalhoub in Shweir, and Sylva Awad in Dhour Shweir. Like I said, it just takes time, and great new computers.

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Elias Khonaisser
posted 03-10-2001 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
I think Shweir's problem is part of Lebanon's problem, if the Lebanese Government doesn't make decisions to enforce certain laws that would help the country shweir's case will be hopeless in my opinion.

example if the government doesn't fortify the police, give them spirit and teach them to force their respect upon people politely by not accepting briberies and that comes form better salaries and better police education and pride. there will always be briberies here in the states it exists but it should be taken to a bare minimum that way the police can do its job of circling the town and enforcing strong tickets to those who throw garbage out the streets, to those who speed (even though i was one of them when i was young :-)) enforce the building laws etc...

it is not true that baladieh is bankrupt and if so please we would like a statement showing us how much they received and how they were spent. we would like to see their budget, their planing, what priorities they gave to which sect in dhour??

in addition we all know the baladieh post of president and his members they were elcted to serve the people and i think they shoudl all donate thei salary to the treasury. the budget should be made public, studies should be made before the budget to determine priorities.

this site has become a museum of old pictures and family trees, why not make of the baladieh who is a ghost building from the inside, why not make it a museum for old pictures and family trees and promienet people shweir prides as their sons.

their are many people in shweir that are financially sound and that if proper planning is done and a good plan is presented are willing to invest, we cn invest as well if we know it is serious and the plan has been studied.

the deputies we elect run to us every 4 years, well maybe we shoud start from now putting a plan together and presenting it to them and say hey, we want this and this and this or the next election you are not going to see one vote from shweir.

eid el mughtaribin is great but has become boring, we need new ideas, things that bring us together for example we can put a large screen in dhour and i do mean a large screen and make an evening deicated to where we enter a chat room with all these people in dhour watching and intriduce ourselves online to them, we might meet our relatives they might see us. we can even do it via video where we can see them and they can see us. imagine if i were there and i meet anwar online and see it would be nice to get to know my relatives whom i never knew i had, it is nice to hear a story told by george online and make all these people standing in saha laugh and remeber.

this will make them remember what a great town they live in and give them the feeling of someone who has been far away and that is yearning form his town.

make them interested more in computers and that way they will need to buy them and we can avance technology in our town.

maybe we can buy several computers and place them in the baladieh and then go buy the naahar archive since 1930 i think and make it availble in the baladieh for a small fee that helps maintain it, that way researchers can have a source in their hom town for research and internet access.

much much much more i can go on forever but you need peopel to listen back home.


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posted 03-10-2001 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GhassanZghaib     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote

I hear life is so hard back in Lebanon and in Shweir that I don't expect things to be better than what their at now.
People are having hard times making ends meet so we shouldn't expect them to care about how the yard looks or how clean is the water.
I know a lot of friends and relatives who lost their jobs and have no income whatsoever. How long can they hold? God knows. Poverty is hitting hard, corruption too. These 2 words go always together.
I also hear about prostitution as a way to make a living. I hope what I hear is wrong.
I can go on and on and on....

One thing I know is we should not expect too much. I'm not saying everybody should quit. No, I'm just saying we should be realistic.
We all got here ( because we love Shweir and care about it. This is the best thing that could happen to Shweir. Unfortunatly, we don't see the same enthousiasm back in Shweir. I have a lot of friends who are still back there and who could make Shweir a better village to live in if only they had the means and power to do it. But like I said before, they're having hard times feeding their family, not to mention that most of them cannot even dream of making a family.

Until the economy and the politics in Lebanon get to an acceptable level, we won't see or hear better things than we do now.

The best thing we can do is keep this website alive, exchange ideas, get to know each others, come up with projects, etc...

Sorry if I sounded too blue but this is the way I feel about Shweir and Lebanon right now.

PS: I have a crazy dream, and it's about taking every lebanese out of Lebanon for at least 3 weeks and returning him back there, and I assure you Lebanon will become the best country to live in. They will all get to appreciate what they have.

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posted 03-11-2001 02:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Ghassan, is there anything we can do to help those people that you mentioned that you know. Anything that would not seem like charity, but would be a gift from people who have been given more opportunities and see it as their sacred duty to help. Like a small grant to start a business that is needed in the village or buy equipment. The computer project was a good start. It was a gift not a loan. What else could be done next? We've all got families to support and can't do a lot but we could still try. Just knowing that we care about them must matter. It is a basic principle in international aid that it is better to give them a way of supporting themselves that will be self-sustaining than to impose projects that make them dependent on others. Maybe we should be growing people instead of trees.

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posted 03-11-2001 08:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hilda     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
I can't agree more with Ghassan and Klee. The problems faced by the people left behind are horrendous. We can't do a whole lot. We can't change the government or the country... we can just provide more of a moral support and some support of limited projects...

I think linking up with one of the charities may be helpful. Such a linkage can be formalized so that credit can be given to individuals and groups as they pursue a reasonable community based goals.

I heard that Mrs Rida Hammam was very influential in the finding and funding of the shweir high school, lobbying government agencies and dignitaries for the cause... She seems to be a very dynamic lady and supporting her group/ charity organization may be helpful.

Lots of work is needed. Resources are needed and community cohesiveness and leadership is also needed...We, from afar, can only do so much...or so little in this case...

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posted 03-11-2001 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
On the topic of funding, while I was searching the word Shweir, I came across an item on Naseeb Michael Saliba born November 3 1914, son of Michael and Maleki Saliba of Dhour el-Shweir and Shreen, who was living in USA:
"Mr. Saliba founded N.M. Saliba Company, a General Engineering Construction firm in 1944. He became one of the largest heavy construction contractors throughout the 1940's and 1950's. He was retired during the 1960's. In 1970, he got back into the business with the formation of Tutor-Saliba Corporation. Today Tutor-Saliba stands among the world's largest contractors with 1998 revenues over $800 million.
Mr. and Mrs. Saliba are large benefactors for many charitable organizations throughout the United States and Lebanon contributing over $30 million in the last fifteen years to these organizations. Mr. Saliba has received numerous awards for his philanthropic efforts including the Antonian Gold Medal from the Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America, (the highest honor that can be awarded to someone) and the Congressional Ellis Island Medal of Honor award".
Does anyone know if he is still alive, or if he ever funded any philanthropic projects in his family home town of Dhour El Shweir?
I found it at

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Elias Khonaisser
posted 03-11-2001 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Dr Klee and Hilda and Ghassan,

What Ghassan Said is very very true and is an interpretation of the sad situation but again as i said before and as Ghassan Said as well, Shweir's problem is part of LEbanon's problem.

Assuming we were able to get them a loan as you suggested Dr. Klee and helped them open a business.

first who will we give the loan to since there are more peopel in need then there are people not in need.

second with the economy so bad who will buy from them or who will be their clientele?? people from shweir or beirut or or or right?? ma these are the same people who are not finding jobs who can't feed their families thus no spending thus the business goes down.

i also hate to be pesimistic but this is the fact back home.

another example is they did what is known as the month of Shopping in Lebanon in Februray and they made discounts at some places up to 70% but because there was no tourists or foreign peple to buy it was a disaster no business.

Ghassan is form the Zgheib family let me give you an example that just rang a bell. some members of the Zghaib family are Class A painters i really do mean professionals i know based on past experiences, however they only find jobs or contracts inside Dhour or through friends that recommend them, why?? simple cause you have Syrians or Egyptians or or that will do for much much much less, please do not get me wrong i am not attacking the Syrians this is a fact though.

why can the foreigners do it for less?? caue they live in abandonned buildings, the cost of living in thier countries are cheaper then in ours, they are not taxed etc etc

this is why the economy is slow, not the only reason of course but a big factor.

Hilda mentioned Rida Hemem, an excellent lady, brilliant and very active and in my opinion that is the best hing we can help out her organization and that way we reach some people that are really really needy cause again Shweir's problem is part of Lebanon's problem.

i have a best frined in Lebanon Assaad Sawaya who runs his father;s store, his father is old and the business is not that great anymore and to make things worst this guy is being drafted into military service so he will have to leave for a year forcing his ill father to go work again, and if they were making money you would say its ok they have to resist but inspite of this guy's illness you add heartache also for seeing thie business not generate money.

we need to act upon our deputies and force them to tke responsibility in the parliment raise these issues ad find solutions for the country or else why do we need them. we cn write to a great deal of them who have internet sites or even we can sign petitiions and have the mukhtar deliver it.

what do you guys think??


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posted 03-11-2001 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hilda     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote

It seems you do have a recent experience in being in Lebanon and can see the situation from the residents' perspectives as well as our immigrant perspective...allow me to vote you into the family of shwier bil mahjar and get things moving in a positive productive way to facilitate aid/help to get to the deserving people...If that takes letter writing and signing so be it, if it takes support of local initiatives that will do too. It just feels right to try to help out...
Maybe working all together will help...

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Waleed Moujaes
posted 03-11-2001 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Waleed Moujaes     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Hi Elias, Hilda, Klee, Ghassan and everybody...

Elias, I think I remember you. I don't know if you know me. You are now in Chicago!! That's great, I live in Columbus, Ohio and I fly into Chicago few times every year. We'll try to meet one day.

To return to our subject, I left Lebanon in 1996. During the last 12 years in Lebanon ( from 1984 - I was 12 years old - until the last day) I helped almost every organization in our town, from the Scouts, Volleyball club, Music, Iss3af wa khdamat, environment,... A lot of people used to fight us, not because of bad intentions, but lack of education!!! In addition to the bad economic, social and political situation in Lebanon, lack of education is the biggest problem that Shweir faces these days. Yes, the new generation go to school, then universities,... - thanks to parents who even cut their food rations for them to give their children a better education. That's why, we now have a group ( between 18-25 years old) who are well educated and love to serve their village. They are trying their best, but unfortunately there is nobody to support them. Our only option is to "ADOPT" those guys. What I mean by that is to try to establish contacts with them, give them advise, organize them, and let them implement small projects with our support. Forget about the baladieh, deputies,... WHO WILL ASK WHO WHEN EVERYBODY IS CORRUPT, AND DO NOT CARE EXCEPT HOW TO INCREASE THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS, OR HELP THEIR GANGS!!!

Eid al Moughtaribeen this year is our best chance for all Shweiryieh to know about us. Let us concentrate on it. Although the baladieh is the one who organizes it, I don't have hope in them. We need to find someone to represent us from now until then. There is one, so let's start communicating with him to get his feedback. What do you think Moukhtar?


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posted 03-11-2001 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
This is a great idea Walid. Your teamwork experience and keen ability to contribute shows up in everything you write. Keep up the good ideas. Scouts to the rescue!

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Nabil E. Matar
posted 03-11-2001 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote

I read many excellent ideas especially from you Mukhtar, Anwar, Hilda , Miss Carmen
Moujaes and many others, which suggested that some thing must be done to improve
the look of our beautiful town . I must add that if we implemented these inexpensive
suggestions to bring back the natural beauty to our town we could also attract tourist
(msayfeen) to come back and spend the summer.
What I am leading too is that improving the look of our town could also improve the
economy, therefore this should be a top priority of every Shweiry especially the
hometown folks because we could all benefit.
You see, as far as I can remember, the tradition and the dream of every Shweiry is to
travel all over the world, work hard while they are young and save enough money.
Hoping that one day he/she could come back home and built house or store to be use
as his/her social security plan and live his old age with dignity.

Every year since 1993 I spend my vacation in Dhour Shweir and every year I noticed
The Safiyeh in Dhour lasted only eight days during Eid Al Mughtaribeen then after the
Eid, Dhour Shweir become a ghost town. I always wonder what could be done to make
our town be alive again like what used to be during my childhood. During those good old
summer days Dhour Shweir was the town that never sleep, Casino Nusser, Casino
Hawie, 13 hotels, Salwa Café, Surk Café many restaurant, and night clubs, two
Volleyball clubs three tennis courts, three movie theaters and all kind of stores. Now, all
of these are gone.
I hate to draw this gloom picture but this is the reality of our town and some thing
must be done to revive our beloved Dhour Shweir.
I know that the Shweirieh are proud, smart and stubborn people and will refuse to let
our beautiful town stop being 3aroos Al Masayif.
So my friends let us continue working together mughtaribeeen and home folks to do
what ever it takes to bring the life back to our town and sing with Zaki Naseef (Raji3
raji3 tit’ummar day3itni)

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posted 03-11-2001 08:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hilda     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote

I tried to get more information about the Shweirie philanthropist. I did not find any more info than you provided. It would be neat if we were able to write a grant for some projects and ask for funding from some foundation...

However, your site allowed me to search for members of Sawaya, Touma families. Now I know that touma is a big family and there are palestinian Toumas, Toumas from Zahle and Shweir. But there were 392 members in the US...I have not heard of Sawaya other than from Dhour...does anybody know of them...

I suggest you click on and find missing relatives ad family members...just like Klee did!

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posted 03-11-2001 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Using the 'google' search engine, I found an article about Naseeb Michael Saliba with a photo of him receiving the Ellis Island Medal at
"Mr. and Mrs. Saliba's philanthropic contributions have allowed them to be Benefactors for many charitable organizations throughout the United States and Lebanon including Pepperdine University, University of Southern California, St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, CA, Desert Hospital in Palm Desert, CA. St. Jude and the Balamund University in Lebanon. Mr. Saliba is a Trustee for many organizations including the Antiacion Orthodox Church of North America where he has received the Antonian Gold Medal, the highest award that can be bestowed upon laymen by the Church.
Today Mr. Saliba enjoys his time with his many charitable commitments throughout the United States and is Chairman of the Board of his son's construction and engineering firm, Saliba Corporation".
The article also says he was born in Ozark Alabama and sadly his wife died in 1993. According to another web-page he was still alive at the end of 1999 and living in Encino California.
He knows what it is like to start with nothing and work hard; he is quoted as saying:
"So I began with an 11-year-old Ford sedan which doubled as a truck, $1500 in savings, the idea of being a contractor and a first job that wasn't as simple as it looked" and this website says that the Saliba Corporation of which he is Chairman of the Board was started by his grandson, Trevor M. Saliba.
Because of his devotion to the Orthodox Church, he might be approached about funding welfare projects carried out under the auspices of the Orthodox Church in Shweir or associated with Balamund University.

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posted 03-12-2001 02:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Webmaster     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Hello to all,

Thank You! This topic and discussion has been one of the most enlightning and rewarding exchanges on

Granted, we do not have the magic formula to solve all of Shweir problems. And we do not expect to correct them in a month, a year or even several years. However, we need to make as many positive steps in order to reverse that downward spiral that has taken its toll on the country and the town compounded by the ills and trajedies of war which caused limited education, pesimism, distrust, corruption,lack of income, lack of opportunities and low self esteem just to name a few. How sad that our people have been so subjected to that kind of negative influences for so long. I would not be surprised that even when someone tries to do some thing good for them, they would treat it with great suspicion and mistrust. Can you imagine the trauma to the psyche of anyone who has been subjected to that kind of influence, let alone a town or even a country?

Reading your comments, I could not help noting so many great observations and ideas that each of you has contributed.

Yes, most of them in Shweir have fallen on hard economic time. That means most of them would have plenty of time to spare.

What if we can incorporate as many of your great suggestions and ideas about beautifying and improving our town with the help of as many able bodied people. We can arrange to provide the flowers, trees, hot dogs, music, garbage bags and paint from donations and other creative eCommerce efforts. But at least, we need to connect with as many people from Shweir by doing these projects shoulder to shoulder and build relationships with them.

We can conduct workshops on various topics by volunteers who have good experience about a subject that can be helpful to them.

Our al Mukhtaar has a vision of facilitating the creation of cottage industries that will eventually help Shweir and its people become self sufficient year round. What if one family specializes in canning fruits, make soap, knit sweaters or make many other things, put on each product a nice label with a Shweir picture that says "Made in Shweir by _______ family".

With the help of the internet, I think we can market these products in Lebanon and througout the world. Knowing that the people of Shweir take pride in making quality items,
they will make excellent gifts.

Just like Nabil said: Let's start to make a dent in beautifying the town.

Now that so many of us caring Shweirieh are communicating and mobilizing our efforts, I think that we are going to make a big dent.

With the knowledge we are sharing, we are learning from one another. Beautifying the town is one item on the agenda... other examples include meeting with officials of the Baladieh, the two societies "Al Jam3iehyat", and now I can add another item that Elias mentioned ... to visit Asaad Sawaya and his father and see how we can help in his store... organizing, marketing, feature on of some specialty they may have.

Dr. Klee, Your suggestion and research about international assistance is fantastic. When we are successful in connecting with those philanthropists or foundations that identify with Shweir and its noble objectives, they can give it the boost it desperately needs. We need to do our homework to facilitate such endeavor and be prepared to act upon such opportunities wisely and responsibly.

With all the discussions over the past few months, a lot of the Mughtaribeen who will visit Shweir (led by al Mukhtaar and his Texas size "Raffesh") are looking forward to rolling up their sleeves and go at it to make a difference.

What we need to do now, is make an agenda of the action items that need to be taken from now until at least the end of the year in order to achieve the maximum or our goals.

I am tempted to start one now, but I need some sleep.

Good night.


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Elias Khonaisser
posted 03-12-2001 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Dear Waleed,

i am sure that when i see i will remember you also, next time you are in Chicago look me up would love to meet you that is if i am still in Chicago because i am kind of starting to hate the weather here, might be moving to Arizona this summer but it doesn't matter we will stay in touch and if i am in chicago when you are here i would love to meet you.


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Author Topic:   Virtual or Achievable Reality
George Matar
posted 03-20-2001 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Lets take this scenario!! Read on but don’t answer until you close your eyes and see what comes to your vision / mind, then Answer it if you wish.

It is early in the morning in the middle of the winter. It is cold, possibly 3 ft of snow piled up the night before, but you need not worry about the roads to the capital being closed. The Baldaieh had one or two snowplows keeping the roads clear. The Children are still sleeping, you need not worry about the Sobia, because the renovated house you are living in has been equipped by a central heater (Electrical or Mazoot fired heater depending on the house). The City free van pool will be picking you up in front of your home in half an hour to take you to work, it is not exactly free but it is included in your house payment, which is much less than a small apartment in Beirut.
No need to worry about the spouse and children, Your spouse will be able to get the kids off to school then head to open the “Gift Shop” in the New shopping center.
Tonight will be very special because Zayna will be competing in swimming while Fadi’s volleyball team is playing against Brumana High School in the covered Gymnasium. Both the heated swimming pool and the covered court are located in the “City Recreational Center”. And you should not forget that you and several parents volunteered to operate the concession stand tonight. After all the proceeds will go to the School Library Fund. The center was such a great addition to the town since it hosts all kinds of activities through out the Year. It contains a covered swimming pool, a weight room, two volleyball courts that can be used for basketball or indoor soccer. This is in addition to the 4 meeting rooms that are used for babysitting during the weekday. The membership cost is cheap compared to what the family gets out of it, and since it is included with the house payment, it is worth it.
After the Game the whole family will be heading to the Khoury Family restaurant, to make the Day complete.

You just can’t wait for the spring and the summer. In the spring the kids will start practicing for the soccer (football) season, and of coarse you are coaching. The village has three fields to cover inter village play as well as playing teams from nearby villages.
Both Fadi and Zayna got part time jobs Fadi, at the movie theatre and Zayna is a lifeguard at the Recreational Center swimming pool. You really don’t need to worry about the kids they have their schedule filled.
Aren’t you glad you decided to move to Dhour Shweir and make it your hometown? This dynamic town has it all. It has made great strides in a successful come back to modernize the past decade. The forests are all green again, the plentyful existing Housing has improved so much, every house has a road leading to it and equipped to function year round. Shops, restaurants, and movie theatres are open year round too. Since all the homes are occupied, the opportunity to start a small business is so lucrative, and the businesses that existed are flourishing.
The village has the best Schools in Lebanon and soon to have a University Branch. Parks and Activities designed to keep you and your fit and playing together. A small but good Hospital, and an retirement home all packaged on the most beautiful spot in the country. All this and considering the relative cost vs. living in the capital!! Now why would you want to live anywhere else?

Now close your eyes and imagine it, is it Virtual Reality or Potentially Achievable Reality? I’d like to think it’s the later, we know it is not impossible.

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posted 03-20-2001 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Webmaster     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Ya Mukhtaar,

Major achievements are the results of bold and clear vision, conviction and dedication.

Had Shweir continued along the path and momentum of its glory days... there is no question that your vision would be more of a reality.

Yes it is still achievable especially with the great momentum that Shweirieh are responding to this worthy cause and effort.


