Friday, 28 March 2008

Ramblers outraged at Dwejra structure

From The Times of Malta

The Ramblers Association has revoked the stand of tolerance it had taken on the sanctioning of boathouses in Dwejra after it learnt that money collected as fines from the controversial mass sanctioning is contributing to further environmental plunder of the landscape "in form of a cafeteria".

The association said it had reluctantly taken a position of tolerance earlier this year when the benefits to the environment of the entire Dwejra Park plan appeared to outweigh the disadvantage of accepting the illegal structures.

The association has now declared itself against all sanctioning of illegal constructions outside the development zone and called for their immediate removal by direct action as prescribed on paper by Mepa.

Alex Vella, secretary of the association, said irregularities should never be considered for sanctioning as more irregularities are provoked. Dwejra has been proposed as a candidate for Unseco World Heritage Site and is already part of the Natura 2000 network of European natural heritage, but in truth the shacks and the concrete structure make a mockery of a nature site, Mr Vella said.

Mepa last night reacted to the Ramblers' statement, saying it was not true that fines collected from the sanctioning of the boathouses are being used for the construction of a cafeteria.

Earlier this week Mepa stopped the construction of the structure, an Interpretative Centre, and is now investigating the relationship between the original plans and the current structure.

Mepa recently sanctioned a number of existing boathouses in the area as part of an integrated Heritage Park Action Plan.

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