Sunday, 30 May 2010

Proposed Qala project designed to serve private interests - NGOs

Proposed Qala project designed to serve private interests - NGOs

Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar and the Ramblers’ Association have deplored the Malta Environment and Planning Authority’s handling of the public consultation on the Environment Impact Assessment of the proposed hotel, villas, apartments, and yacht marina at Hondoq ir-Rummien.

They said in a statement that In view of the fact that a sizeable crowd was expected, the Qala school hall was chosen as a large enough venue.

“Why then, was part of the hall partitioned off, reducing the space available?

“By the time the public arrived, over half the seats were already occupied by the pro-development lobby, which meant that some members of the public were told they could not be accommodated. Why did it have to be Paul Buttigieg of Moviment Harsien Hondoq to demand that the partitions be removed, and not the Chairman of the MEPA session,” they asked.

The organisations asked why did MEPA’s chairman uphold the development lobby’s demand that not a word was to be said in English, one of Malta’s official languages, even though a good number of residents were foreigners.

The NGOs argued that while dangling the job-creation carrot to gain permits to build hotels in outside development zones (ODZ) was a common device, the reality was that many of these hotels were using foreign, low-wage staff, rather than Gozitans.

The NGOs echoed MEPA’s Natural Heritage Advisory Committee in condemning the EIA for its obvious bias in favour of the project.

A dangerous precedent was also being set by the building of a ‘temporary’ road for developers’ trucks to motor through green fields and potential archaeology sites, a state of affairs never permitted before.

Similarly dangerous was the probability of anti-fouling and other hazardous chemicals leaching into a yacht marina adjacent to a popular swimming beach.

The Traffic Impact Statement, they said, did not reflect the reality of Qala’s narrow village roads, already overwhelmed by heavy vehicles.

The NGOs maintained that a National Park at Hondoq, along with heritage trails, an amphitheatre, organic farming, nature study facilities and improved beach facilities, would not only create local jobs but would do far more to attract tourists to Gozo than further over-development.

But the proposed project was designed to serve the private interests of a few people.

“The EIA tries to give the impression that the public is being catered for, while in reality this project will ride roughshod over the wishes and well-being of the Qala residents and the vast majority of the residents of Malta and Gozo,” they said.


Romano Cassar(3 hours, 13 minutes ago)
@ Salvu Felice Pace. Profit is OK, so long as it is a fair profit, and is not obtained to the detriment of others. These so-called developers have obtained land at dirt-cheap ODZ prices and want to build a residential complex on this ODZ land. Let them build on land scheduled for development if they want to make a fair profit. Then your comment might have made some sense. In the current situation, it is totally illogical.

Victor Borg
(10 hours, 25 minutes ago)
MEPA is of course an instrument of the government. But what the government is doing is hiding behind MEPA under the pretense that it is an independent authority.

The truth is this: it's the government that wants this project, and it will simply favour a few well-connected people.

I did a long analytical article about these issues in Gozo. The article was published in Destinations of the World News ( a Dubai-based international tourism-trade magazine that is ready by 30,000 international movers and shakers in the tourism industry. In the article I analysed these projects as well as eco-Gozo, which is probably the greatest joke of our time in Gozo.

Read the article here:

Read it and you will notice another thing - no Maltese newspaper ever publish articles of this type - doesn't that strike you are odd?

Continue fighting to protect our islands from the vultures - these vultures are in government and they are sitting the wolves.

Victor Borg

Joe Fenech
(10 hours, 54 minutes ago)
"Proposed Qala project designed to serve private interests - NGOs"

Isn't this VERY OBVIOUS!!!

Who would it benefit if not?

Create jobs for the locals? RUBBISH!!!! According to EU law you can't discriminate between locals and other EU nationals.

Stop taking the people for a ride!

Edward Camilleri
(12 hours, 6 minutes ago)
if we need 5 star hotels with marinas for tourists, then the Mgarr hotel should have been sustainable. Instead it was demolished to be replaced by appartments. Try to swim near the marina of Mgarr and see how clean it is. Before the marina the water used to be one of the cleanest.

Joe Morana
(10 hours, 58 minutes ago)
I have no doubts that this proposed project will pass through, just like the proposed il-Bukkett (xewk) project will despite the Government rhetoric re Eco -Gozo and all other MEPA and government psuedo pro environment bull.. ........t !!!.
Dak li ma rnexxilhux jkisser il- barrani se jeqirduh l-imprendituri u awtoritajiet Maltin.
Jekk hemm htiega ta' yacht marina ghax ma jkompliex jigi zivluppat il- port tal-Mgarr??? Ghajb!!!!.

(12 hours, 13 minutes ago)
@ Salvu Felice Pace.
Everyone knows your political affiliations, so your outing comes to me as no surprise........ I wonder though, whether you would have been so much in favour of such project should it have been proposed to take place further down the road where you live. Oh, I forgot. If Gonzi says yes you would have silently bowed your head too, no matter what!
How sadly pathetic.

Chris Finch
(12 hours, 17 minutes ago)
So the developers want to attract foreigners to this scheme, with their yachts and riches. Well any foreigners looking at investing in a property or yacht berth need only look at how the developers in this meeting have treated those foreigners who have already invested money in Gozo. What makes you think that once they have your money, they will treat you any better?
You will soon find another construction in front of your nice view if the developers think they can get more money.