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posted 03-20-2001 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
It sounds great and it is achievable. Other small villages in Lebanon are doing it. See the website for Hammana village at where they describe the redevelopment occurring. For example, how they now pay council rates to the Baladieh and the effort that it took to make that happen. Then there is the Agricultural Cooperative which arose in 1988 because it was "deemed necessary to encourage the revival of agriculture as an income generating activity and as a cultural heritage of the village". "The cooperative, with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture, was able to provide at nominal price beehives, fertilizers and insecticides...saplings and other ornamental trees and useful seeds for vegetables". And the Handicraft Cooperative of the Upper Metin established in 1993, which "comprises associations and individuals from 27 villages in Upper Metin. Each summer a two-month marketing exhibition is held in Hammana, where embroidery, lace, straw baskets and other products are sold. In 1998 the cooperative with the help of the Pontifical Mission set up a workshop to help village women who are seeking employment. As a first step the cooperative is planning to manufacture school uniforms". It IS achievable.

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posted 03-20-2001 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hilda     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Very revealing vision by the Mukhtar coupled with a readily available example (with a link) provided by the research of Dr Klee. Now why aren't the Shweiries back home that organized?

There must be a good reason lurking somewhere...

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Waleed Moujaes
posted 03-21-2001 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Waleed Moujaes     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Hammana's mayor, or ex-mayor, Najib Abou Haydar was from the only Orthodox family in that town. 90% of the people there are Maronites, 9.99% are Druze and 0.01% are the Abou Haydar family. With all the war and sectarian violence that happened in that area, no one was hurt, and no home was robbed, and MOST IMPORTANT, no one dared to cut a tree or build illegally. Believe it or not, I went to Hammana in 1992, 2 years after the war ended. I couldn't believe that this village is still there. Can somebody answer my question: why??? I have one answer and I'll bluntly say it( execuse my French!!!): He and his team have "balls".

Ya mukhtar, you idea, although needs a lot of will, money and resources is not impossible!!! It needs a team, and especially a leader (mayor) who TRULY loves Shweir, wants to work for Shweir - not his pocket, family or friends - and knows what he wants.

Waleed S. Moujaes

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Fr Dcn George
posted 03-21-2001 10:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fr Dcn George     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Well said by all...

To achieve needs change in attitude and what we do. If we keep doing what we are used to do we can't expect diffrent results.

So, how are we going to change the man? How are we going to become participants in the Democratic process rathar than spectators? The answer should come from Shweir first and then we can rally to support.

Is there some one close to the fire who wants the change? Then it's good! If we got 10 people, then the solution is at hand.

Until then lets' keep working on the fire until it lights up and creates warmth.


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George Matar
posted 03-22-2001 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the replies, all your conclusions are exactly what I have aimed to get from you on this article others that I wrote.
Let us be honest, Its not the town, or the location, we have the best there. The Key is the people and their willingness to change, and it must be within the village itself. Change is not going to come until a change of attitude and a conviction to follow through is born. What the town need is a good mix of people that are dynamic, proactive, progressive, creative, caring, unselfish, diplomatic, politically savvy, know where the resources are and know how to go after them. And, here’s the hard one, Team players that no matter what the situation is they can reach a consensus for the benefit of the village.
Wishful thinking Huh?
I am afraid we might not have the right combination / mix of people in power at this time or at least they are not showing it, hopefully it will change and soon.
Based on what I have been noticing the past year, and it saddens me a lot to say that we have people with these qualities but most are outside Dhour Shweir.
I know there are a lot of hard working people in Dhour Shweir, what I am afraid of is these people are spending their energy pushing,unknowingly, in the wrong direction.
Dhour Shweir Have some terrific resources scattered around the world, and based on the people that are in constant contact with the I can bet they will help bring many new and practical Ideas for the village to adopt. All they have to do is ask, Isn't that why we created this web-site. We have on several occasions tried to connect with the Baladieh to no avail. Here’s their chance to reach all the Shweirieh across the Globe, yet they apt to stay silent. Silence must be a trait in our village that makes me and others that I know frustrated. I am currently experiencing that from the village educational institutes.

I cannot believe that the Baladieh does not know about their town Web-page. I assure you they do.
Now here the confirmation to what I was saying. Don’t you think that they should have by now invested in a computer and an Internet connection, if neither existed, to reach all of their people? I would have, and I am sure you would too. I would have asked for a special page on to bring the village news to all the mughtaribeen, and would write in it everyday. Wouldn’t that be the best calling card for all the village resources (mughtaribeen) and really make them feel they belong?

The right Mix of PEOPLE, that’s what Dhour Shweir Needs.



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Author Topic:   Shweir's Master Plan - Part I
George Matar
posted 08-28-2001 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Yes, it is true Dhour Shweir is not recovering from the war as fast as the rest of the country, but then again that might be good. You see places like Mazraat Yashou3 or al Mansourieh where they were stupidly and sadly converted into concrete farms with no character. There are many other places like that. In simple terms none have a long term plan for their village, so they build chaotically. The Irony of it all is most of the buildings are vacant, and those that are not, the residents are exposed to high air and noise pollution from motor vehicles. Overbuilding is counter productive and considered backwards progress.

There are many Lebanese that seems to have this love affair of living or building on the main roads. so they build their houses or shops exactly on the main road, sometimes so close to the road that you have to check for traffic before you step out.

Shweir is really in a great position at this time to learn from other towns’ mistakes to shape up our village, so that when the right time comes Shweir will be the village everybody looks up to and fancy to move into.

I am planning to write a series of posting on the subject addressing several issues. Hopefully between all of us, Globally, we can come out with some sound recommendations / suggestions that will help establish guidelines for a MASTER PLAN to aid the PROPER ESTABLISHMENTS attract the right investors to help mold our village into a Model One.

How we get there at this time is not important, lets just concentrate for a while on being imaginative and creative. How would you like to see Shweir in 10, 20 30, 50 years from now?

Maybe all this might end up being wishful thinking, but, go ahead and entertain me with your opinion, surely you have one.

Are you ready to play? Here are the rules

 All your input will have to be on the Bulletin Board, this way we can track all comments
 All entries are debatable
 Think long term
 Think out of the box, think bold use your imagination, outrageous sometimes is what we need.
 If patching the roads is what you think then this exercise is not for you, we are talking major things
 Financial, if you have investors in mind hold on to them, lets see what we need to do first

Now, we need a theme for the village so we can build around it…… Here we Go.

Part I.

The Theme: The Perfect Village

George’s Opinion: Shweir should be rebuild as an exclusive village designed in harmony with nature to provide all the modern conveniences, comforts and pleasures of all people residing in it. Meaning and in no particular order:
Parks, Playgrounds, Shopping centers, Entertainment, Reduced car congestion, Reduced traffic in the heart of the town, Car Pool Service, Cleaner streets, Strong police department, better zoning and strict building codes. Schools, Library, clinic / hospital etc.., college branch, sports facilities, health clubs, concert hall; Sufficient water, Good Water, Garbage pick up, Recycling, and a good reliable infrastructure.

Is this a good theme? Do you have a better one?

Next posting Part II will be a bold plan that will address: Main Roads, Shopping centers, entertainment and parking garages.

Please I don't want to hear "lets address the more important ones first" that will come later.

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Elias Khonaisser
posted 08-28-2001 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote

lets all dream together shall we and remember everything starts with a dream, a vision it might look like a long shot but we will all do our best to make that drema a reality.

my theme, actually i have 2 of them:
1- there was a dream... it was Shweir
2- shweir: an on going Vision

i think we should think about how we want to position Shweir, what we plan for shweir will depend mostly on what we really want to achieve. do we want to position shweir to play its traditional role of summer spot for the people of Lebanon and the arab world and the world?? do we want more form shweir like do we want to industrialize shweir?? or maybe make shwier the silicone valley of Lebanon? or maybe agriculture or just basic commercial.

this is important because if we are thinking long term the question of education comes in how will we educate shweir how will we convince the shweiris of our grand plan and why we think it is beneficial for them to puruse this dream or this vision.

i would like to see Shweir as a modern village that is self sufficient economically and to achieve that economic independance Shweir needs to specialize in something.

there were talks when i was there that the university of balamand which is owned by the orthodox church would open a branch in the land under MAR Elias i think we need to concentrate on that happeneing casue if that happens shwier is in a different class altogether, the university will require dorms, will require shopping malls will require theaters restaurants health clubs forms of entertainment companies would want to open near universities like automotive companies would wnat to open near the univeristies, record shops etc... etc...

and once the baladieh has money in it from taxes and stuff it would then be our duty to educate the people on the reasons for electing this person instead of that not becaus ethis person is my uncle i will vote for him but he can't spell for example. we will elect competant people and we will demand to know how the money is spent and where and we will judge them accordingly.

once moeny in the baladieh is available we can repair the roads to industry standards with the right mix of asphalt not one that will be worst than the original by that afternoon. we would have a well studied tax plan that will provide the citizens of shwier with clean streets we might even provide garbage dumpos where by the baladieh actually has people that drive around shweir every tuesday and saturday or whatever 2 days cleaning the garbage, we would provide clean water in return for this tax, better education with more facilities. we can do endless things we can sponsor children in school where by would pay for all their expenses provided they need the money and they deserve it we can sponsor kids yearly and put them through college.

i have a lot more ideas i hope i am not asking for too much.


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George Matar
posted 08-28-2001 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Elias you are on the right track, but let us focus a little on the theme for now. Should we have Shweir stay as an exclusive resort type village with plenty of scenary and limited buildings, or convert it into a commercialized housing yard. I am picking the first, once we agree on a them we'll start addressing other issues to make them fit together. That my friend would be part II, III, IV, etc.... I already told you what part II will address

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posted 08-28-2001 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hilda     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Think pristine mountain resort type village.

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posted 08-28-2001 07:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Part of the development will be driven by 'needs'. Being outside, we can't impose the direction of development on the village. It seems from what has been said, that there are two needs developing among those who are living in the area:
1. the need for the elderly citizen's home. This was mentioned months ago as a major project there. Obviously, those residents committed to stay long-term become elderly and need supported-residential-care. It is important for family cohesion to keep them in the area.
2. the need for higher education facilities. If Balamund University wishes to build a higher education facility there, that is great news. One assumes that it educates year-round and not seasonally due to the snow. Also one assumes that it is in addition to the monastery, not instead of it. Shweir has a very long history of good schooling, set up in association with churches or missions; the standard of education in Shweir was very high even in the mid-19th century, for both girls and boys. The provision of tertiary education near Shweir in the Metn would be an excellent planning decision. Not only does it mean that young adults might remain or board in the village during their education, if it becomes a large institution then it brings in many other young adults for the short-term (several years) revitalising the Metn. It also makes good use of the church's property.
There also needs to be some opportunities for permanent middle-aged residents and families of the village. Hopefully, the support facilities for these institutions such as groceries, pharmacies, stores, internet cafes and professional services will be developed by those astute enough to recognise the opportunity.
With regard to the physical rebuilding of Shweir, I would dearly love to see the "heritage" character of the village redeveloped: the beautiful stone buildings for which the masons of Shweir were famous. There should be encouragement to build in this form. In the Old City of Jerusalem, one must build with limestone by law; that is why the city has a unique appearance. Even brand new apartments are built from the stone which becomes smooth and shiny with wear, and then looks like marble. It also has a pleasant warm golden or white GLOW. To preserve the heritage character of Shweir it would need the baladieh and residents to co-operate towards this aim, with planning control, financial encouragement or professional building guidance. It also requires money to build or re-build a home, developers could building apartments for students or couples. One must get the planning rules in place before a concrete jungle develops as it has in other places in the middle east. I find those concrete buildings and apartment blocks VERY UGLY and unappealing too. Some design controls should be developed for the area. Hopefully the educational institution will be built in harmony with the style of Mar Elias not the modern architecture of newer buildings at Balamund. If houses and stores adhered to this plan, the village would restore its beauty and look attractive to those who visit. People would really want to live in such a beautiful village.
Environment and landscaping are a later problem. These are initial thoughts.

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Elias Khonaisser
posted 08-28-2001 11:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Dr. Klee,

great post but i would like to mention a few things maybe i will be hated for saying this but deep down i believe some might share my opinion.

house of the elderly to me is a big waste of money or actually money unwisely spent reason being is there is an elderly home in bickfaya which is minutes away from shweir why do we need one in the heart of shweir?? (please no politics on the bickfaya issue)

also the community in Lebanon is different than that in the western world most families refuse to put their parents or grand parents in elderly homes so to me it is a waste of money we can spend this money on more needed services.

i am all for helping the elderly and i am to support the idea if we didn't have a respectable one close by so why do we need it?? the one in bickfaya is half empty because of reasons stated earlier so why do we need one??

the remainder of your post sounds great.


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Elias Khonaisser
posted 08-29-2001 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
George, i second your opinion but as much as i adore the village type life we would have to incorporate some sort of modernization somewhere to drive people to Shweir maybe the idea of the university together with preserving the heritage would be best.

i know most of the people that built homes in shweir tried to preserve the village type art of building i know we did when we built our house we preserved the stone and the "armid etc...

so i am with yo all the way on the theme thing.


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posted 08-29-2001 03:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Good comments Elias. Maybe that explains why the elderly citizens' home hasn't been built yet. Whatever is being developed will enjoy the wheelchairs then!

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posted 08-29-2001 06:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hilda     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote

You have provided a very thoughtful plan for the town. It is a great blue print for how this town can be. I do agree that we do need our own retiremet home. And you are right to think of the intellectual tradition that shweir had and building on that...

My only hope is that people will see through your plan the merits of all of it and just strive to implement it. Then maybe one day you will go and see how your blue print from a distant place was so right on the mark and it did help the town and it was actually carried out..

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George Matar
posted 08-29-2001 07:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Wonderful thoughts, I wish we had more input but this sis a start. Klee all your thoughts are in place and will be addresses in upcoming parts.
I like Hilda's name of the theme: "Pristine mountain resort type village". It coincides with mine but she's more eloquent, And I like Klee comments on Building with Lime stone, the private sector is doing just that.
Elias comments on the Elderly home may or may not be valid at this time, but the wheels are turning on it, however we will address that also in upcoming parts.

We're almost heading towards Part II. Possibly this afternoon or tomorrow.

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Waleed Moujaes
posted 08-30-2001 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Waleed Moujaes     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
I totally agree with Elias about the Elderly House, especially after I heard about the budget: $4 millions!!! Guys, what is this for??? Is it the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong or Belagio in Las Vegas??? How many elderly people who need it will be in Shweir at any time, 100, ... out of who, at least 75% won't accept that their parents be sent to elderly houses. Who will manage it? We are Lebanese, not Westerners. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not offending anybody, but these are customs which will never disappear... I challenge anybody who reads SHWEIR.COM, or anybody on the committee for the Elderly House to say it bluntly that he/she agrees on sending their parents or grand parents to any Elderly House of any sort. According to the number ($4 millions), this might be an entertainment center where anybody including us, will be looking forward to going to, but this is not the time. Why should we pay this amount for our elderly when the young generation is leaving our town????!!!! If whoever is very optimistic about raising this amount of money, why don't you invest it in a productive program? For example, a hospital who everybody can benefit from, could be used from pregnancy (before birth) until the last day of any Shweiry's life.

Hope that we do not waste our time and money...

Waleed Shehadeh Moujaes




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Author Topic:   Shweir's Master Plan - Part II - The Center
George Matar
posted 08-29-2001 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Houston is such a dynamic city that does not know what the phrase “Can not be done” means. Other than being the home base for NASA . Houston, in the 60’s built what was known as the world’s 8th wonder, the Astrodome. What is so special about it? This baseball / American football stadium with astroturf, was built under a dome with a capacity to seat 55,000+ people to enjoy a game in an air-conditioned atmosphere. This year they are surpassing that. A new giant stadium to seat 80,000 people with a “Retractable Roof” so people can enjoy the games with or without direct sunlight depending on the climate.

Shweir can not afford to go that far, but my point is in the first sentence above.

Brumana, a town that is less than 10 Km southwest of Dhour Shweir is doing great, restaurants, sidewalk cafés, shopping etc.. It attracts investors and people from all over. I like Brumana, but we can do better. Same goes for Bikfaya. Brumana took the major road and built some nice restaurant across the street from each other, the view? What View, it does not exist.

Now Dhour Shweir, Close your eyes and picture this, scratch that. Read, then close your eyes or let your imagination flow while reading.

The topography of Dhour Shweir can allow us to do some great things without compromising the scenery.
Take a look at the front page picture of the Saha, we will be taking about the landscape to the left of the street from the Church forward.

The Giant Dhour Shweir Center (GDSC).

The landscape we are talking about has a sheer slope located between two parallel roads, an upper (which you see in the picture) previously known as Farris Mushriq Blvd. and a lower currently a dirt road. Here’s the proposal: A multi level center with the top level roof located at the same elevation as the upper road, all those that visited Dhour Shweir know that looking to the left there is a spectacular view of Sanin, arguably unequaled.
 The Roof will be a very wide sidewalk built with soft red and gray bricks to match the roofs of the villas in the town.
 Strategically located flowerbeds and benches for people to enjoy.
 Few sidewalk cafés with kitchens located on the first sub level.
 Stairs every 100 yards that lead to the lower levels
 2-3 ramps that will lead to a parking garage on the lowest level, with access from the lower road too.
 The guard railings at the end opposite from the road are located between arches made of lime stone reminiscing of the arches built by our forefathers. The same could be made to the side next to the road.
 A tiny amphitheater located between two sidewalk cafés for performs to entertain the people.

What’s under the roof, here is what an architect will drool over. The stretch from The Saha to the Fowar is long and can accommodate so many different businesses. Here what I imagine.

First Sub Level towards Sanin will be reserved for businesses that require a view, say restaurants, covered cafés, food courts etc…
The slope of the land would make it Idea for multi screen movie theaters, easily three. Add a multi level health spa with weight room and other exercise machines, a tempered swimming pool at the bottom level and 2-3 racquetball courts. A bookstore with a small reading area and coffee shop. And why not a Library?
And let’s not forget one of the most important additions…. The parking garage, possibly occupying most of bottom level.
The remainder will be stores of what ever you can think of stores scattered around aquariums ranging from clothing, shoes, art galleries, Gift shops, records and video stores, Hilwayat, Pharmacy, arts and crafts appliances, etc.. Can you see it???

So why a center like this?

First it will clean our main street and heart of the village that looks right now like the old Crantina district.
Second, it will give the summer rental an important point of interest and entertainment to come to our village AND it will give some of them reason to stay all year around (Yeah we’ll discuss schools later).
Third, it is covered so there is no reason not operate it year around (see second reason).
Forth it will take a huge load off the cars that currently are parked on the tiny sidewalks.
Fifth, it will free up spaces in other parts of the village to really do some beautification projects
Sixth, everything in one place
Seventh, it will bring constant revenues to the village.
Eighth, Keeping up with our theme I believe it is or will be built in Harmony with nature

What do you think? Good?
Technically, it can easily be done. Financially, multi investor will be needed. Real estate, if owners don’t get greedy maybe a fair settlement with possibly some shares in the complex might do it.

Your input or do you have

I skipped the Roads, so that will be Part III

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posted 08-29-2001 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
My initial reaction is that it sounds BIG. Very nice but maybe too big except for in ten years down the track. And power-hungry...where does the electricity come from in Shweir? We don't want the development to "turn off the lights of California" as they say. Also, are sub-levels (such as car parks) practical in a place that gets snow and water that will melt and run down there? Maybe it needs to have parking in an above-ground design.
Practically, the aim is to grow into such a centre in modules somehow, maybe as a shopping-village on the flat, adding new sections as the economy needs them and can support them. Great ideas though.

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George Matar
posted 08-30-2001 07:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Yes it is big, and yes it can be built in sections, I am sure that is probably what would happen... If completed in 10 years, it would be fantastic. Remember we are talking about long term ideas and how do we want the village to be like.
In my vision, I am reserving the top levels for businesses that require a view, the old village and Sanin are so visible from there.

Parking in lower levels makes a lot of sense due to the Lower road. Ice should not be a problem, it is covered parking. Up and Down ramps if designed well will have good drainage, worst case scenario, hot pipes could be imbedded in concrete to prevent freezing.
Electricity, is government controlled, and now the village have semi reliable diesel generators.

Technically it all can easily be done. Commercially, it makes a whole lot of sense, Economically, the village needs it.
Financially, That's the big monster. Hopefully somebody $$$$$ is reading this and see the potential in it.

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Author Topic: Development of the Ghwab!!!
Waleed Moujaes
Member # 17

posted 11-02-2001 03:33 PM      Profile for Waleed Moujaes     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was just chatting with our friend George Samaha in Shweir. Our topic was the environment and how we can improve our ghwab. I am sure he discussed this idea with George M, Anwar, Mike, Nabil AK,... Since nobody opened this subject, and we have been discussing some ideas to make money for the last few days, I feel it is the time to open it: "Development of the Ghwab".

