Wednesday, 7 December 2011

NGOs insist Mepa should turn down substation application to serve boathouses

NGOs insist Mepa should turn down substation application to serve boathouses

Seven environmental NGOs insisted today that the Mepa Board must turn down an application by Enemalta to build an electricity sub-station in Marfa - serving people who built 'boathouses' without permits.

The board is due to decide on the application on January 6.

The NGOs are the Ramblers Association of Malta, Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Din L-Art Helwa, Malta Organic and Agriculture Movement, Nature Trust Malta, Friends of the Earth Malta and Birdlife Malta.

"Approving such an application would simply encourage more of the building abuse that Mepa claims it is trying to stamp out. As such, an approval of this application will go down in the annals of our history as one of the most irresponsible, illegal and unjust precedents that MEPA has ever set," the NGOs said.

"For a member of the European Union that prides itself on its sense of democracy and justice to allow prime land to be illegally seized, and subsequently have this occupation blessed by a government desperate for votes on the eve of not one but two elections, is a betrayal of every tax-paying citizen on these Islands," the NGOs said.

They said the area of 67,000 sq mt of land at Armier bay is illegally occupied by 800 illegal structures, "but if the squatters' political arm-twisting is successful, this will increase tremendously."

The NGOs explained that an agreement signed with the Nationalist government on the eve of the 2003 election could extend the existing 67,000 square meters to around 231,000 square meters or 230 tumuli of public land, against an annual rent of €350,000. The pledge was renewed by the leader of the Nationalist Party just before the 2008 elections when he committed himself to “consult with Mepa” on the pending applications. The squatters’ lobby has also made back-room agreements with the LP just before the last two national elections, the NGOs said.

In 2004, Armier Developments, the squatters’ company, submitted applications proposing the development of 1,589 rooms, five playgrounds and a bowls pitch, a minimarket, three restaurants, a two-storey garage, three community centres and a clinic in an area spanning Ramlet il-Qortin, Ta’ Macca u l-Armier, the Barriera tal-Ahrax quarry, Little Armier and the Torri l-Abjad zone.

Parts of these areas are supposedly protected as Areas of Ecological Importance (Habitat Directive), Special Protection Area (Birds Directive), Area of Ecological Importance/Site of Scientific Importance and Special Area of Conservation - International Importance.

"The existing squatters have in the past convinced Enemalta to supply electricity to their habitations. This was not enough – they have also convinced Enemalta to apply for a new substation in order to strengthen the supply to their 'boathouses', the NGOs said.

The Mepa case officer has recommended refusal by the Mepa board on the basis that this substation would benefit illegal development in the area.

In his report he 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".

The Planning Directorate is therefore advising the MEPA board to turn down this application.

Tony Zammit

James McIntosh

Dec 8th, 13:02

What a Government gives out , a government can take away. This has happened all over the world and locally since Governments were formed.
It seems that in Malta the more acute the disregard of law the more reward there is for the same lawlessness.

Wilfred Camilleri

Dec 7th, 19:25

Don't pin this just on the PN. The PL is just as guilty! Outrage should be directed at both parties. It's only when the leaders of either or both parties state unequivocally that they will demolish all illegal buildings wherever they may be can voters make a decision which party to vote for.

M Farrugia

Dec 7th, 20:18

Wifred Camiller@ very well said. it is the responsibility of both political parties and not of the government only. Hope that Rodrick Galdes on this occaiosn will vote against the building of the substation as he did in many other cases.

Joseph Calleja

Dec 7th, 21:18

Don't blame the PN or PL entirely. These so called Boat Houses are there to stay and one of the reasons is that a lot of them are owned by politicians and or their families. If like everybody says, these boat houses are illegal, How come they are afforded all utilities, including water, electricity and sewer? Can anybody really say where the raw sewage from these and all other boat houses on the islands of Malta and Gozo end up? Somebody had mentioned that some of that raw sewage is ending up in the sea water where adults, children and tourists like to swim. I believe that Dwejra was one of these places? Too many votes involved. Does anybody care? Don't depend on our government, but maybe Astrid Vella can answer that question.

Joseph N. Attard

Dec 8th, 00:29

Mr. Camilleri, please do not misunderstand me. The whole rot, like many other rotten things in the 1970's and early eaighties, started under a Labour Party government. But the fact is that the PN has not reversed these glaring illegalities and injustices. Indeed, it is reported that the PN has promised certain things to these land robbers before both the 2003 and 2008 elections. As Mr.Farrugia says, it is the responsibility of both political parties. But even if the PL tries to make political mileage out of the whole thing, the PN should not follow suit. I still maintain that it stands to gain more than it will lose be such a courageous decision.

Joe Gatt

Yesterday, 09:12

Joseph Calleja

Dec 7th, 21:18
These so called Boat Houses are there to stay and one of the reasons is that a lot of them are owned by politicians and or their families.