Bernard Storace
(12 hours, 19 minutes ago)
As each project approaches and more often than not is passed with the blessing of MEPA and other interested parties in spite of positive opposition, I am of the opinion that the 'planning' part of MEPA should be taken away. They are as arrogant as the person in charge of the Authority. They have learnt by example, to ride roughshod over the majority of the peoples' wishes and comon sense.
If it is jobs they want to create in the hospitality business then they should start by replacing all the foreign blood currently employed in most of the hotels large and small; and elsewhere too.
Yes, it is true that the whole area, especially the valley, needs an uplift and a major cleanup but please not to the detriment of the entire area and the pleasure of countless hundreds who flock there in the summer months for their pleasure.
W Spencer(10 hours, 39 minutes ago)
Why is " foreign blood " employed in the hospitality industry ?

Could it be because, as EU citizens the foreigners are entitled to work anywhere in the EU ( Malta & Gozo included), just like Maltese / Gozitan citizens are entitled to, and do, work in other EU Countries ?

Could it be because, Maltese / Gozitans find it more financially beneficial to remain on Benefits with a little part time job on the side ??

Could it be because, unlike hospitality employees in other Countries, the Maltese / Gozitans, feel it is beneath them to serve / wait on foreigners ?.

Foreigners seem to manage paying the rent, running a car, feeding their Family, with an occasional night out, on the wages paid to them.

J Brincat(13 hours, 50 minutes ago)
Whist I appreciate the resistance put on by the NGOs, at the end of the day if the Government wants Hondoq ir-Rummien to be 'developped' then developped it would be. The government, through MEPA, always gets its way!
Isabelle Calleja(15 hours, 43 minutes ago)
This policy signals a government of the few, for the few, to the detriment of the many!!!!!
victor pulis(21 hours, 46 minutes ago)
'But the proposed project was designed to serve the private interests of a few people'

and to add insult to injury the powers that be expect the general public also known as the hoi polloi to thank them for the favour in return. What really hurts is the way these things are being done in a bare faced fashion and the environmental rapists aren't even trying to disguise their actions under subtlety at least.

Joseph Camilleri
(23 hours, 28 minutes ago)
What the Maltese Islands need is the preservation and protection of the very few natural beauty spots that still remain, both from turism poin of view and the maltese/gozitans who actually own this respect. The environment, land and sea alike, just cannot be ruined any more, enough is enough. The general public is a looser in such project games, with little or nothing to make good for the loss the cost of which is however pocketed by a few stake holders.

Good, so we go abroad to delight ourselves with the beauty of nature elsewhere, and expect turists to come over to enjoy ours - a sea that's getting filty, hotels and empty apartments, spoilt overtaken beaches, cranes and dust everywhere, a horizon that's getting unsightly, you name it.
W Spencer(11 hours, 48 minutes ago)
Absolutely correct, but this is Malta / Gozo, it will no doubt be approved.

" Developers Rule " okay !!

Salvu Felice Pace(1 day ago)
Without entering into the rights or wrongs of the Qala project I find the NGOs main statement laughable. Do they think that investors, foreigners or local, invest their money and employ thousands of workers because they are philantropists? Of course their investment serves their private interest, it's called profit. But is that a dirty word?

victor pulis
(12 hours ago)
There are ways and ways to make a profit. Enough said.

lesley kreupl
(1 day ago)
The whole project stinks of corruption with a capital C. After the demolition of the Mgarr Hotel Austin Walker promised that, that was the last hotel to be re-zoned into apartments. What is going to happen in a few years time to the project hotel when it goes bankrupt – if God forbid – it is built in the first place? More empty apartments to join the thousands already available?

It really is time for all parties involved to sit down together and discuss what is best for Gozo, and not for their own pockets. An awful lot of money has already been wasted on various things (?), but it is not too late to reach an amicable agreement.
Gozo has so much to offer, don't destroy it.

joe falzon
(1 day, 2 hours ago)
they could have left up the partition, they could have filled the hall with project supporters ---- no one is going to believe the nature-rapists! Why? The people of Qala have already spoken in a referendum with an absolute, overwhelming majority. The odd one out that played Judas and is now supporting the project has material interests at heart that need MEPA's blessing.

Gaby Micallef Trigona
(1 day, 2 hours ago)
NGOs keep up your good work!!!!

lesley kreupl
(1 day, 2 hours ago)
It must have been very embarrassing for the NGO's attending the meeting to witness how their fellow Maltese behaved, especially those acting in their official capacities.
One hopes that such unruly behaviour doesn't reach the foreign press and that the representatives of the German company about to invest here don't read the local papers.

L. Causon
(1 day, 2 hours ago)
MEPA and the Government alike should wake up to reality and accept that no amount of talk and lobbying will convince the Maltese and Gozitans alike that this project is not being proposed only for the benefit of the few. Even when the Gozo Local Plan was so conveniently changed in 2006, it struggles to try and find a justification to propose a mega development such as the one being put forward. This same plan talks about the area around Hondoq as being 'sensitive from an envoirnmental and landscape point of view'. It goes on to add that 'any interventions should compliment its sensitivity'. When it talks about the famous quarry area it makes it clear that any development should be of 'low density'. Surely the mega development being proposed with a 5 star hotel and over 300 flats does not fall within this brief. The Qala council has proposed an alternative plan to regenerate this area. This area is ODZ and should be respected as such.

charlie mizzi
(9 hours, 59 minutes ago)


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