The idea is simple, and it depends on the following:

1- Cleaning the Ghwab from all the andool, dead trees and haysh. Those could be crushed and pressed to be used in chimneys.
2- Cut the low oak branches and make charcoal which could be sold.
3- Harvest the pine nuts and sell them (after giving the owners a percentage).
4- Plant various kinds of plants, flowers. Distribute seeds of za3tar, as3een, lawanda,... and any other kind which attract bees. Having lots of bees will help the few existing orchards of apples, cherries,... to produce more fruits.
5- We'll have a great national park with a small investment.
6- We'll protect our ghwab from fires, diseases,... we'll have healthy plants.
7- It will be a good source of income.
8- The ghwab, as you may know or have heard, was full of water springs. Those could be dug again. There are lots of small valleys, and a dam, for example could be built in Ain Al Hanoot). It could be used to store water, and then pump it up to Burj Dahdooh for usage in the dry season of Sep, Oct and Nov.

Obstacles that I think about:

1- Someone in the baladieh counsil should be pro-active and, at least, read thsi article and adopt it.
2- 99% is private land.
Solution: The baladieh is the one who should take the initiative, and be involved legally to have the owner's approval. Whoever is not in Shweir anymore will never ask, and whoever is there, shouldn't have a problem since we will clean their lands, and they will have some pine nuts (if pine trees still exist in their lands).

3- A small investment to buy 2-3 machines for crushing the wood, hiring some labor, hiring a manager.

4- Media campain to explain the advantages.

In few years, the baladieh should lobby the government to buy all this land and transform it into a national park.

Some of you might think I am crazy, or dreaming. I agree, but honestly, and with open hearts, IS IT IMPOSSIBLE???? I personally, don't think so!!!


Posts: 306 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 11-03-2001 02:45 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

These are great ideas and you are right that in order for such worthwhile ideas to be implemented, we need the support and initiative of of our local municipality and a cohesive plan to keep such plan as an ongoing project...

I would like to add the following suggestion to your list... To add flowers in strategic areas along roads and alleyways and footpaths in Dhour, Shweir and Ain Al Sindyani something hardy that survives the winter snow like regular and trailing geraniums and seasonal or annuals to add color... that way, people can see them, enjoy them and note that there is a fresh look or a transformation taking place...

Along that effort, picking up of discarded rubbish by the roadways and pathways would be tremendous boost to the beautification and improvemetn of our environment...

Again, the key is our municipality...
As George mentioned in earlier communications, the community would have volunteers such as Keshafeh and SSSR and students to "adopt" some projects and we can have competition on who can make the best impact... What a wonderful and uplifting feeling that would give to our town the psyche of its people...


Posts: 508 | From: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 76

posted 11-04-2001 06:36 AM      Profile for Michael     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Aboul Wil,

Man ur definetly not crazy, a person who thinks like u is a Visionar. Al Ghuwab is the lungs of Dhour Shweir & that fire during 1986 war killed the most beautiful forest. By the way the pine seeds from AlGhwab are famous for its size and taste. Its a pitty no one care anymore. I reckon that 70% of the pines we planted have successfuly lived, lets continue with this aim and replant the ghwab over and over,... We spoke alot about conserving the land and call it protected like others in Lebanon; well u know hw our shwiereh think the moment u bring an issue like this up, it another WTC.

Good luck pal in ur trip to lebanon and lets plan the campign together

Posts: 6 | From: Saudi Arabia | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nabil E. Matar
Member # 11

posted 11-08-2001 05:38 PM      Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Every once in a while a good topic in The BB that benefit our home town goes unnoticed. This is one
of them. Thank you Walid for bringing a subject like that. My friend, you are not crazy nor you are
dreaming. In my book you are a great Shweiry with vision and NO YOUR VISION IS NOT
IMPOSSIBLE. All great thing in the worlds started with vision and your vision is very much
achievable. All what's needed is guys/girls like you working together as a team to make what is
impossible possible.
Sho Ya Shabab, furjona bra3itcon. No body has any thing to say about this subject. Ghassan, Elias
Habib, Hilda, Hana, Victoria, George, James, Lama, Isis, Klee, Gari and all the young Shweirieh back
home including you Elusive and Andre where are you, say some thing people

Posts: 566 | From: Groves, Texas USA | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 74

posted 11-08-2001 08:35 PM      Profile for elusive     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes! Whenever a tree is planted in any area in Lebanon, it makes the country a more enjoyable place to live.

I remember the days when I would drive from Beirut to Bikfaya daily and enjoy the beautiful scenery; but I was shocked when I went back 17 yrs. later to see what man has done to destroy all that beauty!

Now since I am not sure where Ghwab is (I may have an idea), although I am certain that I've left some footprints there, it is always a great idea to re-plant. Those pine trees are something to behold. Perhaps this area could also be made a protected area, along the line of Horj Ehden, if feasible.

Whatever you do, Shweiriyeh, don't let your beautiful village get cluttered with lots of concrete dwellings like what happened between Bikfaya and Zalqa, or Jounie where the once beautiful forest has virtually lost ground to haphazardly built houses!

Thanx Nabil for reviving this topic and encouraging people to write, Shweiris and non-Shweiris alike. Beautifying any village in Lebanon should not only be of interest to its regular inhabitants, but also to any Lebanese. After all, we are all in the same boat.

Posts: 102 | From: Herndon, VA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 10

posted 11-08-2001 09:17 PM      Profile for GhassanZghaib     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Guys, great ideas can only come from great minds and spirits.

I don't know what to add but if I was back in town and had a position of Mayor, School director, teacher, baladieh member, anyone I would organize a yearly campaign to plant trees. I'm sure this has been discussed in the BB, but the way I see it is we have to get the youth at schools and outside schools to participate. It should become a yearly event like the Emmigrants festival. The schools can organize a weekend camping in the place were trees could be planted, so can the SSNP and Scouts. The baladieh should work harder to get the attention of the government (buy the trees and have baladieh workers help plant them). The government should work harder on protecting the trees (strange but i really feel like I'm crazy now ).
When Marie was born, we received a coupon from an organization which allowed us to get a tree and plant it in the backyard. We got another tree when Caroline was born. These trees were donated by the municipality and an organization managed by volunteers took on charge the rest of the work. The person behind this idea is a LEBANESE WOMAN. If we're able to do such great things in here and elsewhere, I don't see why we couldn't do it back in Lebanon?

Amazing how I was able to write so much words and not once the word DIAPER was mentioned.

Posts: 584 | From: Laval, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 76

posted 11-09-2001 01:38 AM      Profile for Michael     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My favorite subject

Ya sheikh ghassan intersting to know that a lebanese woman is after that donation but wt a pitty the benefit is not for our country although indirectly the idea is smart and I would very much be glad if you could enrich us with more info concerning the proceedures like what kind of trees, who plants them after distribution, does the municipality takes care and checks them from time to time ?????? pls can u contact that lebanese lady ?

Talking about concrete, well its our people who have concrete minds for they can't forsee the future of our country, look whats happening in Ein Assis ??? & in Bikfaya, wo elissar... Building all over.

We once had a meeting with former minister of economy in Dhour Sameer Makidsi who lives close to Ain Assis , nice villa. He quotes saying Dhour Shweir's Assest is in its environment,,, ya shweireh lets intellect our people to invest in thier LANDS for what the use of winning the whole world and loosing our own lands... " Gosh I can't get a grip without being philosophical "


Posts: 6 | From: Saudi Arabia | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nabil E. Matar
Member # 11

posted 11-09-2001 07:08 AM      Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Elusive and Ghassan, thanks for responding fast to my massage. Now how about the rest of guys/girls.
Posts: 566 | From: Groves, Texas USA | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 11-09-2001 09:04 AM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Ghwab Ya Elusive is that sloped land you see when you stand at the inpiration point and you look towards Ain Sindiyani and you sight moves to the right towards Dhour Shweir. It is the inspiration behind the inspiration Point.
This is a dear subject to all of our hearts and if we loose the Ghwab we basically loose the Image we are trying so Hard to revive. By all means we need to make it our top priority. However all that we are doing right now is nothing more than echo until somebody with authority begin to join our dialogue. I thought by now, and after our trip to Shweir that the baladieh will establish some kind og contact with us, but unfortunately...we are at Zero communication, when will this end ya Mayor? Or shall I say start?.

Anyway, just to plant trees in the Ghwab is not enough, we need a better plan and I think I have one. I discussed it with Anwar last August, I believe this will be a focal point for Shweir and will additionally bring in LOT$$ of Revenues too.

I started a series of visionary articles on rebuilding Shweir (on the Mukhtar's corner)which I stopped after the Sept. 11 tragedy. The Development of Ghwab was going to be Part IV.

I shall get back to the series and make the Ghwab as the next Part. And yes it will be open for discussions. I honestly believe timing is everything on this, so here is My dilemma, I just want to know if I propose the Idea will Elusive or Andre join in with us or could they pass the idea to their villages!?! Of coarse I can do this by email to a selective few... Your thoughts on this.

Posts: 1270 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
andre aquilar
Member # 78

posted 11-09-2001 03:09 PM      Profile for andre aquilar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
O.K. Messrs Matar, here is what I think :
Mr Moujaes' post "Development of El-Ghwab" is wonderful.
It would be helpful if the obstacles could be addressed first,provided these can be resolved, then when and how the Ghwab can be cleand up and beautified will become an easy task.
I will take the obstacles in the order that Mr Moujaes has tabulated them :
1- From my experience, the only way to get an 'official body' to act is if you take action ahead of it, as, when they see that things are starting to move they will jump on the band wagon and will try their utmost to help,probably for the credit it might beget, and that is fine, this happens worldwide..! after all we want to eat the pinenuts not kill the Natour..!

2- The 99% private ownership is by far the biggest hurdle..But it can be tackled, if a legal way could be found to allay the owners fears that once the Ghwab are "horticulturally developed" the governement will not, at a later date, slap a National Reserve title on it( with a very small price tag) thus rendering it completely usless for the owners or their issue, as has happend (I am told)in Hursh Ihden.
This I presume could be tackled by the Municipality in the form of irrevocable certificates(?) to the owners stating that if they concent to the clearing and grubbing,then they would be guaranteed that no injunction of any sort will be exercised on their plots without their tacit approval. I am sure that a good Shwiery lawyer will volunteer to look at this aspect in a more professional manner.
The owners, on their part will also pledge that no building activity will take place on the cleared lands for a minimum period of three to five years. (to be negotiated).
A small commitee of local residents can be created to approach the owners to explain all this and to show them,honestly,that if the Ghwab are beautified then there is a serious chance their real estate value might be enhanced,the commitee will also take into account what aprehensions, or grievances they might have, and try to come back to them with convincing arguments...this normally might get a positive response.
When this is done and work is on its way, then perhaps the governement could be approached, with the concent of the owners, to slap a Compulsary Purchase Order with the Right Price that will not be too unfair to the owners. Or, get a wealthy individual to buy it outright, and call the Reserve after him...!!! it has been done before... the Yafet Library, etc.
We can in parallel employ the good offices of our Maten politicians, who on numerous occasions have encouraged us to come to them with our problems and our dreams ???!!
3- The initial investment will not be that small,but it will not be huge either, and there are many ways to attract donations.
Beside the donations that will be given by individuals like you and me, (You will receive my donation without any disclosure on my !!), Businesses, at home and abroad could be approached to sponsor this project on the premise, for example, that a big board will be placed at the entrance of the Ghwab highlighting the names of those businesses that made contributions provided that these contributions are not less than X dollars, where X is not too prohibitive to swallow..!
We can call trees after the names of the children of the individual donators by nailing plaques with their names on the trees,that will make it fun for both children and parents.

A serious and efficient coordinator is essential.

4- A media campaign is a must, but who should this campaign be beamed at? I ask becuase I do not know..What I am trying to say is : do you envisage this to be a 'local' effort with Mugtaribeen, or a 'national' effort ?
If a local effort then the campaign will not be too costly,i.e. meetings at the Municipality, introducing the idea in the sunday sermons,on this website, together with posters showing the Ghwab as it is now, And as you invisage it would look like, i.e. a " Now and Future" poster etc, also talking to the Newspapers during the cleaning period to come,take pictures, interview the scouts and other volunteers as they are working, ...newspapers love action and they will bend over backwards to publish a story like that.
If on the other hand you envisage a national effort then I do not know...??
I am sure the thoughts mentioned above could be absolute bunkum, so let us have more thoughts.
As to what to do in/with the Ghwab I have other thoughts that are similar and compatible with the ideas posted.. but for fear of being to lengthy I will post them at a later date.
In any event,I genuinely think that this idea is neither crazy nor farfetched, it is exiting, vigorous and with a little bit of goodwill and effort it could just work.
My compliments Mr Moujaes.


Posts: 8 | From: beirut lebanon | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 74

posted 11-09-2001 04:25 PM      Profile for elusive     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes mukhtar, the Ghwab turned ou to be where I imagined it to be, but did not know its name. Thanks for the enlightnment.

I just read Andre's reply; he seems to know what he's talking about, with plenty of good ideas. However, I believe that the development of Ghwab, should be a local undertaking rather than governmental (too much bureaucracy!). I concur with Andre that perhaps a few real wealthy Shweiris could underwrite most of the tab, as well as donations from other Shweiris, locals and immigrants. Perhaps a nature center could also be included in the development, similar to what we see here in the US.
As for building on cleared lands, I don't think it would be a good idea. This parcel of land should be strictly a nature reserve. Any construction of homes should be around the perimeter.
Just one word about Ain el Assis, which I saw last summer and left me dumbfounded upon seeing two monstrous-looking buildings (or is it one?) almost choking the Ain!!!
Perhaps the Baladieh can buy them out and destroy them? Is it feasible?

Posts: 102 | From: Herndon, VA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
andre aquilar
Member # 78

posted 11-09-2001 05:17 PM      Profile for andre aquilar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr Elusive,
The idea is not to build on cleared land, which is why it would be helpfull if we could get the owners to pledge (legally) not to build for a period of time, as hopefully by then a solution might be offered.
As you quite rightly said, Ain-el-Assis is a case in point, the children of Shweir are going to inherit this ghastly mess,therefore both Ghwab and the Ain are intimately connected, that is why one has to make sure not to repeat the Ain fiasco in the Ghwab.
It is said that hindsight always has 20/20 vision, now that we can see, it is crucial that we do not duplicate.

Posts: 8 | From: beirut lebanon | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Waleed Moujaes
Member # 17

posted 11-09-2001 08:05 PM      Profile for Waleed Moujaes     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Andre, thanks for your complements!!! This is my duty. I was always an environmental activist, and will always be.

I have a question if you don't mind. I am curious to know who are you, and how you're related to Shweir. You did not introduce yourself on the GB. From your name, you don't seem Lebanese, maybe from your mother's side!!! I am sure we all would appreciate your answers. You for sure, is a valuable supporter for The Shweir Environment Group, and obviously the environment in Lebanon.


Posts: 306 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 14

posted 11-10-2001 06:08 AM      Profile for Klee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why about a 'SHWEIR ENVIRONMENTAL GIFT FUND' as part of the Shweir Foundation? It would have 'tax-deductable gift recipient' status for those in America, and maybe internationally.
Set a price per tree, US$5 or US$10.
Print nice colored picture certificates (like the photos of the villege from the web-site, or tree/valley scenes) with a space where the name or details can be typed or inscribed in beautiful Arabic and English.
Set a minimum for a tree certificate, say two trees.
Set a minimum number of trees for special, more elaborate certificates for a 'grove', or a 'garden'.
Hanging in my study for over ten years is a large framed certificate inscribed:
'A garden of 100 trees has been planted in memory of the Abotomey families 1887-1987 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of their arrival in Australia from Mount Lebanon, by their great-granddaughter Klee....."Their descendants are as numerous as the stars" '.
This garden of trees is part of the extensive forests planted around Jerusalem and throughout the Galilee that draw rain to the Middle East.
We have other tree certificates to record special occasions such as marriage (the Golden Book of Marriage), and received as gifts of honour, for example, tree certificates to honour the birth of a child.
In all cases, these donations plant trees, build dams, and rejuvenate land with desert-watering and planting. We have visited some of the areas, travelling through forests and dry-land planting projects. This is a normal way of life for my family.
If Shweir needs a fund to restore and develop the environment, an environmental gift fund would be the way to go.

Posts: 394 | From: South Australia | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 76

posted 11-10-2001 12:04 PM      Profile for Michael     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wisely said Andre & the best part is “the only way to get an 'official body' to act is if you take action ahead of it “.
This is the essence of our problem in Lebanon, we wait for the Government, Municipality, FORIGNERS or even a Messiah to come and do our job,,,, .Walid & Nabil Bou Kheir know very well how the Environmental group started and the peak of its giving was freely initiated by shweirieh shabaab. We planted Al-Ghuwab around 2000 trees, we did it once & we can do it again, check the pictures in the Environment section

at the bottom of the page were we are all gathered Scouts, Isaaf, friends from Beirut, SSNP’s you name it they all came to help. I won’t say this whole campaign was easy for it took a lot of time to prepare and coordinate with all the groups in shweir + passing by each grocery store asking for a simple donation like a shovel or a Maawal or even a Mankoushi for the guys.

By the way I am a true believer that if theres a will there’s a way & what the guys Nabil, Elie, George and Anwar did this summer is a solid proof that the shwerieh blood is genuine & active.

Dr. Klee hats are high , I love the idea; lets open a box for shweir environment donation, like $2 or $5 what ever for a pine tree or a californian tree Anwar brought with him and each new born shweireh abroad will have his tree planted back home & WILL be obliged to visit every summer to check his property.
Anwar I guess the procedure is not complicated cause we can post all the new born in year 2001-2002 on the website, get their name and donation for next year “ Shweir New Born Tree Campaign”.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea, we are even encouraging reproduction among shweirieh.

Li Shweir

Posts: 6 | From: Saudi Arabia | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 56

posted 11-10-2001 03:06 PM      Profile for james     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why don’t we start a donation to buy the needed trees? As a member of this bb I would be more than happy to do that. Someone from Dhour can make a study on how many trees are needed to reforest the Gwab and the cost of each tree. This way we have an idea of what is needed and how much we can afford to donate for this noble cause. There is nothing better than the smell of pine trees as you arrive in Dhour. I have been away almost thirty years and I still remember that smell like I remember my Teta Affifi’s manaeesh she used to make and bake at the local bakery every Sunday morning.
Posts: 29 | From: USA | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 74

posted 11-10-2001 04:02 PM      Profile for elusive     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ah Ya James! With your brand new E320 Mercedes, perhaps you can buy a whole horch!

Posts: 102 | From: Herndon, VA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
andre aquilar
Member # 78

posted 11-11-2001 12:30 PM      Profile for andre aquilar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr Moujaes,
You asked how I was related to Shweir, this I will tell you :
A few months ago while having lunch with a far cousin (Shweiriyeh I must add) she asked me, with a glint in her eye, whether I had heard of
That evening I logged on, and surfed it with lukewarm interest. I went back every now and then simply because I recognized some of the names, nothing special, just curiosity.
It dawned on me after a while that there IS something special about this website.
Now, Mr Moujaes, let me ask you this :
How many villagers in Lebanon, do you know, have gone to the lengths and trouble the organizers of this website,(and contributors), have gone to,in an effort to create something meaningful with which to help their village ? A thankless task, one must admit, but they still did it.
How many people do you know, have "shaken" their backsides and actually worked to produce collectively, something significant to aid the needy, the invalid, the schools, etc, always rushing to thank others but never themselves ?
How many individuals or groups, do you know, who made it their aim to highlight, with pride, the achievements of others but never their own ?
How many people do you know, who, day-in-day-out take the time to brainstorm, and continuously encourage one another to find ways to improve, in a small way perhaps, the environment and therefore try to give quality-life to their village ?

It is said that curiosity killed the cat(!!) well in my case it created much interest.
I am not normally given to flattery and praise, what I said is neither of either, it is merely an observation on my part.

As to your other inquiry, I ask you humbly to let me retain my space, it is not to puzzle or to is just me.

Posts: 8 | From: beirut lebanon | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 74

posted 11-11-2001 01:12 PM      Profile for elusive     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Andre Aguilar:

Is this your real name or just your pen name? No reason for asking, just curious (I've been there, hence my curiosity)!
I agree with you; this is a great site, as well as entertaining, if I might add.

I recently discovered (to my surprise) that my real name is on this website, but obviously no one was able to put 2+2 together! And here I've been 'wrongly' (?) labeled as being "elusive"!

[This message has been edited by elusive (edited 11-11-2001).]

