Friday, December 9, 2011
‘Boathouses must not get power supply’
Seven environmental groups are appealing to the planning authority to refuse a request to build an Enemalta substation to provide electricity to the illegal Armier boathouses.
Approving this application “will go down in the annals of our history as one of the most irresponsible, illegal and unjust precedents the planning authority has ever set,” the groups said in a statement.
Ramblers Association of Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Malta Organic and Agriculture Movement, Nature Trust Malta, Friends of the Earth and BirdLife are “strongly urging” the planning authority board to refuse the application, in line with the case officer’s recommendation. The request comes up for decision next month. The substation, for which an application was filed by Enemalta in 2007, would strengthen the power supply to the estimated 800 illegal boathouses built in the protected ecological area of Armier, the groups said.
“The existing squatters have, in the past, convinced Enemalta to supply electricity to their habitations. This was not enough – they also convinced Enemalta to apply for a new substation,” they argued.
The case officer, “rightly so”, recommended the development for refusal, as illegal development in the area would benefit from it.
The seven groups quoted the case officer report which said: “There is no reason, from a planning point of view, as to why the substation should be permitted, considering how the proposed structure is aimed at providing services to beach rooms that are used as illegal holiday homes proposed to be demolished through the structure plan policies.
“Approving this application will simply encourage more building abuse that the planning authority claims it is trying to stamp out,” the groups said.