COUNCILLORS in one of Bahrain's biggest governorates are to finally get their own headquarters after a 10-year wait.
A new BD1.2 million building for the Central Municipal Council is set to be built early next year.
It will replace the former Isa Town Municipality building currently being used by the Central Municipality's administrative and financial departments for council meetings.
Central councillors have been forced to move from one rented building to another since it came into existence in 2002 and are now leasing an apartment building in Sanad.
They have been involved in a tug-of-war with Southern Municipal Council members, who are occupying what they say should have been their headquarters in West Riffa.
All municipal buildings in Bahrain fell under the Centralised Municipalities Commission until 2001 before Bahrain was divided into five governorates, which brought the building under the ownership of the Central Municipality.
However, councillors from the Southern Governorate refused to relinquish the building, saying that there were no proper alternatives available.
They have since moved into a rented apartment building in the Southern Governorate, but are still meeting in the disputed building that is now occupied by Southern Municipality director-general Saleh Al Fadhala.
"We have lost hope that the Southern Municipal Council will return our building, despite acknowledging it's ours and that their meetings in it are up to legal debate on whether it is lawful or not since they are not within the Southern Governorate boundaries," said Central Municipal Council chairman Abdulrazzak Al Hattab.
"Either we continue as our predecessors in another 10-year war on the building or start looking for alternative solutions which is what we did.
"We can't go on renting a building in Sanad while our work is expanding, which requires more offices, staff and space to meet visitors.
"That is why we have proposed a new premises for the council, which will see our current building in Isa Town knocked down and rebuilt and it has been approved by Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi."
"The designs are ready and work just awaits a contractor and by early next year work will hopefully begin as our 10 year suffering, which will be probably 13 years, will be over."