Posts: 102 | From: Herndon, VA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 11-12-2001 08:55 AM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Andre, On behalf of all of us behind the seen... THANK YOU.
And Elusive, or should I say Uncle "B" yes somebody did put 2+2 together but Out of respect we are expecting you to introduce yourself. Complimenting James is also a give away. In regards to Miss Lebanon, you know now that you didn't have to send us the information via a beautiful and talented Shweiry. Am I on the right track????
I just Heard Another plane went down in New York!!!!!!!! I must check that, will get back to this subject later

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Nabil E. Matar
Member # 11

posted 11-12-2001 09:48 AM      Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you all for your responds to my request to participate in this topic especially Elusive and Andre. My friends your input to this subject is great, that doesn’t mean that the input of James Klee and the others was less impressive. Now we got all these great ideas. Next step will be is how we can put them in to action. Therefore my friends, I suggest that the environment Champion Mike Sawaya take these ideas, brain storm them with his volunteer group (Nabil bou Khayer, George Samaha, etc.) maybe utilizing other Shweirieh expert in this field and come out with an achievable plan that we all participate in it. One more, I used My brother Najib and I used to work in the Green Plan (Al mushroo3 Al Ukhdar) To my knowledge The president of the plan Mr. Samir Abou Joudi’s mother is from Shweir, I wonder how much he and the Green Plan can help in this project.
God blesses you all and thanks

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Member # 74

posted 11-12-2001 10:58 AM      Profile for elusive     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not bad, Ya Mukhtar. Your math was not too bad for an engineer. But, my guess is that the 2+2 math took a lot longer than solving the problem of Lebanon's economy by the Italian experts!
Now, I am intrigued. Did you figure this out after I mentioned that my full name was somewhere on the website or before? Anyway, I had no idea that one of my own would innocently give me away. The irony of all this, is that she never figured me out (provided she had been perusing the bb)!!! However, it took Jimmy, with all his 'smartness', many hints to finally figure me out!

James hasn't killed me yet for "exposing" his taste for expensive cars, but am sure I'll be hearing from him soon.

As for introducing myself, I am trying to figure out a way to make a smooth transition from being "elusive" to being "me".

It was fun while it lasted.

Posts: 102 | From: Herndon, VA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 11-12-2001 12:03 PM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I Guess you all heard about the plane crashing by now, all indication point towards a mechanical Failure.

No Mr. B, it was few weeks ago, right after Habib asked you whether your wife first name intials starterd with. Then I asked you if you first name name started with the letter B, and you thought it was unfair. The Fact is this.....I read every alpha or numerical character that is entered on this webpage.
Your forwarded email and request at the time was honorable (although, I don't know why you didn't do it yourself)and indicated good intentions. Go Ahead and Make a splash and announce youself to everybody, I am sure the admiration will not dissipate. But this subject is for another BB.

Andre, I love the way you took the bull by the horn and immediately started to tackle the issues. Please consider youself among family here.

We really are on a good track with the environmental issue, as you all have know by now that George Samaha and Nabil Abi Kheir are up to their elbow with Red wood trees and germinating thousands of red wood seeds, Nabil is also bringing 300 new Snawbar trees to the village. Now come the task of finding homes for all these.

The Ghwab is one great possibility, and issues that were brought by you all most likely should be addressed. Converting The Ghwab to a Park should be more than a dream (Would somebody in Shweir Inform the Baladieh and have them at least read and possibly join us on this subject).

I see more than reforestation of Ghawb, a well planned park with trails and picnic areas, like Anwar suggested last year,and a small complex that is built in Harmony with the Ghwab could bring great revenues to the village. I'll share my crazy Idea with you Possibly this afternoon

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posted 11-12-2001 12:13 PM      Profile for GhassanZghaib     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sorry guys (especially Mickael) to be late in my reply, after all you know by now that the weekend is the time I work most (and weekend were the time when someone should rest ).

There's nothing special in what I mentioned earlier except that the idea is to make of every special occasion A SPECIAL excuse to go out and plant a tree. Here, the municipality only gives away donates one tree for every newborn in the year. They call it (Un arbre, une Vie = One Tree, One Life). It doesn't do any follow up. You just take it and plant it in your backyard (I got one for every daughter and it's kind of special to know that every girl has a tree named after her).

We can use the same idea back in town, Some of the special events I have in mind:
1. New borns
2. graduations
3. Marriages
4. any other special or dear event.

Posts: 584 | From: Laval, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 11-12-2001 01:10 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The discussion of this topic has been a very intriguing one... it started with Waleed Moujaes discussing Environment with George Samaha. We got some great feedback from around the globe and evolved to unraveling the mystery of "Elusive"'s identity... sort of...

Elusive, if you may recall many moons ago, I asked if your wife's name started with a choice of three letters which you confirmed and George followed up with asking if your first name started with a "B"... so we knew all along who you were, but as George said, out of courtesy we kept that secret, we gave you space to unveil your identity when you were ready...

You mentioned that your objective for using a pseudonym was to see if others close to you recognized who you are... It is ironic to note that at one point you did not recognize the postings of someone that you knew very well when you asked "...who is that James anyway?" You found out about James by clicking on the "?" next to the date of his post, followed some links... and what a surprise...

Elusive/Andre thank you for enriching our BB with your in depth high caliber discussions and intrigue... the courtesy still stands for you to officially unveil your self when you are ready... I think enough hints have been dropped for those who know you to add 2+2 if they are reading the BB... On the other hand, those who do not know you are very curious and perhaps are on the edge of their seats to find out your identity.

Pesonally I do not mind pseudonyms so long as writers do not abuse the priviledge or do not adhere to the Mission Statement. Although politics and religion were discussed in other Elusive postings/debates, albeit pushing the limit, they were more on an educational level rather than promoting one over the other...
overall, it has been a positive, educational, and suspenseful experience...

Now where were we... back to the main topic "Environment" ... Thanks Waleed for starting the topic... and to all who shared many good ideas about it... It is amazing that between the time I read the last elusive post and had a chance to write this two more entries were posted...
Great feedback...

Andre, welcome aboard and thanks for the kind words... with the caliber of talent we are continually adding to the family, there is no question that we will achieve or even bypass many worthy goals.


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 11-12-2001).]

Posts: 508 | From: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
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posted 11-12-2001 02:02 PM      Profile for elusive     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

When I asked "Who is James anyway?", I knew who he was. The reason for having asked this question was sort of a "Tadleel" (misleading) mechanism, although no one knew at the time my connection to James! He came into the picture much later.
The other reason, by clicking on his name, one gets nothing out of it, and I, more or less, wanted him to identify himself in a better way because he happens to be a real Shweiri, and many of you know his family very well. Only recently, due to a hint from me, Nabil discovered that his father was an old friend of his!
As far as the religion topic goes; Elias initiated the thread and I was only replying to his questions--although I wondered whether such topics were permissible. I figured Elias would know.
But thanx for your courtesy in not unveiling my ID (not that it would have caused the skies to fall!) because I wanted to do it myself in the proper time.
Again, if and when I do, don't expect any earthquakes, volcano eruptions, or any other natural upheavels to occur, because most of you don't know me anyway. Many might even say, "Fakkarna al Basha, Basha, bass tili' al Basha zalami!"

Posts: 102 | From: Herndon, VA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nabil E. Matar
Member # 11

posted 11-12-2001 02:14 PM      Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is exactly what I was trying to say. we need to collect all these great ideas, turning them all to a group of volunteers. I suggested the environment champs work on that project with the help of valunteers. present their final to the owners of the proparties and the Baladieh in a town meeting and once aproved we all join hands and start working on the implementation.
My friends,Good ideas are meaningful if implemented and meaningless if not .

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andre aquilar
Member # 78

posted 11-12-2001 02:18 PM      Profile for andre aquilar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr Matar,
Like you and the Webmaster, I see trails and steps constructed from the branches of the trees taken during clearing, after treating them with special oils to preserve them, (oil not too expensive, but plenty is needed !).
In the Picnic Areas I see benches and tables done from the same materials.., I see Bar B.Q.s designed by volunteer Shweiry architects, (or garden designers) constructed of stone quarried from the Ghwab itself (a must), topped with the necessary steel or iron grills made by a local blacksmith either free or at cost, is there a blacksmith in Shwier ? I can't remember. I presume there is one in Bterghreen, but that might not come free ! ( I am only kidding !)
Next to the Picnic Areas I see small playgrounds for children, spartan in nature, i.e. thick ropes with old tyres attached, hanging from trees in the vicinity, seesaws, again made from tree barks, sandpits etc. This will cost very little as all materials are indigenous to the Ghwab or the environs, and if designed with taste it would look brilliant. If you want to go a touch upmarket, then perhaps some slides, for the little ones, small tree houses (not 3erzals). again the cost is minimal.
When I visited Germany some time back, I saw in one similar forest a "LIFE TRAIL"", this is more like an army obstacle course, but much shorter and a great deal easier, designed for the over forties(!!), consisting of nine or ten obstacles (maybe more) : logs on the ground to jog over, bar-fix between two trees to stretch on, small parapets to jump from, other logs of differing weights to lift, a rope hanging from a tree spanning over a shallow but wide ditch, etc. At the beginning of the course there is a plaque specifying how long each age group should take to finish the course, i.e. to do it at a certain pace is to get the maximum benefit, on every obstacle there is yet another plaque specifying how long it should take to do that obstacle, I saw seventy-year olds and forty-year olds doing it. There was a BIG plaque at the end of the course stating that a Life Insurance Company sponsored and paid for it !!! I worked it out, it will cost a pittance, BUT it will cost a lot less if American Life in Beirut is approached to sponsor it..!?
What keeps bothering is the legality of it all, perhaps someone from Shweir could check how Horsh Ihden and the Cedars of M3asser el Chouf became National Reserves ?


Posts: 8 | From: beirut lebanon | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
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posted 11-12-2001 04:18 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
These are all excellent ideas. the key is what is the best approach to implement them... To promote making the private land as a national reserve and deprive the owners from ownership benefits will not work...

We need to come up with a formula of mutual benefit... the way it is right now is that most of that private land is not well maintained and it is for most part unaccessible.

It is important to devise a plan that shows a good benefit to the private property owners for them to support our approach for the environment. That plan should include a workable and comfortable balance between preservation and development or utiliazation of the land...
without such balance, we will remain polarized and only talking about it years from now... and little is done to the land...

Although I advocate the protection of our environment, we need to recognize and alleviate the concerns of the private property owners to gain their support. I spent ten years working on a 3600 acre development project in California. I learned a lot about respecting considerations from both or all sides.

I do not know about the best means and incentives when it comes to national preserves or local municipality and laws, I hope someone more familiar with those issues can step in and pave the way...


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George Matar
Member # 4

posted 11-13-2001 03:22 PM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My Little corner was getting too lonely, so I put my proposed idea in that section for two reasons. One, this Post is getting too long (that's Great) and secondly, I needed something to perk my corner. No seriously, I thought the Idea fits well with the other two (Plan I & II).

Shweir Master Plan IV will be Preparations for a successful Eid al Mughtaribeen....Coming soon

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Author Topic:   Shweir Master Plan III - The Ghwab
George Matar
posted 11-13-2001 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Excellent Ideas by all, but here is another vision.
Since we are throwing Ideas on Parkenizing (New Word) the Ghwab, let us get a little more aggressive with our Ideas. I am talking in addition to planting trees and making playgrounds and picnic areas, theses are all wonderful and a must as a minimum. The Ghwab is large enough that in addition to all that we have proposed we can even make a business without damaging the environment.

Wouldn't you like to see a Hamlet performed in Shweir?

The Idea hit me while I was in Lebanon this past summer, and please, correct me if I am wrong here because it is based on what I think the Maten al Shemally doesn't have.
The Landscape of the Ghwab specially the area below Elias Nasr Kheneisser's House could be an Ideal place for a first class “quality” Amphitheater. Call it, what else…”The Ghwab”. Yes, a 5,000 - 8,000 seat outdoor Theater that specializes in "quality" entertainment for about 10-12 weeks a year, at good “affordable” prices.
People pay $75-$100 and more to go to Baalbeck to see a good performance, or Beit Dein. Lets face it the people are not there to see the ruins but to see good performers. So why not Shweir? we are more centrally located. Beirut is only 40 minutes away, so is Jounieh, even Zahleh is about 30 minutes away.

I am talking about a top notch Amphitheater with Sanin as a backdrop, that will attract top stars and performers from not only Lebanon but also international. We can have plays, drama, comedy, symphony, dance, song, you name it but insist on top quality, maybe host Miss Lebanon one year, you’re getting the Idea

With a good sound system we don’t have to have loud speakers projecting sound to Faraya. Additionally This will not be a food establishment facility, only drinks, coffee and appetizer eaten at designated areas only.

This type of business will need volunteers, we have the scouts, the Isaaf, the Charity organizations, the Nawbeh, etc… They can alternate days with part of the sales going directly to their organization. Say $1 per sold ticket.

Need a lot of help from the Baladieh to organize the traffic and keep the are clean and in order, again they would get part of the money: Say $2 per sold ticket. Money from this will go directly into major modification to the Village, like roads, Planting flowers, project that will help promote Shweir as the mountain village of Choice. (Okay, I agree Parking will be an obstacle, but that’s what parking garages are for, at $3 per vehicle, it will pay for itself in a couple of years)

Again selling quality memorabilia, T shirts, etc.. will generate additional revenues for the village

I know some of you will say there are more important issues to tackle, but lets face it we are proposing so many parallel issues, why not this one? This one seems to help in so many ways, it will be a profitable venture.

Nabil will say we can not achieve this, I am saying this is an idea for somebody that want to invest , "ADOPT" and help employ several of the Local Shweirieh. here is a simple split of Revenues...
Employees $1
Baladieh $2
Alternating Volunteers(E.g. Scouts or Isaaf) $1
Entertainers $ 6-8
Advertisement $2
At this brake down, an average ticket of $20 will provide the “Owners” with $6 per ticket. Just think if the tickets are more say $40 or $50. And or sold out concerts

You can work the numbers on an average 3000 tickets a night (I think we can do better) three nights + a week for 10-12 weeks.

Employees $ 90,000
Baladieh $180,000
Alternating Volunteers(Example Scouts or Isaaf, etc) $90,000
Entertainers $ 720,000
Advertisement $180,000
At an average ticket of $20 the “Owners” with $540,000
Not to mention the business the restaurants get. Everybody benefit from this
We can sell season tickets, membership, etc…..

Am I Crazy, or this is money we can do without?

A successful project like this one can place Shweir back into the lime light and in a very short time. I can see it happening, Could you?

I tell you , if I had the Money I would have taken this project on, if had the money I would have lobbied to invest in such a project. Maybe several of us can get together and have a joint partnership, or better yet a project such as this should belong to Shweir. We need a stearing comittee to get this off and going.

Who’s crazy now!?!

ps Have you read Shweir Master Plan I & II?


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George Matar
posted 11-14-2001 05:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Nobody has a comment?
Not even...You're Nuts? or Ya Mukhtar, you've lost it? or
Brom aa Jinbak a tani haida H2lim Shaytani?

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posted 11-14-2001 08:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for elusive     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Allow me Ya Mukhtar to be the 1st to tell you why I think (my opinion) no one has commented on this plan yet. I believe it is rather complicated, albeit very ambitious, (it figures, coming from an engineer), and needs to be mulled over thoroughly. Moroever, people are still thinking about the Ghwab (Part 1?), and how the plan could be implemented. It's not over yet, and to jump to this phase now could be counterproductive. I could be wrong, but that's my opinion.
Here are some questions for you concerning the Ghwab. Who will be presenting the Ghawb issue/plan to the baladieh? Will it be a person or a committee from Shweirieh bil Mahjar? And who will present all those wonderful ideas discussed ion this bb? Of course I do not suggest naming people here and now, but it is something to think about.
Have you received any input yet from the locals yet? Do they participate in this forum? Do most have access to the Internet, or only very few? We all realize how tough things are in Shweir with respect to owning computers, availability of electricity, Internet subscriptions, etc...
My suggestion is to focus on one issue now, get it all wrapped up, and then go on to the next.

Not to worry though, Nabil will definitely revive this plan if it falters.

[This message has been edited by elusive (edited 11-15-2001).]

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George Matar
posted 11-15-2001 07:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Right on all points Ya Elusive. However this series of Articles "Shweir Master Plan xx...) are intended to set some guidelines how we / I would like to Shweir not next year but say 10-20 years. The previous two articles are extremely aggressive too. I am doing this in hopes that there is somebody out there with good financial support that might see a mutual benefit to self as well as the village (we have plenty of them in our own village).... Or maybe a good strong and solid Baladieh might adopt some of these ideas or modify and implement them. Call it wishful thinking on my part.
I can tell you this, personally I am not for duct taping or doctoring the symptoms of the village I am totally for going after the disease.
There has been no major complexes built in Shweir other than bare necessities. As far as I can remember we have not built anything new since the Radio City . We had at one time 3 Movie Theaters, a Couple of Casinos, night clubs, a dozen Hotels… I can keep on and on. We are down to almost none, except the newly built Dhour Shweir Hotel (My Hat’s off to the Abdel Ahads). I have a feeling we lost our Shweiry sense of outdoing all and we have lost the creativity for attracting visitors to our village…… I’d like to get these invaluable qualities back, even if its only on the BB.

As far as communicating with the local Shweirieh, it is slow but it is improving.

PS: I am a strong Advocate of setting achievable goals. These are the ones I write on the General Topics.

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posted 11-15-2001 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for elusive     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Let me just comment on your reply in a practical way. Like I said, your vision for the Ghwab down the road is worth looking into; however, I think from a pragmatic standpoint, first things first.

1.I hate to go that pathway again, but there is no escaping it: the presence of the "brethren" must be addressed first. Let's face it, as long as they remain, no matter what you do, visitors and summer renters are not going to flock back to Shweir. Let's not kid ourselves. Nobody feels comfortable if they THINK they will be harrassed, even if harrasment does not exist. When I visited Shweir last summer, some locals mentioned this fact of life. And, 2 km is nor far enough, either. They must redeploy at least 5 kilometers away from Mrouj, perhaps even midway between Mrouj and Tarshish.

2. If my memory serves me right, Shweir was a pretty good place for visitors: lots of restaurants/cafes, Hawi, La fourmie, etc... The village was buzzing with visitors all summer long. That's what Shweir needs to have back, which translates into lots of dineros for the locals. You can open all the cafes, hotels, and what not if you want to, but if people can't feel comfortable, such places will not thrive. Have you visited Qlay'aat lately?

Summarily, all those plans and future projects are great, but you must first put the horse before the carriage. Put confidence back into Shweir as a viable place for summer visitors, and you'll see what happens. Even in winter, you'll get lots of people from Bikfaya since it has grown a lot in the last 10 years.
I don't have a clue how No.1 could be addressed, but somebody there must know.

I am aware of the sensitivity and difficulty of the situation there; you might accept it, but you can't ignore it. Good Luck!

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George Matar
posted 11-15-2001 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
We are singing the same song. Again I have to say, your point is well taken, And not forgotten either. Who to address it and when is a different topic....... Not to mention that the probability of them staying forever is very likely, Scary thought but realistic... Should the Shweirieh fold their tents and leave? Absolutely not, I think we are smart enough to be able to swim with the tide for a while. But then again I repeat this is a separate issue.

The Fact my masked friend is Shweir does not have a master plan, at least not that I know of, and without one in hand at the time we start building we will fall into the same pit as Mazraat Yashouaa and Deek al Mehdi..... Like you saw yourself the pretty hills were converted into ugly and congested concrete piles. To add insult to injury when I saw them this summer they were half empty too, who would want to raise a family or live in places like that?

Again I say what I am hoping to achieve out of this series of articles is a blue print of how we would like to see Shweir in the future.

But as you can see I am the only one playing. I guess nobody is interested in a "Master Plan for Shweir"..... Maybe I was born a little ahead of my time

Here's my prediction.... Slowly but surely we will find people in Shweir building choatically towards the Ghwab, the Mtull, Jweezi, why? Because they are there. Mark my words not long from now there is going to be a new villa on the Mtull, and then a slew of others. Then one building will rise in the heart of Ghwab, and Voila 100 next to it. Who's going to stop it? And based on what? A Plan? Once we lose these precious lanscapes we basically lost Shweir

The Disasters we see on the road between Beirut and Bikfaya happened because of poor and thoughtless, or lack of, long range planning. Lets not make the same mistake. Lets take this period of occupation to draw a well designed Master Plan for our Shweir so we will not get overwhelmed when the time comes. And then we can work within the frame of that Master Plan..... Remember I am an Engineer. God, where are the Architects.
I'll Go Back to the original question: Should Shweir have an Amphitheater in its Master Plan?

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posted 11-15-2001 06:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for elusive     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
You're absolutely right Mukhatar in foreseeing what you just mentioned. If, like you say, there is no master plan, we could all see the same chaos between Zalqa and Bikfaya take effect in Shweir. God forbid.
More power to you. Hopefully, the local Shweiris are reading this stuff!

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Salim Khonaisser
posted 11-15-2001 11:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Salim Khonaisser     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
George, I believe in "If you build it, they will come".

I am convinced that Shweiree's are people of vision and action, not followers or spectators, but leaders and opportunists. Some of my relatives are investing in the village. The Dhour Shweir Hotel is one good example. My cousin built it and although they tell me business is slower than expected they are very optimistic. They love their village and they took that first step and others watched and some were probably inspired to do the same, to invest in their village.