Complaints alone, in Malta will acheive no results.
Name and shame these Individuals, at Election Time,


It is up to the Honest Maltese to clean up the Mess.

M Farrugia

Dec 7th, 20:07

have you already forgotten that enemalta is just a puppet on a string.

M Farrugia

Dec 7th, 20:16

Mr. Kreupl, this is a very old story which started more than 35/40 years ago. I agree with you that the MEPA need to start saying NO to the present government not on this case only but on many other cases. I do not know whether you was in Malta when the Laboutr Patry legalised a number of caravan and rooms which were illegally set up at the top of Ghadira. At that time no one uttered a single word. When the Nationalist government in the 90's tried to remove some of the rooms at armier bay, he did ot find any co-opeation from anyone. This is a poltical story which both political parties in Malta have their thumb in it. If they really want to eradicate this illegality they must meet together and support each other. If this is not done then both parties will be defending their poltical interest not to loose vote. Hope that if this is approved the Labour Party will issue a statement as it happenes in many other cases to critise the MEPA board decision. We have to wait and see what is going to happen.

Mr Francis Isherwood

Dec 7th, 18:20

And what about all the illegal buildings in St Thomas Bay, Lambordi, some even have electrical supplies without a meter??? where is the enforcement officer, he is supposed to visit his 'area' at least two times per week, and two new buildings have been built since last Christmas, and one has been extended to rival South Folks

Collen Isherwood

Joe Vella

Dec 7th, 18:41

D.Xerri the problem is that the PN is always left to CLEAN-UP IL-HNIZIRIJIET tal PL. It was during the PL time hat the boat houses were build and provided with electricity. Amongst them there were those that sat on Th Government side in the House of Representatives

Wilfred Camilleri

Dec 7th, 19:15

Both political parties are guilty in this instance. Both parties must commit on Parliament to end this farce. Both parties are afraid to lose votes. I haven't heard either leader stating in public in clear terms that they will bring an end to this farce.

M Farrugia

Dec 7th, 20:23

il-Gvern nazzjonlista ipprova iwaqqa xi uhdu min dawn id-djar imma kulhadd jaf li sab resistenza mis-sidien. IL-Labour Party tal-1996-1998 ma ghamel xejn lanqas sabiex dawn il-illegalitajiet jitnehhew. Anzi nafu li hafna min dawn in-nies li jokkupaw dawn il-kmamar ilegali itajru il-bandiera tal-labour fuq il-kmamar f;certa okkazzjonijet. L-istess jaghmlu dawk tal-ghadira li kien il-labour partu li taghom il-permess ghax huma min huma fil-maggoranza taghhom. Allura tajjeb li nghidu li ma hemmx dak jew dan il-gvern li huwa f'izball imma il-politikanti kollha li matul dawn l-ahhar 40 sena kienu fit-tmexxija.

M Farrugia

Dec 7th, 20:27

naqbel mieghek mija fil-mija ikser il-ligi u llum jew ghada b'xi mod jew iehor tigi ippremjat. Dur dawra ma malta u ara kemm hawn lukandi, restauranti blokok ta flats li inbnew mhux skond il-permess u qisu ma gara xejn. Hekk jitmexxa dan il-pajjiz dawn ghax gfhandhom is-sahha hadd ma jista ghalihom, u inti jekk taghmel xi haga hazina tal-MEPA jeqerduk bl-inkwiet li jaghtuk. Taf ghaliex ghax inti dajjef bhali.

Edward Mallia

Dec 7th, 17:10

Come on Mr. Camilleri. By this morning the government should have already fired the Mepa board and the chairman for their "performance" last Monday in granting an IPPC permit to the Delimara Extension to burn Heavy Fuel Oil, on palpably fake arguments. And please remember that we are in election mode already.
What is the betting on Minister Fenech putting down water and electricity charges by or soon after the next Budget? He has already said that now is not the time to put them up, possibly to safeguard the living standards of the poor "boathouse" occupants.

Wilfred Camilleri

Dec 7th, 18:51

Mr. Mallia, let's fight one battle at a time.

This is about people stealing public land for their personal use with the government's blessing. Both parties are guilty of this particular injustice because both parties do not have the guts to come out and state unequivocally that they will remove all illegal buildings on public land (not just selectively removing buildings to appear being tough) without compensation. Both parties should commit in Parliament that people occupying public land illegally have a fixed number of months to remove their belongings before the police and the AFM clear them out and raze their buildings. Anyone resisting such an order should be hauled to jail and charged with illegal use of public property and breaking the law. In other countries, people doing this would be forced to pay the cost of clearing the land and restoring the land to its previous state.

This is what this is about not the power station.

Simon Oosterman

Dec 7th, 16:38

Well said

Giovann Demartino

Dec 7th, 17:50

And YOU are our President!

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