Dubai: Residents of The Arabian Ranches claim their swimming pools and tennis courts are being used by coaching schools to train people from outside the community.
They say use of common facilities by "commercial interests" is not only depriving residents of their right to avail of them at will, but also causing overcrowding of the area and posing a security threat.
These concerns were raised by residents of several clusters in the community. "My sons never get a chance to use the tennis courts as they are always booked," said a mother of three who lives in the Al Reem cluster. "This has become a huge problem over the past one month."
A resident of Saheel said, "Coaching classes for Ranches residents are fine but not for those coming from outside. We pay a service fee for the upkeep of the community pools, tennis courts etc. And we should be able to use them if we want to."
There were many complaints on the community online forum too. "Every day a swimming teacher is teaching kids. Every day the car park is full," said a resident of Savannah.
A Hattan resident claimed that a company takes swimming classes for the whole afternoon and early evenings on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The post added that none of the people at the pool the resident saw on a particular Monday lived in Hattan. "Given the fact that I myself have lived in Hattan for three years and there are only 80 houses, it's easy for me to tell," the post stated.
However, an Emaar spokesperson told XPRESS, "A training policy to manage the use of recreation facilities, including tennis courts and swimming pools, has been in place for more than a year. Based on feedback from many residents that they want professional coaches … it was agreed that training organisations should be allowed to conduct classes if they met a number of conditions."
"It was agreed that the organisations would pay a community administration fee for use of the facilities, the proceeds of which are fully credited to the community account as income."
"All training organisations and staff must have necessary licences, documentation and insurance. They are permitted to use the facilities only during time slots that are clearly defined and the training programmes are open only for owners and residents of the community."
"To ensure this, our security personnel have started making regular spot checks. Where instances of non-residents taking part in the training programmes are noted, appropriate action is being taken to ensure compliance by training organisations. Also, special signage has been displayed explaining that the facilities are for the exclusive use of Ranches residents and owners."
"An easy-to-use online reservation facility is in place for booking slots at the tennis courts for the convenience of the community residents not utilising training. We are working with the representative committee elected by the owners to recommend changes to the training policy to ensure maximum availability of facilities to residents during peak hours," the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson of one of the sports facilities which trains the community told XPRESS, "We train around 600 residents, a majority of them kids under 14. Like any other trainer, we comply with Emaar's trainer policy."
"We have been told that we can train only residents of the Arabian Ranches within the community, not those from neighbouring areas like Motor City. We are strictly adhering to that."