Since my trip to Lebanon in 98 I've opened my own business and hope that soon I will be able to do the same as they and many others did, to invest in Dhour Shweir.

One of my goals is to be more proactive for the benefit of our village. I have lived in Canada for most of my life, not having been to Lebanon for about 25 years. Dhour Shweir changed my life for the better. I owe it something back.

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posted 11-15-2001 11:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Salim, your family are an inspiration. I wish them great prosperity for their faith and investment in Shweir.

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Nabil E. Matar
posted 11-16-2001 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Ya Mukhtar, I don’t know why you drag my name in to this debate, but I think that what a brother for. Any, here my ten cents opinion:
 The idea is great if you could find a wealthy sponsor
 Bad location because the area below Elias Nasr Kheneisser's House has a sharp slope and no parking spaces
 If we are serious and not just ink on paper (hiber Ala Warak) we need to gather all the ideas, study each and every one, see if it can be achieved and what does it take to implement. Then find out who will do it, how and when can be done.
 And last but not least and before we do any thing we need to sell the idea to the Balabieh (if there is one), and the owners of the properties. Then of course get rid of the Switzerland tourists.

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George Matar
posted 11-19-2001 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Nabil that was straight to the point. Yes these are all ideas, at this time, nothing more.
The area I am talking about is like you said it is sloped, that's why I picked it, sloped requires less work for that type of theater. All that needs to be done is a Mudraj type seats. Do you notice how sloped football stadiums are?
As for the money, I don't think it will be ae expensive, but that would be the next phase, if the idea is sellable.



Author Topic: Suggestions - New Master Plan For Shweir
Member # 5

posted 03-18-2002 03:27 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Congratualtions to the new leadership at the Baladieh. We wish them great success. We, the Mughtaribeen are very pleased to note the two of the new council members (Habib Moujaes and Salim Sawaya) communicated with us and asked for suggestions. That is wonderful.

Many of the Mughtaribeen have made suggestions in the past. I invite as many of you to share your suggestions here. I will start with some important topics that others has introduced before for discussion as follows:

1. New Master Plan for 2, 5, 10 and even 20 year plans.
2. Please read BB topic: "Is Shweir in Lebanon?" and take positive steps to remedy that.
3. Infra Structure: Roads, water, wastewater, drainage, electric, reclamation of wastewater, signage...
4. Environment & Beautification
5. Educational and Recreation

Many of us Mughtaribeen can share some innovative new ideas to improve the town. example: Samih Baaklini does road construction in Texas, Walid Khayrallah in Canada has a Phd. in horticulture, that is study of plants and trees... and Souheil Baaklini works for I believe Austin Department of Public Works where they address procedures and plans for Water and utilities... there are dozens if not hundreds of engineers in the specializing in all kinds of construction and experts in information technology like Elias Nasr Khonaisser and Rabih Khoury...

I believe the great majority of these people would be glad to share helpful information to help Shweir become more innovative and methods to save on cost.

The important thing is to have good communication with Baladieh and for them to take bold steps to utilize these resources.

The New Baladieh has taken the first step to ask for our suggestion. Now it is our/your turn to respond.


[This message has been edited by George Matar (edited 03-19-2002).]

Posts: 722 | From: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 03-19-2002 07:43 AM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There are so many ideas that were discussed on this forum over the past 20 months.

There are also some bold ideas that were brought up on the Mukhtar's Corner with some good feed back, Titled Shweir Master Plan (there are three Threads)this series of articles halted after the 9/11 incident. Also there are couple of dozen responding to the Ghwab and its development.
With the new Search engine the web page has I bet we can find all of the articles.

We are still not sure whether the Baladieh Members are viewing / reading the BB!!


[This message has been edited by George Matar (edited 03-19-2002).]

Posts: 1986 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 03-23-2005 05:44 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Three years later... Shweir and Lebanon are embarking on some New Beginnings.

As such, there has been many valuable posts that are worthy of being revisited.

For the benefit of our new members/readers, and especially for the benefit of the Shweir leadership, I am bringing this and similar topics to the forefront.

Let us put politics and other differences aside and make best effort to reach out, work as a team, learn how to forgive, extend olive branches to our neighboring towns and focus on a brighter future.


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Member # 195

posted 03-23-2005 07:11 PM      Profile for HILDA T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Best wishes for new beginnings!
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Member # 5

posted 05-12-2005 01:51 AM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Some posts are worth reviewing...
Posts: 722 | From: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged


Author Topic: Dreams for Shweir
Member # 118

posted 05-15-2002 04:01 PM      Profile for waleed     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

Let us never forget that our People was blessed with glory during its long history and that we Phoenicians left our mark on History from the third Millenium BC to 64-63 BC, when the cities of Phoenicia were joined to the Roman Empire, an Empire to which this same People gave several emperors and scholars…
Dwelling on the past is not my purpose, but a deep sadness grips my heart when I visit Lebanon and my dear hometown Shweir. Like it or not we are in a period of stagnation resembling the 3Asr al Inhitat of the Ottoman Empire! And you know better than I do what are the reasons for this situation! However, my goal is not political and I will not elaborate. My only goal is the prosperity of this village. This is still a reachable goal, in spite of almost insuperable obstacles.
To make of this village into a shining beacon we need three things:
1. Money
2. Probity
3. skills
And we have the three of them.

Don’t be surprised and read on:

Above all we cannot rely on our state, which is corrupt, broke, apathetic, unstable and has lost its energy. We are second worldwide for foreign debt behind Zimbabwe. I remember the financial contribution of the State for the last Almoghtarebeen – nil. Without the goodwill of the people in the village that celebration would have failed.

A close collaboration between the people of the Mahjar and the people in the country is essential to success. Speaking of probity, we have beyond reproach: we are united after 27 years of war, in spite of all the differences and oceans separating us.

The skills and know-how are there in our youth that master all fields, be it medicine, agriculture, management, computer, commerce, sports, etc… and in the experience of our elders.
As for money here is my proposal:
Our people are exhausted, dried up. Our foreign debt exceeds 30 billion dollars. So ???! Rely on the State? Impossible. Al Baladyeh and Al Moktar do all they can with the meager allowances from the State.

Ya ahl al shweir al tayebeen !
Ya ahl al ghorbeh !
People of good will only have the Diaspora !

Other nationalities manage better than we do ? Why ? In whichever country they find themselves, they join forces to make their home country improve.

Ahl shweir fi al mahjar, you spread over the whole-inhabited universe.

If each productive force abroad provides a small percentage of their salary – I’m not speaking of large amounts – we could do marvels for Shweir.

Love with words is not very effective. “No pain, no gain”. A sacrifice is necessary. The people of the mahjar should vote on a contribution, possibly dependent on salary. With 500 devoted people contributing 50 $ a month, it amounts to 25'000 $ a month, 300'000 $ a year. This allows several projects to be started, relying as much as possible on equipment offered at production price and on voluntary work.

Here are some possible projects for Shweir :

 We could improve existing structures such as Nadi Moussika al Shweir and charitable organizations …
 Create a local museum to store the memory of the village, history, geology, ancient photographs, ancient artifacts…
 Develop a library with a meeting room, a conference room and archives
 Set up a technical school (we could begin with simple topics such as Cooking, iron-working, carpentry)
 Organize conference along the year on themes such as agriculture, health,…
 Create a tourism board (because just waiting for tourists to come is not sufficient). We have to contact the tourists where they are. Print information leaflets about Shweir (presenting its location, hotels, restaurants, and events…) and distribute them in Gulf Countries, Europe, USA, in short – where the Shweir people are – to promote our village abroad.
 Create a village plan with street names (where is the Nagib and Fares Mushek street ? and Antoun Saade ? , Salwa Nassar ? , Assad Rostum ?, Mansur Jurdak ?, Daoud Mojahes ?, Carslow ? , Kabalan Gergis Dahdouh ?, Michail Sawaya ?, Elia Hawi ?, …)
 Create a non-political radio station that could broadcast a few hours per day …
 Create an open-air botanical garden
 Create a natural preserve (Al Ghouab) in our woods, where animals, which have vanished form our region, could stars coming back.
 Create a tree nursery for our most precious pinus PINEA ( snawbar), threatened by fires, diseases and snowfalls, and for Genista Hispanica (Al Lezzan) which enrich the soil in nitrogen for the pine trees.
 Establish a small zoo with local domestic animals for children. We could begin with goats, sheep, horses, birds, hens and rabbits.
 Create a “village house”, a common space open to all, for instance for family reunions, that would be rented by the municipality to those who want to use it.

Any of these projects could begin very humble and small, and grow larger with time.

Ya ahl Shweir flood Al Baladyeh with your ideas !
3Asr al Inhitat intra inchAllah !

I want to ask the Mayor, the members of the Baladyeh and the Mokhtar of the Mohjar, to join forces and open an account to canalise the financial strength of the Mahjar, and to create a commission to manage and use this enormous potential for the good of Shweir.

Allah Maakon !
My congratulations for the elections to M.Ghosn and the new members of the Baladyeh specially to Simon ,Jamil and Jack…
Walid Abi Kheir

Posts: 36 | From: Geneva Switzerland | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Abu Jihad
Member # 90

posted 05-15-2002 04:54 PM      Profile for Abu Jihad     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well said Waleed. However, the reason Shweir is in stagnation is evident: People like yourself, the Mukhtar, Anwar, Nabil, Habeeb, Elias, Ghassan, to name a few are in diaspora instead of Shweir!
Think of the possibilities had you guys been there!

[This message has been edited by B. Hatem (edited 05-15-2002).]

Posts: 1071 | From: Wash. DC area | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 05-15-2002 05:46 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

Welcome to your town's BB.

Great suggestions overall... the key is to adopt the projects that are feasible and make them a reality. With the smell of success on the easy ones, we can lift our horizon to more challenging ones.

A great example is then Habeeb, Nabil and George decided to send three ambulance strechers to Shweir... they did the research, negotiated best prices, built the box and shipped them.

Last week, they arrived at the Port of Beirut and Habib Moujaes is in the process of picking them up.

OK, who wants to adopt a project?


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Member # 26

posted 05-15-2002 06:49 PM      Profile for Victoria     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
WOW, How wonderful to hear ALL, music to my ears.
The problem is major revamp of ATTITUDES and general GOODWILL for SHWEIR COMMUNITY specifically and LEBANESE COMMUNITY in general.
Next, Comes productivity with respect for the common community
A lot can be accomplished without getting stuck on a lot of burried hatchets.
One small example: my parents wanted to cut an asphalt road to reach their building. All of a sudden, it became an awfully complicated situation loaded with politics from the neighbor on the left and that wife's respected doctor neighbor on the right. After long negotiations, The baladieh began breaking The long 50 steps and 2 days later the wife of the doctor-neighbor on the right got an order to stop the project. 30 years later, I believe the 50 long steps are still broken down, the doctor died, (God rest his soul), who knows were all of the neighbors are, and...etc...etc...etc...
Am I willing to forget all that and try again? of course. Is it difficult? you bet.
Fortunately, The Shweirieh that live in Shweir have to get their act together for a better Shweir and MOVE ON into better and greater things.
Moghtaribin are also helping.

Posts: 280 | From: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 05-15-2002 08:24 PM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Abu el Will,

I was getting so tired of hearing about Syria, Syria, Syria. I am so happy about you opening a discussion about Shweir, Shweir, Shweir. Nothing against political parties; however times the way they are, our city should be our focal point.

Personally, as part of the,I feel that it is too far and difficult to exert much influence on the various entities that are functioning in Shweir. however, if we take on a project at a time and do our utmost to make it a reality, this could be very effecive in galvanizing our people in Shweir to move foreward. I have a feeling that once things get rolling, there is no stopping.

I would like to sugest that we can begin by our sponsoring something that is concrete and unique-- a new Library. I am certain that we can buy and ship books on regular basis. There are so many wonderful bargains out there that we can take advantage of. As time progresses, I am certain that the Baladieh, or any of the jan3iat can house and organize a full fledged library. With that in place, in the future there will be work shops, tutoring classes, summer schools etc. etc.

How about some input on this idea. I know that there are so many silent people out there that visit this sight on a regular basis--what do you think? I incerely believe that little by little we can have the best library if not the only library in the Matn. This can give the impetus to improve the quality of life in the dai3a. It will be all worth this, or we can inspire just one child is reach for the stars.

Dreams for Shweir? Most definitely ya Waleed, but it is from dreams that great things evolve. Thank you for a heck of a thread.

Posts: 789 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Elias Khonaisser
Member # 21

posted 05-15-2002 10:05 PM      Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Abu El Wil,

Welcome tot he site and great ideas all of them, i am particularly interested in the Museum, Library as i have been an advocate of these two ideas for a long time and would prefer them over the DAR EL 3AJAZE project.

first thing is to agree on a project then we start working towards making it a reality.

a project i would really be interested in is re building Antoun Saadeh's house into a library where his books and studies can be found and researched and studied.

the library can also be in the baladieh since we have plenty of room.


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Member # 124

posted 05-16-2002 11:34 AM      Profile for Hilda     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Lots of great dreams, but hard to finance any.

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Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 05-16-2002 01:42 PM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree ya Hilda, but in the case of a library, it does not have to be done overnight. A book here and there and we can be on our way.

Let me give you an example that my brother Nabil did. As you know he goes to Shweir every summer. When he was growing up he used to play with the Nawby. He acquired a deep passion for it. For the last several years, everytime he went back, he invariably brought with him an instrument or two such as a clarinet, a trombone or a trumpet. He carefully and all year looked for a bargain and at the right time he purchased an instrument that was in good condition for practically nothing. As time progressed, he would look for instruments that the Nawby asked so as to fulfill certain needs. This example could serve as an excellent model for us to follow in case of a library. We can start slowly but be regular and persistent. IT CAN HAPPEN!

Posts: 789 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nabil E. Matar
Member # 11

posted 05-16-2002 06:18 PM      Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeslam Hal Tim Ya Abou Al Wil and welcome to our web site. This topic is not new to the BB, what’s new is a new member who believe like many of us that the Shweirieh have all the tools necessary to make our beloved town 3aroos al masayeft. My friend as long as we have in Shweir people who care Shweir will never die. I think all it takes is to agree all on a project and start working to achieve it. Last year we started on an idea of establishing a library, we even took with us to Shweir some books to start the project. Many librarians there Like my friend Riad Khunieser and Mrs. Samy Sawaya volunteered their time and effort to establish such a project, unfortunately the obstacle is finding a place, I hope with the new baladieh this year we could achieve that. Guys and girls I am willing to be part of this effort to push this project forward, how about you all? Walid mentioned many very important ideas that benefit our town, all we need is actual participation of many Shweirieh so we could convert these ideas to realities and not leave them like they say Hibr 3ala warak.
God bless you ya Abou Al wil, I would appreciate it if you could tell us little bit about your self.

Posts: 904 | From: Groves, Texas USA | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 05-17-2002 02:03 AM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A library will be terrific...

We already have dozens of books that the Mughtaribeen brought with them last summer and they (the books) are waiting for a nice home...

We need to find an ideal setting that is centrally located, does not require much in upkeep yet provides the best return on the resources invested in order to make it a viable project.

From such a library, we can have one staff person to monitor the books, write articles for, scan photos, take messages, relay info to people in town who are not as fortunate to have a computer and even give classes in using the computer and the internet... by doing so, any revenue generated would help keep the operating costs down to a manageable level...

When there is a will there is a way... lets think positive and find the most creative and best way to achieve this great goal.


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Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 05-17-2002 07:25 AM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

I am glad that you endorse the idea, You give everything that you touch a certain flare as well as class.
While we are talking or "dreaming", the public library in Port Arthur, Texas, (that is the city where essentially I grew up) was full of historic items, photos, local artistic articles such as paintings, artifacts and ceramics. They even have a gift shop and a section for videos where one can enjoy an old movie or a cartoon for the kids. Also it had many decorative things that were donated to make the place aesthetically pleasing. The point is a Library can also be not just a repository for books, but also a mini museum-- a historical, educational, and cultural center if you will. It might take us ten years to get where we want to be in the execution of such a project but it is doable. But it is going to take a big effort, unity, tenacity, and most importantly participation and cooperation from the Maghreb as well as from the dai3a.

BTW "Shweir Mughtarebeen Memorial Library"
Does that sound good or what? I don't know about you all but I love to dream.

Posts: 789 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Elias Khonaisser
Member # 21

posted 05-17-2002 08:41 AM      Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
3ammo Habeeb,

there is nothing wrong with dreaming, if you don't dream you might as well be dead. It is not an impossible dream and if we cannot realize something as simple as a library, in my opinion it is a problem.

I don't think participation will be an issue, i can assure you that the people of Shweir once they see that the library project has taken off and that we are putting an effort in making this a reality you will see how without even advertising people will come and donate a book or a piece for decorative purposes, people will donate old stuff they want preserved and shared. Eveything will fall into place trust me.

If we can get it off the ground by deciding on a location and starting everything will fall into place.

i can donate a few PC, some books, old pics we have. Someone else might donate a TV, another a VCR, another a Stereo, others books etc... all of these will not cost much for us individually and it will grow everyone will be in on it.

We can even have a weekly or monthly newspaper whereby many of the stories that were told on this BB and thousands others can be published and shared with others and in turn preserved.

We have to help ourselves with small projects why not make this Library the center for the whole area.

PCs with Internet access fee based of course at a minimal cost. Research facility for those wanting to research. we can even have a gift shop with Shwier made products maybe then the Eshop can have a central repository.

Maybe even a small version of a KINKOS in it.


all we need is to start,



Posts: 1146 | From: Chicago, IL | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 05-17-2002 11:16 AM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am getting excited by this great brainstorming session... the library project and the possibilities by extention like what Habib, Elias, Nabil and the many others suggested are worthy of our support since it means a better education for our towns youth, it is achievable and will make a positive impact on our town...

Keep these great ideas coming...


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Abu Jihad
Member # 90

posted 05-17-2002 12:06 PM      Profile for Abu Jihad     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Trivia Question.

For what it's worth, did you know that the AUB library is called: Nemeh Yafeth Library? Wasn't he a Shweiri?

[This message has been edited by B. Hatem (edited 05-17-2002).]

Posts: 1071 | From: Wash. DC area | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 05-17-2002 12:45 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You are correct and his statue is the one that is infront of the Baladieh in Dhour...

My Cousin Riad is a librarian and works at the AUB... here is what he wrote and is posted in the "Did you Know...?" web page:

As you know The American University of Beirut has, may be, the best library available in the region. This "libary is dedicated to the memory of Nami Jafet and presented by his wife and sons to the American University of Beirut 5 May 1952".
So the library is called JAFET MEMORIAL LIBRARY. The department in the library where the archives are stored and served is the Archives & Special collection Department. A file under the name of the late Raymond S. Ghosn has the documents ,(which I gave to Joe to scan and sent to you), you posted and others which Joe couldn"t scan.
I am sure you remember and of course you have pictures of the Baladieh and the man standing infront of it. This man is the same man, the well known "Al Mouialim Nami Jafet". Jafet build the Baladieh and the library at AUB who became world-wide known, and Jafet is one of them.
I am sure you and are making it your job to mention, praise and make us proud of all the Shwierieh who are well known in defferent fields at defferent times, Jafet is one of them and Ghosn of course and many many others.

yesterday he sent to me some interesting pictures from that library icluding one of a mock up of the protestant college in Beirut, Syria... check it out at

Thanks Barnie for bringing up the subject and thanks Riad for the info...


Posts: 697 | From: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Frankie Goodson
Member # 111

posted 05-17-2002 12:53 PM      Profile for Frankie Goodson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the library idea is one of the best ideas I have heard in a long time!! I'm all for it. Libraries also are wonderful places to do your geneology. All of the wonderful items you mentioned that could be donated would be a wonderful way to encourage even young people to want to do their family history because it would be more interesting. I'm really excited over this.

Frankie and Maggie the cat.

Posts: 202 | From: Little Rock, AR. USA | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Waleed Moujaes
Member # 17

posted 05-17-2002 03:06 PM      Profile for Waleed Moujaes     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A very important and extremely simple, non-expensive idea is a partnerhip and friendship cooperation agreement between the Municipality of Shweir, and other municipalities in Europe. This would help us with financing special projects (let us say environmental, educational,...). It would lead to exchange of visits not only between officials, but also among the population, especially teenagers and fresh graduates. It could generate some income from visits to our town, scholarships into colleges and schools in Europe,... They call it "Twin Towns Agreement".

I am sure we all agree that Shweir has a special natural beauty. We just need foreigners to come and visit, and if they feel the spirit of cooperation, they will help.

There are many examples in Lebanon. There is one between Beit Eddin and Tuscany (I think). Another one is between Mokhtara and a Swiss town. I think Saidon has one with Marseille,...


Posts: 358 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nabil E. Matar
Member # 11

posted 05-18-2002 11:59 AM      Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I know there are many ideas down there to improve our town, let us take one project at a time. As I mentioned before, last year we started the idea of establishing a library. The obstacle was finding the ideal place, so my friends let us continue building on that. For a start, we need to convince the baladieh or any societies there to work with us to provide the place, then the rest like books, computers, videos, scanners and volunteers to run the place etc. will be easy to accomplished.
Guys I am not much of a debater on the BB, I am more of a doer. This summer during my visit to Lebanon I will address this subject with the Baladieh. Any volunteers to work with me on that?

Posts: 904 | From: Groves, Texas USA | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 05-19-2002 10:49 AM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Love this discussion, I pray you did not wait until George is out of town to discuss it

Regarding Dreaming... It is great. check the Shweir on the Beach and this terrific web page, both started as dreams. Check all the great interaction and postive attiude among all Shweirieh, it's never been done before.... We are on a great pace to accomplish the great for our beloved home town, and all of you reading and contributing to this family are the pilars of the future Shweir.

Thank you Walid for all the wonderful Ideas

Signing off from Aruba
Well, you know who

Posts: 1947 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 115

posted 05-19-2002 01:13 PM      Profile for Mikhael     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hay guys I am sure we can perform better than this.

International Mukhtar gave us a couple of examples and I’m gona remind u all what we did concerning the donation of computers to the school last year. This was a simple task and we collected like $ 500 from our shweireh in Saudia only…. I bet we have thousands out there that are fortunate and can invest on any project stated by Waleed & is studied properly and returns benefits to our town.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when Anwar brought with him some Californian Trees and seeds. Aboul Wil I dream of a forest full of Red wood Trees, can we accomplish that???

I always remind you haw the environment club started in Shweir, with only 3 people to end with around 30 colleges educated devoted shweireh. Well not really ended cause I am still.

Well people, we can accomplish anything we set our minds too, have some faith and courage and please stand up.

Masha allah everyone on this forum is smart, has dreams, educated and works in large companies and I wonder why can’t we shape up committees and brainstorm on each topic and form a team a plan, blueprint, prep reparation, implementation, go-live ( sounds pretty much a SAP Roadmap).

I am going to step forward and declare in front of you all taking responsibility for the environment plan & set a blueprint for the coming year. What to do, what to achieve.

Next I will be delighted to be part of any team that’s will show courage and take responsibility for the Library or Technical School. These two Ideas I love & they need a lot of discussion sessions (do I know a place to do that . Waleed yalla, Elias, everyone Do we have vision without guts? I was going ot say another word

My reply sound pretty much a challenge cause I am fed up from people who ‘beyalkho’ (no offence).

Lil Shweir

Posts: 155 | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Elias Khonaisser
Member # 21

posted 05-20-2002 01:23 AM      Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

yareit, i have been a long time advocate of the Library on this forum, if you read back through the archives when everyone was cheering the dar el 3ajaze i was recommending the Library.

i am very very interested in being part or even leading the library project whatever it takes, we need not be challenged i have been chanting this for the longest time now and i am happy everyone finally agrees.

well i have stepped forward who will join me.


Posts: 1146 | From: Chicago, IL | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 05-20-2002 07:28 AM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If and when the decision to go ahead with any project such as a new library/museum, first we need an individual or a group o f us who are going to Lebanon this summer to set up a some sort of mechanism in Shweir to work with us. It could be the Baladieh, the school, a jam3ieh an individual or a combination of them.

The task of the Shwier liaison would be to arrange for a place to house such a project as well as set up an organization to oversee it. This must be a coordinated effort or it will fail. Someone must be responsible and in charge in Shweir as well as in the Ghurby.

But first, we need more input from Shweir and from all the intested Shweirieh throught. Other than us, the few individuals that write regularly in this BB, everyone seems to be very quiet. THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING!

Posts: 789 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nabil E. Matar
Member # 11

posted 05-20-2002 10:32 AM      Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am glad to see that Habib, Lulloos, Mike would like to activily participate in the Library project. Is any of you are going to be there during Eid Al Mughtaribeen, so we could meet with home folks and come as Habib mentioned with an implementation plan. I am sorry if I was misunderstood Ya Lulloos. I do agree with you that there is no need to challenge each other. This project is dear to my hard and if we don’t start the action I am afraid every body will forget and the project become like I mentioned before Hibr 3ala warak.
Posts: 904 | From: Groves, Texas USA | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 03-23-2005 05:30 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Three years later... Shweir and Lebanon are embarking on some New Beginnings.

As such, there has been many valuable posts that are worthy of being revisited.

For the benefit of our new members/readers, and especially for the benefit of the Shweir leadership, I am bringing this and similar topics to the forefront.

Let us put politics and other differences aside and make best effort to reach out, work as a team, learn how to forgive, extend olive branches to our neighboring towns and focus on a brighter future.


Posts: 697 | From: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged


Author Topic: Commentary on the Shweir Zoning Topic
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 05-19-2003 09:59 AM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Folks, all the positive signs are there and can not be ignored. Maybe the answer is to continue on the ideas and path that we have set for our beloved town. Deep in my heart, I believe we have turned around and the road to recovery has started, these are Baby steps but are in the right direction.

What we are worried about right now is for somebody to come, intercept and change those plans for us. Here is where we need to be the strongest. The City COuncil need to be fully aware that there is a global force behind them as long as their decisions continue focused on the benefit of our birth place, and I believe they are.

I've been saying all along that Shweir needs a Master Plan, maybe the Council can draft one or take the Tanzeem al Madany's plan and modify it to suit the Town's image.

Folks, Saadeh's principles, The Democrats, the Republican, The Catholics, The Orthodox, THe Maronites, The Muslims, The Jews, The Druse etc. etc. etc. will always be there and we just have to live with that... I think of them as ingredients and spices. On their own they are unappitizing and hard to digest but together and in a balanced amount they'll make a great dish of Tabuli [Big Grin] [Big Grin] .

A special response: is nothing more than a vehicle and where it is going is steered by non other than Shwierieh that can recognize the difference of unity vs. not. Is it Americanized? Maybe, but it is also Saudized, New Zealanderized, Abu Dhaianized, Australianized, and Globalized (are all these actual words [Confused] [Big Grin] ). The Point is, if we can adopt the best of each adopted Country and apply it to Shweir, would that make us lose our Identity, or would it make us better and Stronger and more capable of contributing what is best for our birth place? The best example I can Give you is Saaded himself, he, like us, was a Mughtrib and lived the situation in LEbanon as well as outside of it. The difference is he wanted to fix the whole middle east, we just want to concentrate on Shweir.

On this Site, Shweir is Paramount, how would we want it to be 5, 10, 25, 100 years from now is what this Thread, no this web page should concentrate on...... Shweir needs a "A Plan" before it is too late, any volunteers?

[ 05-19-2003, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: George Matar ]

Posts: 1129 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 05-21-2003 09:25 AM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is beyond my mental ability why can't we concentrate on a single issue?

When you feel you needed to deviate, why don't you start a new Topic? You want to deviate from the Zoning subject? You all are welomed to comment on this one or start a new one....It's easy.

We all have so much to offer yet we can not seem focus when it comes to a good subject. Folks lets not waste the energy on things that show us divided, We are so much better than that.

I am also not to crazy with bringing into the mix, if any of you feel that the direction of should be altered, Hey we are all ears, and we are very flexible as long as its mission continues towards purely benefiting Shweir and is, with all due respect, unifluenced by religious or political affiliations.

One Shwier for all

Posts: 1129 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged


Author Topic: Editorial # 2 - A Master Plan is Needed
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 06-25-2002 10:48 AM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Okay, so we are proposing so many nice things to improve life in our village, yet it seems to me that all these are fragments that are definitely dissipating with time. I would have said three primary reasons, but I will stick to two reasons why we are failing or will eventually fail.
1. The lack of a formal master plan. Without one, ideas are like falling into the middle of the Atlantic ocean, lots of splashes, some ripples, and back to calm. There is no ship to take them to shore
2. The Lack of consistent means to fund any project. So far we have been depending on good Samaritans to pitch in a little.

I believe that all of our collective efforts should be concentrated on persuading the newly elected Village council to formulate such a plan. A Master plan that addresses, accommodate and trap ideas like the Library, the development of the Ghwab, the roads, the Schools, the entertainment, the summer rentals, the infrastructure, and above all the prevention of unattractive, and irresponsible construction that is defacing the landscape.

The plan can not be complete without finding the right investors, and the later can not be found if we can not properly sell the village as the right place to invest in. What we also need is a good educational program built around the Master Plan to help those that will be approaching and persuading the potential Investors.

We will be making a huge mistake if we can not visualize how the Village will look like the next 20-50 years. There must be a huge push for this plan as well as scheduling a realistic timetable how and when to implement it. There are times to brainstorm and there are times to put the results to action.

Like many of you, I strongly believe that the village should stop patching things up here and there, it is time for a revolutionary and visionary thinking, and it has to start with the Newly elected Council. But let be known that the council will not be alone, there is a large pool of talent that they can tap into, all they need to do is just ask. A Committee made up of several talented Council members and several adviser locals, as well as Mughtaribeen, should be formed to specifically address this delicate issue, and the sooner the better. It is time to move

Posts: 2057 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 06-25-2002 12:54 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
George, Ya Mukhtar bil Mahjar... I second your proposal.

Is there an excutive or administrative assistant in Baladieh who is assigned to compile as many of these important information, suggestions, ideas, print them, make copies for the council members and deliver them a reasonable time before they are discussed at an official meeting. This way, they will have a chance to read, review, make comments, prepare their thoughts and ask relevant questions.

During the meeting, they can accomplish a lot more. On some of the Board of Directors that I participate on, we have "Action items" that we review their progress until the project is completed. this way, no important project that is assigned an action item number will fall through the cracks and everyone will come prepared to give an update on the projects they are in charge of...

Also, by informing the people of the agendas for the meetings and some of the achivements, the residents and even Mughtaribeen will feel a more sense of belonging and working together as a team and chear our council on....

Lets hear from a representative of Shweir Council.


Posts: 766 | From: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Abu Jihad
Member # 90

posted 07-09-2002 07:31 AM      Profile for Abu Jihad     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Tried to find a thread which fits this post and is relevant to it, I settled on this one, since it is the most recent.

With all the ideas and projects that have been discussed and re-discussed over the last year or so for the improvement of Shweir, and continue to pop up sporadically, here's a quote which, I believe, would be an incentive to all those who thought or might think that some of the ideas are far-fetched, unworkable, or even absurd. I am sure George would love it [Wink] :

"If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it."

Albert Einstein

[ 07-09-2002, 07:32 AM: Message edited by: B. Hatem ]

Posts: 1223 | From: Wash. DC area | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 07-12-2002 01:27 AM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Update about Old Souk (Market)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Oula Aoun"
Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 12:33 PM
Hi Anwar, how is every thing, and how is the dear team?

I have some good news: we r organizing a special 'shweir night'. The place is the 'DAR' OF SAYDEH church; we will tell some old story of shweir, and a friend of mine who have a very beautiful voice will sing some of the most beautiful songs of Feiruz, and we will play soft music. AND, we will clean the old souk and organize it , to make it a place of exposition; we will expose many paintings of some friends of mine and some artists from shweir, and i think we can expose in 'La voute' also.

So, I think it will be a great night. We didn't fix the date yet, but we will try to do it before the festival. I hope you can enjoy it,


Hello Oula, Your email just made my day and I am sure it will make a better day for those who will read it.

The "dear team" is alive and well... no, FANTASTIC, specially when they hear of wonderful news like you shared above... this is like the beginning of a beautiful dream... at times, for us mughtaribeen, we can cheer for the achievements that you and all the participants accomplish and the rewards of the great camaraderie and stronger community as a result.
May that become a common theme that will continue and pick up momentum... These are the kind of news that prompt more and more of Mughtaribeen to come to visit more often and bring their families and friends.

Please send some pictures and frequent reports so we can share in your joy and the greater success and renovation of a great old town.
I will post this on the Shweir Bulletin Board under an appropriate topic and also on the Shweir Photos section where we have info about old Souk.
Many thanks again to you and those who took and are taking part in this very important endeavor.


Posts: 766 | From: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Soulaima Houcheime
Member # 127

posted 07-12-2002 10:51 AM      Profile for Soulaima Houcheime     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In fact i had an idea about a little thing maybe it will help .
It happened when i was discussing a subject with my daughter Maya and we arrived at a conclusion "HOW TO MAKE DHOUR EL SHWEIR MORE BEAUTIFULL FOR VISITORS"...Maybe we need help from the baladiyeh too and it takes a little effort from each one the idea is to take a theme about how we need to improve first the wiew of the main streets for example : the town of lavander or the towm of Jasmin and plant in front of each shop or each balcony on all the Dhour or Shweir streets 2 or three main kind of plants that could live in summer and winter too like Ortansia also but show every person coming or going from this town the nice picture it demands a small effort from the people from the new generation and from the baladiye and NOT SO EXPENSIVE ALSO .Each one has to Zeyin Iddam mahallo bi kil el shawere3 and also make the scouts or new generations participate in following the maintenance and this is the most important part. make it DAY3ETT EL WARD OR YASMIN
I SHOULD TELL OUR IDEA ,MAYA AND ME, before now to prepare la 3id el mughtaribin. keep it DHOUR as DHOUR the most beautifull Dayea bill 3ALAM . I hope the idea somebody can understood it with respect to everybody .What counts is the commun work where each one helps and work with LOVE for the benefit of our town . They can do it like a competition and could give a price for the most beatifull Hayy in town !!!
the community needs some meetings together in baladieh or any hall could expect almost 100 or 50.. persones interested in a community work not only the young ones because they are already motivated to accomplish something , all the families all the old ,the ladies ,and let them talk and share each other idea about how to improve the commununity work [Roll Eyes] if this help why not do it but "aim for the same one target".

[ 07-25-2002, 04:39 PM: Message edited by: Soulaima Houcheime ]

Posts: 101 | From: San Jose, CA 95118 | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Member # 5

posted 03-23-2005 05:33 PM      Profile for Webmaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Three years later... Shweir and Lebanon are embarking on some New Beginnings.

As such, there has been many valuable posts that are worthy of being revisited.

For the benefit of our new members/readers, and especially for the benefit of the Shweir leadership, I am bringing this and similar topics to the forefront.

Let us put politics and other differences aside and make best effort to reach out, work as a team, learn how to forgive, extend olive branches to our neighboring towns and focus on a brighter future.


Posts: 766 | From: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 327

posted 02-04-2006 01:51 AM      Profile for Anwar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ditto again...
Posts: 49 | From: San Francisco, California | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 02-04-2006 12:23 PM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow, I wrote that four years ago, I must have been inspired (still am) but as I mentioned in that four year old post, the proposal was just one of those "ideas that fell into the middle of the Atlantic ocean, lots of splashes, some ripples, and back to calm. There is no ship to take them to shore" and we still have not found a ship.
Just think if a plan was drafted then where would we be four years later.
As it stands now, Four Years Wasted

Posts: 2057 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Author Topic: Shweir- The visit and Editorial
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 08-30-2001 09:59 AM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Returning to Lebanon and specifically to Shweir after so many years, you just can’t help but have your critique eyes screwed on. Please and I want to emphasize that I definitely NOT SAYING that all I saw was negative. The environment is making a good comeback, private homes or villas are spectacular, the people of Shweir socially are warm, generous, fun to be with, and you can easily fall in love with, and yes you cry when you leave them. They are the best

Here in this article I am addressing what newcomers or visitor might encounter, and at the same time praying that I will not be misunderstood. Furthermore, I am praying even harder that this might initialize a rectification phase for our Shweir. Here I go.

What the village, or the Baladieh, intends for you to see and what you actually observe are 180 degrees apart. And they sure made it easy for you to spot.

The bad roads, the war torn buildings, the exposed garbage dumps, the busted sidewalks (tre’toirs ?) that are used for parking cars and trucks, the double and triple parking on the main strip, the ruins, the bullet holes in the Neimeh Yafeth Statue, The ignored boulevard that was the envy of every town is looking like a tornado has just passed through it, the haunted Hotel Canary with all its windows busted, or the once fabulous Kasoof Hotel that was hit by “MAGICAL BOMBS” that stripped everything but the structure, the once busy La Formie is on the ground, Cinema Florida, the empty and closed shops, all theses and plethora of other devastation that you could see just by driving through the main road.
It really does not take a genius to conclude that 12 years after the war this village has no master plan to improve its situation or position among the Elite Mountain Resort Towns.

Then you talk to the people and it gets more complicated, No two would agree on anything, all you hear is “it can’t be done because xxxxx” or “we couldn’t agree due to xxxxxx” or “Can you believe he did this or She is planning on that?”. These conversations by themselves re-inforce the feeling that even if there is a master plan for the village it is going to take a miracle to implement it

You go find a secluded place like Sarfad, you sit down put your elbows on you knees and your head in you hands and fight the urge to cry for our village. The serenity of the Sarfad for one reason or another prevents you from crying and magically gives you an up lift in your spirits.

Feeling refreshed you head back to the Saha to find few energetic youth volunteers working so frantically to make sure all the final preparations are ready for tonight’s activities. You Sit down and chat with them. Due to the age difference you say something like “Into Wolad Meen?” (Who are you parents?) And they return”: Ana bint Halabi, Ana Ibn Sawaya, Ana Ibn Rahbani, Ana Ibn Baaklini, Ana Bint Moujaes, Ana Bint Khneisser, Nihna min beit Kurban, or Samaha etc… And you listen to them and your heart gets bigger and bigger, your earlier frown is turning into a big smile that makes it very hard to hide the huge split between your front teeth. This blend of young Shweirieh are working together so hard with extremely limited capacity and funds to make our beloved town look good at least for a day….. You nod your head and think: “There is hope, and I am looking at it, OUR YOUTH”

Shweir reminds me of a story that my grand mother Milia told me when I was like 7 or 8 years old. I think it is fitting for the situation:

Fee Mara B’ Hal Zamman…. Once upon time a flock of pigeons were flying freely in a forest when all of a sudden they were trapped in a Hunter’s Giant Net. They panicked and, independently, they started flapping their wings and flying in all directions until they were exhausted, but got nowhere . They stopped to rest and found comfort in resting with their own color. So they formed into groups, White, Black, Gray, Spotted. After they rested each group decided to fly in the direction that they thought was right, and so they did, the White pointed to the East, The Black to the West, the Gray picked the North and the Spotted South. A lot of wind forces were created but as you can conclude they cancelled each other and no result was achieved. Exhausted again they stopped but now fear began to set in that they were trapped in the this net forever and they are doomed because the hunter will be coming soon.

A spotted Pigeon gathered its strength and flew to a location where all can see it:
“Hey, We have tried to fly from here independently and we failed, we tried in separate groups, and again we failed. Why don’t we all line up and fly in the same direction together and see what happens.”
They all found the spotted one’s words to be very wise, “What have we got to lose?” They said.
They gathered their strength, lined up and 1, 2, 3 off they went carrying the net with them and left an impressive trail of dust behind them
Need I say lived happily ever after?

Okay, we are not pigeons, and over the ages we have been claiming and we definitely have proven we are intellectuals, now lets start proving we are intelligent too by working together for one goal, SHWEIR. Everything we have been doing so far has been a treatment for the symptoms, let us begin to treat the disease. Shweir does not need its streets patched up, it needs new streets. Shweir does not need haunted hotels, it needs new Hotels (Thank you Abdel Lahads for your elegant Dhour Shweir Hotel). Our youth need a college in Shweir, Jobs in Shweir, Entertainment in Shweir, Hospitals in Shweir, Heated homes for year around living in Shweir so we won’t lose our homes or our Youth.

Professional working from their homes is definitely coming. Shweir should get very well prepared for it. Other wise the Number of Mughtaribeen is going to keep on growing.

Posts: 1813 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 26

posted 08-30-2001 10:27 AM      Profile for Victoria     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya Mukhtar Shweir bil ghorbeh,
This is a feeling that I feel personally every time I go to Shweir. The number one excuse is the war. Unfortunately, the war has been over for a decade, specifically 11 years.
Every Shweireh has to get excited about Shweir and then maybe that excitement will attract others.
The youth are motivated as you mentioned.
What will motivate the baladieh, the elders,
all individuals to take steps toward renovation and improvement?

Posts: 276 | From: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 10

posted 08-30-2001 12:03 PM      Profile for GhassanZghaib     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
By the way Mukhtar, which direction did the pigeons fly???

Posts: 713 | From: Laval, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 08-30-2001 12:45 PM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya Ghassan for once in my life I tried to be totally serious, I guess I failed.
Posts: 1813 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 10

posted 08-30-2001 01:13 PM      Profile for GhassanZghaib     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I tried to post the following before anyone else, but I guess I'm the one who failed

I couldn't keep mysel any longer
Now before anyone starts shooting at me I have to say the following:
I honestly share your thoughts. I really believe that no matter how bad it gets, time will come when it'll be better, thanks for the fine Young and not so Young people who still believe in Shweir. It saddens me of course to look from a distance and only see division and mistrust (Shweir doesn't need 2 sports clubs, 2 mayors, 2 music bands, 2 whatever, etc...). They should create only one instance of 'ANYTHING' and exchange ideas within the instance. Unfortunatly this is not always the case.
To cut a long story short, I believe the young generation is doing fine. I also believe that those emmigrants who decide to return, will make things better, especially that they know what they missed when they left.

Now my ending of the 'Pigeons Story'.
...The pigeons were so exasperated to quit the net that they faught with all the might they got. Some were strong enough to drill a hole in the net and were able to fly through the hole, unfortunatly leaving less pigeons inside the net to fight. Since the net was too big, not all the pigeons could find the hole to escape. So they decided to stay and marry and give birth to other pigeons and raise the numbers of those trapped inside, so sometime the number of pigeons will become high enough to have the net overthrown. The pigeons who where able to escape were so attached to the others, that one day, after realising that it takes more than one hand to play Derbakeh, they decided to return and help the old friends and relatives escape their misery. And every pigeon lived happily ever after.
Now, what about the Hunter???.
It turned out that the hunter was a Lebanese, who was still shopping 20 different color cellulars for his 20 different color suits. Not to mention that he was caught in the traffic driving from one cellular shop to another.

Posts: 713 | From: Laval, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
Elias Khonaisser
Member # 21

posted 08-30-2001 02:36 PM      Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya Mukhtar,

let me be the bad person and say it.

do you really blame shwier for not snapping out of the war years??

Victoria said the war is over my question to you ya mukhtar form what you saw was it really over????

would you like me to say out loud why shweir is still in the war days?? why no tourisits are interested in visiting shwier?? what is wrong with shweir?? let me ask you this what is there in shweir that brummana and bickfaya doesn't have?? when you find the answer you will understand why shweir is still oliving the war days cause shwier is one big MILITARY Complex the thing that makes you cry is on the news when they say X withdrew several thousand soldiers they say they were withdrawn to the Dhour El Shweir area.

i can go on and on but i think you get the point. ya mukhtar you can't do economics without politics it doesn't work.

and the worst thing is if you mention this subject OBJECTIVELY the consequences are what you saw in front of the justice palace when you were there.

now for the love of Christ how can you build a country that way??

i adore shweir but shweir's problems aren't only related to shweir itself and the people in shweir ya mukhtar me and you know them well they can't agree with you on anything even if you are right they will not agree with you cause then you take credit for it.

ya mukhtar the people are a sweet people but very hard to deal with, the only reason we are agreeing so much on this forum is because we are outside of shweir. once inside of shweir you will be infected by its politics and get nothing done.

i will give you an example:

my father donated to the baladieh an electrical generator which was BRAND NEW all it needed was some maintenance and fuel and boum you can light half the village, it was really huge cost a lot of money.

what did they do with it?? up until i left it was collecting dust.

there is no grand plan on what we can do and they can agree on nothing we elect the baladieh and 2 montsh later no two people in the baladieh talk with each other and hey now we want re election cause we want this person as the headof the baladieh.

the same goes for the sporting club who has changed members more than any club in the world and it still doesn't work.

solution?? solution has to come from us, they will accept our solutions simply because we are outsiders outside of shwier everyone will agree to our plans cause no locals were in it and no one can take credit exceot us and that is fine with them.

but again any project you will want to go ahead with and attract investors to will require work.

what will you do with the army?? it is not enough to take them out of kassouf what happens after yourebuild kassouf?? a lady is swimming and the soldiers on the other building are all on the roof watching??

see it is hard.

hope i wasn't too negative but someone had to say it as it is.


Posts: 1082 | From: Chicago, IL | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 08-30-2001 03:30 PM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya Elias I love your honesty, and your forward approach. I guess I had enough hints in my article to say that we agree. I avoided mentioning certain faction on purpose...
Think Elias Why and for what reason we have mushrooms in Dhour while Brumana and Bikfaya don't? Could it be because we don't agree among ourselves that mushroom farming is not right for our area? Brumana and Bikfaya made that point clear, and now they are harvesting the fruit of their unitedness.

Ya Elias I was talking about the Pigeons, and you were talking about the net, then your thought drifted back to the pigeons again, Are you trying to say that the "Spotted one" hasn't made his little speech clear yet, or he did and nobody is listening. We all know what the problem is, what we need to be looking for are solutions. And you my friend may have hit on one.
Man Am I good with this or what?

Posts: 1813 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Elias Khonaisser
Member # 21

posted 08-30-2001 03:54 PM      Profile for Elias Khonaisser     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
hehehehe Mukhtar the encryption level being used in these messages is very advanced

Habibi Mukhtar i totally understand everything you said the kind way you presented the argument and presented the problem. i understood what you meant about the pigeons and the net.

I just wanted to DECRYPT your message to make it clearer


Posts: 1082 | From: Chicago, IL | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 124

posted 08-30-2001 04:35 PM      Profile for Hilda     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you all for sharing your experiences with us- your readers. I needed to read the graphic description from George and his insight, thoughts, etc. and I needed to read Ghassan's and Elias' response.

I am afraid that the exchange will lead me to believe that the numbers of immigrants are going to be on the increase and not much can be done in shweir with the current sitution.

It is true, Shweirieh are reluctant to give credit where credit is due and everybody wants to be "the chief"...not much can be done with lots of chiefs and no Indians... let alone in the aftermath of the events that took place in shweir.

Posts: 168 | From: USA | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Member # 26

posted 08-30-2001 07:01 PM      Profile for Victoria     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's a cycle when things are down, they will only go up.

Posts: 276 | From: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Suheil Baaklini
Member # 55

posted 08-31-2001 11:38 AM      Profile for Suheil Baaklini     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
George,as always I love to see you and the family in Austin. The pictures were great. Come here often.
You brough up a very copmlex, difficult concern about Shweir and our hertitage in general. It is great that some are helping, small contributions are always welcome and helpful, but as you said, these are treating the symptoms. May be a clear and focused definition of the problem would help focus the efforts on the right solution. I do not think that the problem is roads and lack of businesses in the area and garbage collection. I hate to say this but it our relationships with each other as a team. How much do we realy know, trust and believe in each other. I agree and applaud all the repondantds points and their views and encourage more Shweireh to join in as you keep repeating and pleading. I am so sorry and appologise for not being active, but my good excuse is the usual work and family.

Posts: 12 | From: Austin, Texas, US | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 10

posted 08-31-2001 12:15 PM      Profile for GhassanZghaib     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Now isn't this an achievement??? We have a new ACTIVE MEMBER !!! (or should we hope so)

Welcome Suheil, all the active members have work and family, actually, yesterday I was scanning the posts and couldn't comment for lots of reasons:
1. I was holding Caroline.
2. I was speechless for what was said on George's forum.
3. My mind was racing back and forth for what should or could be done. Who's good and who's bad. Where did everybody go wrong.
4. Net's and Pigeons...

I'm sure we all steel some time at work (lunch hour) or at Home. Try doing the same, at least at home (I don't pray before I go to sleep, so I use this time to check the BB, try doing the same , unless YOU REALLY PRAY BEFORE YOU GO TO SLEEP).

I agree with what you and Hilda mentioned.
My opinion is we have to work more on educating the people. People back there still believe that wearing a seat belt while driving is a DUMB thing to do. I'm sure some got over it, but my feeling is they're still a minority. Once everybody learns that Shweir can only survive as a community and not as individuals everything will get better.

PS: I have to mention that from now on we all should watch for 'MAXWELL SMARTS'.

Posts: 713 | From: Laval, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
Tony Moujaes
Member # 24

posted 09-02-2001 07:00 PM      Profile for Tony Moujaes     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good Lord people!!! You need to chill out because no matter how mad you get nothing would solve the problem or the problems that are embedded in the "old country", like I call it.
It is easy to propose solutions, but the truth will always be that it not that simple to carry them on.
Nevertheless what matters the most is the intention, and obviously everyone on the BB got good intentions for the good "old country".
Best regards from Abbout

Posts: 151 | From: Texas, USA | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Suheil Baaklini
Member # 55

posted 09-10-2001 02:27 PM      Profile for Suheil Baaklini     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya Ghassan, ahlan feek. you are right it does not take much, but habits die hard, that is why I am learning a new one. Keep checking the BB.
It is always nice to hear from old friends.

Posts: 12 | From: Austin, Texas, US | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Paul Woodfield
Member # 58

posted 09-13-2001 02:58 AM      Profile for Paul Woodfield     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi George

Its good to see such a discussion going on. Coming from a purely naiive view, as it was my first visit to Shweir in August I found that the people in Shweir have adapted well to their surroundings, maybe to well.

This visit for me was overwelming because I didn't actually notice the surroundings so much, but the people and the hospitality I did notice. You don't get that as much in the western countries unless you put effort in, such as holding an events or functions.

Having been there now I'm able to imagine what it could be like. I hope whatever move forward goes on in reconstruction, doesn't compromise the nature of the people.


Posts: 31 | From: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 124

posted 09-13-2001 06:09 AM      Profile for Hilda     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
...One thing I would like to make clear...I do not believe that improving the living conditions of Shweir will change the people's hospitality...The people have been like that for ages and will continue to be so....

Posts: 168 | From: USA | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged




Following are sample Master Plans that are diverse, educational and informative. 

Some items may not apply.  We can take the examples of those that apply and fine tune them to come up with best applicable Master Plan for Shweir. 

There is a wealth of information out there and you may come up with even more applicable data.  If so, please share it with us so we can include same in the overall plan.


Samples are below:


Sample 1




Sponsored by the Wayne County Planning Department under the direction of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors

How can Wayne County residents enhance their lives and capitalize on the many outstanding features of their County, which include beautiful countryside, a disciplined workforce, a bounty of home-grown produce, an excellent County Road system, and a long shoreline along one of the world's largest lakes? The Wayne County Planning Department wants to encourage interested citizens to help write a new County comprehensive plan. The land use plan will help guide elected officials and County employees over the next ten years.

All interested citizens were invited and encouraged to participate.
Your participation is crucial to the success of this project!

What is a master plan?

A MASTER PLAN IS A BLUEPRINT FOR THE COUNTY'S FUTURE. It provides citizens, developers, planners, and community leaders with a document that clearly communicates the public's interests and expectations. A master plan provides some technical assistance to rural municipalities that do not currently have updated land use plans and ordinances. Towns and villages that already have updated master plans will also benefit: the County master plan will include tools for promoting quality neighborhoods and lifestyles. It will also provide for orderly improvement of County resources, such as roads and bridges and parks. The needs of the residents and employees of the County, including youth and senior citizens, will form the basis for the plan. Topics will include economic development, including agricultural development, housing, tourism, education, recreation, and the protection of natural resources.

The County's goals are to promote economic growth that enhances rather than diminishes property values, to promote aesthetically pleasing development, and to preserve and enhance the historic, cultural, and environmental resources of the County. The plan will help the County secure more grant money from the State and Federal government, and will help citizens communicate their goals and priorities with respect to water, sewer, and transportation improvements.

Here is an example of a County master plan:

How can citizens participate in the planning?
Consider joining a committee!

Practically every week for the next year, a citizen committee will meet to assess current conditions and to discuss goals, ideas, and implementation strategies. Committee meetings are open to anyone in Wayne County and surrounding municipalities, anytime. Attendance at previous meetings, although useful, is not required. No special skills are necessary to participate and, in fact, everyone's participation is crucial to the success of the project.

The consultant has organized four committees comprised of interested citizens from all walks of life: The Natural Resources Committee will meet every first Monday evening of the month, the Social Resources Committee will meet every second Monday evening, the Economic Resources Committee will meet every fourth Thursday, and the Legal Resources Committee will meet the third Tuesday evenings, except for July and August. Please confirm meeting times (7 pm) and places, especially during the summer. Citizens may email Cynthia Hill, Wayne County Master Plan Consultant, at or call (315) 946-5919












The purpose of this document is to serve as an example to those unfamiliar with the components of a simple General Plan. It is not intended to be used as the basis for an Apex City or County plan. Those responsible for the development of those plans should rely on proposals submitted by members of the Apex community.



The total population of the county is expected to increase significantly over the next twenty-five years. It is expected that over a quarter of a million additional residents will live in the region. A proportional amount of these will settle in APEX. The expected net population increase for the area will be in the range of 72%.

Issues surrounding population growth and urbanization:

a. There is little accomplishment in the face of today's urban expansion, to properly mesh growth with land use and zoning.

b. The county faces considerable difficulties in coordination and control of the growth pattern on a wide enough basis to be truly effective. The present trends in growth are uncoordinated, costly, and in the foreseeable future will lead to inadequate safeguards to health and welfare of county residents, as well as ultimate decay and urban blight.

c. The existence of widespread, incompatible land development, inadequate balance of housing types, congestion and the in accessibility of proper recreational facilities, jobs, and educational opportunities are bound to compound on the county as well as on a regional basis unless concerted effort is devoted to cooperation and coordination among all levels of political jurisdiction.


Over the next twenty-five years, there will be significant changes in both the form, the needs, and the intensity of the transportation requirements for APEX County.

Issues and problems surrounding transportation planning:

a. The present network of streets and highways, airports, rail facilities and bus routes has not been considered in a comprehensive manner. The inter-meshing of the various options in terms of mass transit, mixed media travel (car-bus-destination), etc. with the existing growth of automobile use in the suburban localities has not been considered or allowed for.

b. All the region's residents do not have equal opportunity to travel to all points of the county or the region. Significant numbers of the population do not have adequate accessibility to jobs, schools, parks, shops and medical facilities.

c. The present system of transportation fails to afford the highest degree of safety possible to pedestrian and vehicular traffic movements.

d. Inadequate allowances for transportation-land use relationships have contributed substantially to the region's present traffic problems. Consideration has not been given to turning movements, on-street parking in strip commercial areas, the blighting effect of major traffic arteries, or local residential service streets used for high volume traffic.


The growth in the net population of the county, along with the changes in the distribution, type, and age-income of these county residents will increasingly compound the already drastic needs for the provision of adequate and varied housing options. A substantial demand for new housing will probably follow the increase in per capita incomes and a marked increase in young persons reaching marriageable age. Significant amounts of this housing will probably be built in the fringes of existing urban areas. The single-family house will likely remain a preferred housing choice. However, the presence of more young adult and senior citizens in our society, individual financial limitations, and increasing land and development costs will increase the demand for townhouses, apartments and other forms of multiple unit development.

Additional acreage will be needed to satisfy the new land demands generated by an expanding population and increasing economic activities. In addition to expected higher residential densities, it can be expected that proportionate increases will occur in commercial and industrial acreages to meet the needs of this expanding economic activity.



Improved technology and automation are expected to increase the productive efficiency of workers and reduce the proportion of industrial jobs to total jobs available in the future. The non-manufacturing segments of the economy will experience an increase in employment.

Trends indicate that higher disposable incomes will be available for each family in the future. Increased future incomes will tend to change consumer buying habits. Family expenditures for such basics as food and clothing are likely to decrease proportionately while the amount of income devoted to medical care, travel, recreation, housing, transportation and education will probably increase.

Issues in reference to housing, employment and family income:

a. As the press of certain growth creates the demand for shelter, there is neither an adequate balance of housing types, a variety of densities, nor an integration of the housing supply for all economic levels.

b. Within the county, at both the urban and non-urban levels, there is the occurrence of blight, obsolescence and deterioration of structures which creates undesirable health, safety and general welfare conditions.

c. There is little or no coordination between industrial and commercial employment developments and the placement of prime residential zoning. Access to recreational facilities is equally restricted for residents of certain areas.

d. Changes in income patterns, age distribution, housing type preference have not been considered in the future planned for APEX County.

e. The location of residential areas presently does little to ease the burden on the roadways created by the heavy and unorganized commuter pattern; work travel trips made by county residents represent 16.6% of all the average weekday vehicular trips in APEX County. A majority of these trips are made during peak traffic periods when congestion is greatest.

f. As employment facilities grow and new ones are added, employment in the smaller centers of the region is expected to increase. Even though employment growth in the smaller centers of the area is anticipated, the central community will continue to be the largest center of employment. This will hold true as reduced travel times between the regional centers will stimulate residential growth in these communities.


The demands of new and different technology will require higher levels of formal education; the average number of school years completed will continue to increase and college enrollment rates will increase sharply. An expected increase in the number of young children will require expanded primary educational facilities. The new skills needed for an "information age" will demand additional adult vocational skills and training.

Issues and problems facing education planning:

a. In the face of ever-increasing technology and in an era of specialization, it becomes increasingly important that all levels of education be provided within the physical and economic reach of all the citizens of APEX County.

b. There is not adequate awareness of the need and responsibility to finance special technological schools to keep in step with the changes in all fields of endeavor, or to meet the upcoming needs in manpower for the county.

c. A growing need for a junior college to provide the services mentioned above.


The quality of the environment in APEX County should be one of the highest considerations in a master plan. The pollution of our environment has gone on unchecked since the formation of this community, and it still is continuing as our growth increases further. The quality of our air and water need an immediate improvement. If we wait any longer there may be no way to improve our air and water beyond unacceptable levels.

Issues and problems facing environmental quality planning:

a. The question of how much growth the county can tolerate without going over the county's carrying capacity of people and pollution must be confronted and answered. It is proposed that growth (people, industry, etc.) not go beyond 4% per year.

b. Industries in APEX County must come into acceptable air and water quality standards.

c. New industries coming to APEX County are necessary for new jobs and improvement of the tax base, but they must be of a non-polluting type.

d. Environmental Impact Reports should be filed for all new substantial projects (public and private) and then approved by the responsible local agency.

e. A pattern of controlled growth, pollution clean up and environmental quality maintenance should be implemented immediately.



As changes occur in county characteristics, the pressures and needs for rational planning of a comprehensive nature, that will take into account and distribute natural resources and optimize the human benefits, becomes even more critical. This plan is an attempt to do just that; begin to exert a concerted effort towards coordinating all aspects of county and regional level planning.


a. To help guide the changes occurring throughout the region

b. To make change truly progress

c. To prepare the total county for dealing with the existing and future problems of a rapidly growing region

d. To help solve the crucial problems created by population growth


a. A broad range of employment opportunities

b. Efficient and economical use of land

c. Renewal of obsolete areas

d. Orderly growth and development

e. Preservation of open space and expansion of recreational opportunities

f. Efficient transportation of people and goods


a. Economy and efficiency in providing adequate, healthful and accessible community services

b. Encouragement of aesthetic and social amenities

c. Transportation facilities with provision for adequate access to all points of the county

d. Provisions for future parks and open space in keeping with population and age group changes, leisure time availability, mobility characteristics

e. Natural resources be utilized for their best use

f. Sewage systems of the region be integrated with a comprehensive water management program to insure a high standard of performance and maintenance of health standards

g. Availability of a wide range of housing types within sound neighborhood developments

h. Consideration of long range political and economic ramifications of regional growth and change


a. Open Space and Parks

The primary parks and recreational system will follow the course of the river through APEX County. The scope of this park system should be a narrow band through the AA's 5, 8 and 10, with larger full size parks in AA's 27, 14 and 11.

b. Transportation

1. Long range planning required for the conflict free construction of the St. Joseph's Connector (East-West). This should be done in conjunction with the housing development in AA's 13 (South) and 23 (North/East).

2. Increase governmental involvement in mass transit, particularly at present, the elaboration of bus line coverage to the Suburb and AA's 13, 23, 24, 22, and 27.

3. Eventual blocking off of access to central areas in AA's 8, 4, 6, and 7 to form pedestrian only malls, with all service facilities such as parking, mass transit access from all points in the county, etc.

4. The creation of another international airport within the next five years. This should then be linked with an expansion of convention and tourist attracting facilities. A tentative location would be South-Western AA 14. Easy access to Lake Tamny makes this area ideally suited to recreational development.

5. Arterial connectors between existing interstate freeways and the South of AA 27, the center of AA 22 and the North-West of AA 23; these should be designed with carrying capacities at the "heavy-truck" level, to handle future industrial development.

c. Housing

1. The blight gradually threatening the city core should receive concerted study at a regional level. Future residential growth should be channeled towards AA's 13 (South), 23 (North), 24 (All) and in the northern section of the county, AA's 28 (South-East), and 25 (All).

2. The creation of a "Housing Authority" to handle the socioeconomic implications of displacement and relocation.

3. Future industrial growth to occur in "park" form, coordinated with rail right-of-ways, the highway construction that would encourage the location of new medium to heavy industry in AA's 22 (Center), 23 (North-West) and 27 (South). Infrastructure needs for water, power, sewers, etc., should be initiated immediately through appropriate capital projects.

4. A belt of R-1, R-2 and R-3 housing should be encouraged at the boundary of AA's 13 and 23 in view of handling increases to the county population as well as displacement. From the core area, density should be stringently held down and the planting of rapid-growth trees encouraged.

5. As existing facilities are vacated or condemned in the center city, new construction should be limited to M-1 and density criteria stringently enforced. Further study is required to establish the above mentioned "Density Criterion." These should be a high priority item on future planning needs.

d. Education

1. The shift in patterns of educational needs demands a realignment of resources. Future planning for education should emphasize creation of a decentralized network of small sized junior college level institutions.

2. Long range studies should be made to match expected job required skills to expected job market.

e. Rezoning Restrictions

To control growth, the following rezoning restrictions should be adopted:

Maximum Allowable Acres to be Rezoned Per Year

(NOTE: These restrictions may be overridden by a 2/3 vote of both the County Planning Commission and the County Board of Supervisors.)


To Single

To Multiple

To Commercial

To Industrial


3 acres



1 acre



5 acres










3 acres




3 acres





3 acres











5 acres









5 acres





3 acres






5 acres






5 acres





In order to aid implementation, we encourage the rapid development of a "Council of Governments" to mediate between political jurisdictions. A full survey should be made of all options for the future funding of these proposed developments, including the soliciting of increased private sector participation such as "Project Cost Sharing" by Industry and Developers. Infrastructure costs should be equally borne by all affected parties














IT / e-Government Strategic Planning 



City of Austin / e-Government Strategic Plan (2001)

ThirdWave was retained to develop the City of Austin e-Government Strategic Plan. A first of its kind to be developed in the United States. ThirdWave's specific role entails the development of an e-Government Plan. The scope of work includes management interviews, a detailed review of the City's current e-Government abilities, its mission and operations, and the identification of requirements for the City and its customers. These deliverables will be used as the standards for the development and deployment of an unprecedented e-government strategic plan for the City of Austin. The project scope addresses the following e-government issues:

Phase 1 Identify E-Government Goals

1.       Review Background Documentation

2.       Management & Elected Official Interviews

3.       Hold E-Government Focus Group Sessions

4.       Hold E-Government Sessions to Establish Objectives

5.       Establish Criteria to Evaluate E-Government Priorities

6.       Identify E-Government Services and Information

7.       Identify Measure & Targets to Assess Progress in Achieving E-Government

8.       Draft Phase I Report, E-Government Goals for the City of Austin

Phase 2 Assess Capabilities to Meet E-Government Goals

1.       Identify Best Practices for both Public & Private Sectors

2.       Assess and Project Customers / Constituents Ability to Remotely Access

3.       Identify Alternatives for Providing Services and Information to those without Internet Access

4.       Assess the City's Current Ability to Meet the E-Government Goals

5.       Draft Phase II Report: Findings, Options & Recommendations

Phase 3 Provide Implementation Plan

1.       Develop Prioritized Inventory of E-Government Services and Information

2.       Detail Organizational Structure and Processes that will Optimize the Implementation of E-Government

3.       Identify & Recommend Alternative Methods to Implement Priorities

4.       Identify "Back-end" System Changes to Implement Priorities

5.       Outline Internet Standards to Ensure City Website presents a Common Look and Feel

6.       Provide Cost Estimates of Implementing E-Government Priorities

7.       Develop an Implementation Schedule

8.       Deliver Draft Phase III Report: Implementation Plan

9.       Deliver Final Report presenting Results from all Phases

The document will serve as a performance management checklist of prerequisites that will result in the most responsive and successful e-government model possible.


County of Stanislaus IT / e-Government Strategic Plan (2000)

ThirdWave was retained to develop an ITSP for one of the most progressive counties in the US. With an annual base budget for FY 1999-2000 of $596 Million, Stanislaus County has 4000 employees and 35 departments dispersed across one of the largest counties in the state. This project developed a game plan for investing $50 Million into IT over the next 4 years. The following is a list of tasks carried out on the project.

Phase 1 Audit & Assessment County's Current IT

1.       Inventory Existing County Information Technologies

2.       Review Existing Information Technology Data

3.       Compile Organizational Information

4.       Management Interviews - 35 Directors

5.       Hold Rapid Workflow Process Modeling SessionsTM

o        35 Department Sessions

o        10 Enterprise-wide Sessions

6.       Prepare Enterprise-wide End User Requirements

7.       Prepare Final Summary of Requirements Findings

Phase 2 Develop IT Strategies and Policies

1.       Develop IT Strategies & Policy Recommendations

2.       Develop Detailed Cost Estimate

3.       Develop Cost / Benefit Analysis

4.       Produce IT Strategy & Policies

5.       Develop ITSP Master Schedule

6.       Prepare & Provide Executive Presentation

7.       Project Coordination & Management

The County's ITSP was heavily reliant on an e-government vision and strategy.


State of California e-Government Service Delivery Strategy (2000)

ThirdWave was retained as a sub-consultant to develop the State's e-government service delivery strategy. ThirdWave's specific role entailed the development of e-government Metrics. The scope of work included a management interviews, a detailed review of DOIT's current website, its mission and operations, and the identification of requirements for DOIT and its customers. These deliverables will be used as the standards for the development and deployment of an unprecedented e-government strategy for the State of California, which will take the state's departments and agencies on-line. The project deliverables included criteria DOIT could also use to measure the success of e-government products and services provided by the state's agencies. The metrics contained three parts:

1.       Functional Service Delivery Metrics, used to gauge success in providing services delivery applications to DOIT's diverse customer set.

2.       Site Design Metrics, used to ensure sound site ergonomics.

3.       Site Content Metrics, providing guidelines for the information to be published in the DOIT site.

The document will serve as a performance management checklist of prerequisites that will result in the most responsive and successful e-government model possible.


As a result of the work carried out by ThirdWave, Roy Hernandez (the president of ThirdWave), was selected to sit on the State of California's Local e-government Advisory Board (LEAF), and the Califoria IT Commission, both prestigious think tanks assigned to advise the Governor of California on the implementation of the e-government initiatives of the State.


City of Pasadena e-Government / e-Commerce Strategic Plan (1999)

As part of our ongoing strategic relationship with the City, ThirdWave was retained to investigate and validate the process of deploying web enabled e-commerce technologies to implement online bill payment capabilities at the City. The results of the study entailed comprehensive e-commerce recommendations and an accompanying conceptual design, including the proposed system architecture, implementation plan and corresponding cost estimate.

1.       Project Initiation

2.       Analysis of Existing Web Environment

o        Analyze Existing Web IT Environment

o        Identify and Investigate Related Applications

3.       Define Departmental Requirements

o        Hold Requirements Definitions Meetings

o        Develop End User Requirements Definition Document

o        Develop Systems Requirements Document

4.       Research Best IT Solutions

5.       Final E-Commerce Recommendations/Conceptual Design


City of Las Vegas Information Technology Strategic Plan (1999)

ThirdWave was retained to carry out a comprehensive applications analysis to develop a Strategic Vision and Implementation Plan. (From this initial analysis ThirdWave was retained to conduct the implementation of the ITSP as well.) This project addressed the following information technology issues:

1.       Establishing an enterprise-wide systems inventory of where the City stood with regards to their information technology

2.       Evaluating networking / communications issues for intradepartmental communications, including implementation of enterprise-wide e-mail system

3.       Assessing hardware, software, and peripheral standards and identifying systems integration issues and opportunities

4.       Examining methods for upgrading customer service

5.       Investigating methods for establishing a one-stop center

6.       Assessing the use and support of several key applications, such as document imaging and retrieval, and geographic information systems

7.       Identifying global opportunities for increasing efficiencies by eliminating redundant work and / or provide methods of leveraging existing information

8.       Producing an End User Needs Analysis

9.       Articulating the Strategic Information Systems Vision and Implementation Plan

10.    Developing a request for proposal that the city used to Implement the Information Systems Strategy

ThirdWave developed the Virtual City model, the country's first published citywide e-government project. ThirdWave was subsequently retained to carry out the four year - $10 million IT Master Plan implementation.


Rand Corporation IT Strategic Plan (1999)

Brief Description:

ThirdWave was retained as a sub-consultant to HOK Consulting (the prime), one of the premier Architectural/Planning firms in the world, to participate in the development of a Master Plan for the new RAND Corporation World Headquarters building to be built in Santa Monica. As a major undertaking for RAND (a company with an department of 60 IT experts), ThirdWave was tasked to develop the IT component of the Master Plan. Working as part of the HOK RAND Corp Headquarters design team, our scope of work included the following tasks:

1.       Kickoff Meeting

2.       Information Technology Assessment

o        Rapid Workflow Process Modeling SessionsTM

o        Space Analysis: review data gathered by HOK

o        IT Needs Assessment and Analysis

3.       Develop IT Master Plan

4.       Formulate Cost Projetions

5.       Identify Efficiency Gains

6.       Present IT Master Plan to RAND Executive Council


City of Corona Information Systems Master Plan (1998)

ThirdWave was retained to develop a comprehensive Information Systems Master Plan (ISMP) to act as management's principal working document for the next several years. This four-month project addressed the following IT issues:

  • Needs assessment, identifying departmental/user application needs, existing databases, software/hardware standards, data communication options, and associated priorities
  • Implementation Costs, determining onetime and recurring costs for hardware, software, training, installation, communications, maintenance and support necessary to proceed with findings of the study. An emphasis was placed on identifying opportunities for a financial return on investment
  • Master Plan, developed 3-5 year MIS Strategy and Implementation Plan, establishing the overall vision and direction for the City's Information Systems. The Master Implementation Plan provides a logical, phased and manageable schedule of implementation activities

The Scope of work includes the following:

1.       Conduct Orientation & Planning Sessions

o        Orientation Meeting

o        Planning Sessions

2.       Perform City Wide Needs Assessment

o        Management Interviews

o        Rapid Workflow Process Modeling SessionsTM

o        City Wide Needs Assessment Findings

3.       Prioritize Systems Needs and Requirements

4.       Provide Project Progress/Status Reports

5.       Identify Alternate Information Systems Solutions

6.       Review Staffing and Educational Needs

o        MIS Staffing

o        Training Requirements

7.       Develop Detailed Master Plan

o        Develop Detailed Cost Estimate

o        Prepare Cost/Benefit Analysis

o        Prepare Detailed Master Plan & Schedule

8.       Plan and Administer the Execution of Project Activities

9.       Present Final Master Plan: Steering Committee City Council


City of San Jose IT Strategic Plan, New City Hall (1998)

Brief Description:

ThirdWave was retained by HOK Consulting, one of the premier Architectural/Planning firms in the world, to participate in the development of a Master Plan for the new City Hall to be built for the capital of Silicon Valley. As a major undertaking for the City, ThirdWave was tasked to develop the IT Component of the Master Plan, in which we were to think of how the government work place might function 50 years in the future!Working as part of the HOK City Hall design team, our scope of work included the following tasks:

1.       Conduct Orientation and Planning Sessions

2.       Perform City Wide Needs Assessment

o        Management Visioneering Interviews

o        Hold Rapid Workflow Modeling SessionsTM

o        Document Summary of Findings

3.       Prioritize Systems Needs & Requirements

4.       Provide Status Reporting to City's Executive Committee

5.       Identify Strategic Information Systems Solutions

6.       Review Staffing and Educational Needs

7.       Develop 3 Year Detailed Master Plan

o        Develop Cost Estimate

o        Prepare Detailed Master Plan and Schedule

8.       Plan and Administer the Execution of All Project Activities

9.       Present Final Master Plan to Steering Committee and City Council


City of Los Angeles Strategic CADD Strategy (1988)

Brief Description:

Carried out Enterprise-wide information technology analysis for 23 divisions in the Bureau of Engineering, Department of Public Works:

  • Architectural Division: Facilities management/architectural design
  • Central District: Street and storm drain design
  • City Administrative Officer: Financial and budgeting issues
  • Design Research/Standards Div: Construction tech. Stds.
  • Hyperion Engineering Division: Wastewater systems design
  • Information Services Department: Citywide MIS issues
  • Land Development & Mapping Div: Cadastral design/mapping
  • Project Management Division: Planned capital Improvements
  • Survey Division: Civil and survey function, design and drafting
  • Structural Division: Structural and bridge design and analysis
  • Valley District: Street and storm drain design and drafting
  • Wastewater Engineering Systems Div: Wastewater design
  • Wastewater Program Management Div: Const. management
  • West Los Angeles District: Mapping, street, storm drain/sewer
  • Harbor District: Mapping, street, storm drain and sewer design
  • Hyperion Construction Division: Wastewater Const. Mgmt.
  • Tillman Construction Division: Wastewater Const. Mgmt.
  • Assessment Division: Real estate assessment
  • Real Estate Division: Real estate acquisition
  • Construction Division: Cost estimating, change order processing for public works
  • Survey District Offices: Valley, West LA, Pipertech, Harbor district engineering

The project scope included carrying out the following tasks:

1.       Strategic Information Technology Requirements Study

2.       Develop Bureau/Citywide IT Strategy & Request for Proposal

3.       Evaluation & Selection Phase













Mission Statement:

The purpose of the Division of Master Planning is to plan comprehensively all aspects of land, environment, economy, and transportation affecting the future character, composition, and viability of Bergen County. The objective of Master Planning is to effectively and comprehensively think and plan in a matter that is consistent with sound regional planning principals.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1)      Development and Creation of the County Master Plan

The primary intent of the Division of Master Planning is to develop and create a new Master Plan for the County of Bergen. The division will pursue intergovernmental coordination with all 70 municipalities to ensure that the County Master Plan as well as each municipality’s master plan is generally consistent with each other. Moreover, the County Master Plan will provide municipalities with a regional framework for their local planning process. The development of the County Master Plan will also include an extensive public outreach component (for example, public meetings and hearings) to ensure that there is sufficient public discussion and feedback. Lastly, the County Master Plan will be fully in accordance with the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law as well as consistent with the goals and objectives of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan. The Master Plan will be comprised of nine (9) elements or sub-plans as shown below:

A)      Land Use Plan

B)      Transportation Plan

C)      Environmental Plan

D)      Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Plan

E)      Housing Plan

F)      Utilities Plan

G)      Economic Redevelopment Plan

H)      Community Facilities Plan

I)       Demographic and Data Profile

Along with preparing and developing a new Master Plan, the County will develop of a new Official County Map, which will show and delineate all Municipal and County Boundaries, County Streets and Roads, Right-of-Way, Viaducts, Culverts, Bridges, Waterways and Waterbodies, Forest Areas, Parks and Open Space Areas and other public ways or facilities within the County.

County Master Plan Background

Bergen County’s last Master Plan was written and formally adopted on December 10, 1962 and amended March 14, 1966 (the oldest in the State of New Jersey). In 1968, Bergen County initiated the County Comprehensive Plan program, which studied and developed recommendations on the present and future needs for basic County facilities. Each report would study and review a particular element of the Master Plan and was published in the form of a County Report. Department records showed that there have been 26 reports published from 1969 (Report 1, Physical Characteristics) to 1975 (Report 26, Open Space and Recreation Inventory). However, since 1975 the only documents that are somewhat related to county master planning, have been several Cross Acceptance reports to the State Planning Commission written in 1989 and 1998. These reports were required as part of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan

(SDRP, 2000).

2)      Maintain Municipal Master Plan Files

The Division will catalog and maintain all existing and future Master Plans and associated amendments for the 70 municipalities and regional agencies (New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Palisades Interstate Park Commission) within the County in accordance with the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law.

3)      Intergovernmental Master Plan Coordination

The Division will pursue extensive intergovernmental coordination with all 70 municipalities and regional agencies to ensure that the County Master Plan is generally consistent with each other. In addition, the Division of Master Planning will assist the Division of Regional Planning and Transportation with the Cross-Acceptance and Plan Endorsement process in order to ensure that the State Plan is updated and consistent with all levels of local governmental master planning.

4)      Regional Contribution Agreements

In accordance with the New Jersey Fair Housing Act and COAH (Council On Affordable Housing) Regulations, all inter-county municipal housing agreements and applications involving Regional Contribution Agreements will be reviewed by the Division of Master Planning and the County Planning Board for approval.

RCA list in Bergen County

Substantive Rules of the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing: Chapter 6

5)         Environmental and Stormwater County Policies and Review

Based upon NJDEP’s (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) New Stormwater Regulations, the County has been designated as the “Review Agency” to formally review Municipal Stormwater Plans and Ordinances.

**Meeting Announcement**

As a follow-up to the Bergen County Municipal Stormwater Workshop which was held on September 9, the County will hold its first Sector Stormwater Management Meeting on October 14, 2004 at 10:00 AM for municipalities within the Central Bergen and Southwest Bergen Sectors. View Bergen County Sector Map

Meeting Location:    

Dept. of Planning & Economic Development
One Bergen County Plaza, 4th Floor
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Contact Person:        

Peter Kortright (201-336-6430)


Central Bergen         

Southwest Bergen    

Elmwood Park           
Fair Lawn
New Milford
River Edge
Rochelle Park
Saddle Brook

Cliffside Park
Fort Lee
Palisades Park
Ridgefield Park


The County is also partnering with NJDEP on the Watershed Management Area policies and initiatives (Watershed Areas 3, 4 and 5). The Division of Master Planning will assist the Division of Land Use and Development Review in their review of site plans and subdivisions that involve the impact of development proposals on County roads and/or drainage facilities.


















Master Plan


A Plan for Success

This page describes master planning efforts now underway at the Wastewater Utility Division. It tells about the areas and alternatives the Master Plan project team is considering and gives you the opportunity to comment via email.
Watch this page and the Tours & Events page for new information on the Master Plan as it develops.

Why a Master Plan?

Master Plan Activities

What Are the Issues?

Some Examples

How You Can Participate

Why a Master Plan?

Wastewater facilities such as sewers, odor control stations, pumps and treatment plants are very expensive to build, but last a long time. Long-term planning is important, because–for example–putting the right size of pipe into the ground to serve customer needs for the next 20 to 40 years is much less expensive that replacing a pipe that is too small every few years. Engineers anticipate that all of the improvements that will be needed to meet growing demand over the 20-year planning period will cost an estimated $250 million.

The Master Plan forecasts long-term needs and how to meet them in the least costly and most environmentally sensitive ways. It looks at the technologies available and where people and businesses will locate over the next 20 years. And it looks at which areas the City may serve in the future and how much wastewater those areas are likely to create.

Albuquerque has been working to develop and update its long-range wastewater plans for some time. The current effort is the third phase of planning that has taken place over the past seven years. The Division has placed high priority on working with Bernalillo County to extend service to the North and South Valley areas in order to protect our underground water supply from contamination.

Master Plan Activities

The Master Plan is being prepared over a period of about 27 months. Here's the schedule.

To devise a sound Master Plan, the Wastewater Utility Division is carrying out several tasks, including:

*       Updating wastewater flow projections on the basis of city and county growth forecasts.

*       Creating computer simulations of how the sewer system and various treatment facilities could handle flows.

*       Studying current and future water quality requirements.

*       Talking with the public.

*       Developing alternative ways to treat wastewater and reclaim and recycle resources.

*       Evaluating alternative plans.

*       Recommending solutions and an implementation timeline.

What are the Issues?

Some of the big questions to be answered in formulating the Master Plan revolve around issues such as:

*       How to accommodate new wastewater flows that will come from a larger population, including a great deal of growth on the West Side.

*       How to ensure that new wastewater systems will meet future treatment needs and that water quality standards will be maintained.

*       Finding economically feasible ways to reclaim and recycle as many resources as possible–including water, biosolids, methane gas and heat.

*       Whether to add new or "satellite" treatment plants in other areas of the system or keep all treatment at the Southside site.

*       Continuing to ensure the safety of wastewater employees, the public and the environment.

*       Ensuring the most competitive, high quality service to customers.

Some Examples

The Master Plan will study innovative concepts that represent departures from the conventional approach to wastewater treatment.

One example is the Plan's focus on the potential for locating one or more relatively small satellite treatment facilities farther north (at higher elevations) in the system. These plants would intercept wastewater flows that now move by gravity to the Southside Plant. Some or all of the water reclaimed at these plants might be recycled for use as irrigation water at parks and other large turf areas. Capturing this wastewater at higher elevations in the system might eliminate the need for expansion at the Southside Plant.

As growth continues, areas now served by individual septic systems may need to change their wastewater disposal practices to protect the quality of underground water supplies and the environment. Complex agreements and payment arrangements might be needed to connect such areas to the centralized system or to provide some other solution.

The biosolids that are a byproduct of the wastewater treatment system might be reclaimed on a larger scale for use as a fertilizer or soil amendment. Albuquerque's wastewater contains very few heavy metals or other contaminants, which means that the resulting product is of very high quality. A composting facility already recycles some biosolids and might be expanded.

If the standards restricting discharge of waters to the river become considerably more stringent, the water leaving the plant may have to approach drinking water quality to be discharged to the Rio Grande. Perhaps this clean, reclaimed water could be better used by customers for irrigation or other purposes.

How You Can Participate

The Master Plan team welcomes your comments at any time during the project. A public hearing will be held once a recommended plan has been formulated.

Check Tours & Events for updates on meeting locations and times or call 873-7068 or 873-7040 for information