Sunday, 4 March 2012

4th March 2012 Ghajn Tuffieha-Gnejna Part 1

Good weather for today's walk, ably led by Marie Louise.

Some photos below.

More in Part 2

4th March 2012 Ghajn Tuffieha-Gnejna Part 2

4th March 2012 Ghajn Tuffieha-Gnejna Part 3

Photos by Censu Fenech

NGOs ask about transfer of land at Hondoq

NGOs ask about transfer of land at Hondoq

(Adds Lands Department reaction)

Eight environmental organisations have asked to be informed as to whether any requests for transfer of land at Hondoq Bay have been received by the Lands Department.

Moviment Harsien Hondoq, FAA, Ramblers, Nature Trust, Wirt Ghawdex, FoE Malta, Din l-Art Helwa and GUG said in a statement that Hondoq ir-Rummien's planning history began with the 1969 expropriation of Hondoq Quarry including the site of the Reverse Osmosis plant, to provide stone for the Mgarr breakwater.

In 1988, Gozo Prestige Holidays entered into a 'promise of sale' with the previous owners, the Augustinian Brothers, depending on full development permits being acquired.

That same year Qala council applied to convert the area into a national park, but the permit fees required by Mepa did not make this feasible at the time.

In June 2002, the land was returned to the Augustinian Brothers, excluding the site of the reverse osmosis plant.

In July that year, developers put in an application for the Qala Creek Project, despite the area's ODZ status, and the fact that the proposal violated the draft local plan published in June 2002, agreed upon by Qala council and Mepa. This stated: "The preferred use is to reclaim the area either for agricultural use or afforestation."

The organisations said that the slightly modified Qala Creek development project was again presented to Mepa in January 2006, but it was still contrary to the draft local plan and ODZ status.

However, these issues were 'resolved' when the final local plan was published in August that year.

This had been changed without the knowledge or approval of Qala council or the public, and now stated: "The preferred use is to sensitively develop the area. Tourism and marine related development may be considered by Mepa."

The organisations said that Mepa's Environment Protection Directorate took three years to get a non-biased EIS of acceptable quality from the developers, until finally a "barely certifiable version" was received. Subsequently the EPD recommended the project's refusal in mid-2011.

But before the Mepa board could give its final decision on the project, the developers withdrew the original proposal, and suggested a new one in late 2011, replacing the marina with a swimming lagoon, despite the developers previous insistence that the marina was essential to the project's success.

This proposal went beyond the footprint of the original application, hence Mepa requested that the developers submit a totally new application. The developers appealed and the process is ongoing.

The additional footprint is the land with the reverse osmosis plant, which is still government-owned. The developers want to demolish the plant and replace it with a public car park. In doing so, they gain extra space within the original project area, the organisations said.

They said that in accordance with the Development Planning Act, the Hondoq Creek developers notified the Land Department of their intentions.

The organisations insisted on an urgent public reply from the Lands Department as to whether any requests for the transfer of this land had been received.

They asked the authorities to clearly state their stand on this transfer and on the proposed development.

The organisations said they felt very strongly about the site being handed over for speculative purposes.


In a reaction, the Lands Department said it was not aware of any request for transfer of Land at Hondoq.

However, the required check will be made and a reply will be given in the coming days.

A spokesman said that the NGOs should have first submitted their request on a weekday so that it could be answered.

C Galea

Yesterday, 22:17

Severe bending of what??

Few questions to answer

Did they apply to built on Gov land??

Did they intend to use part ofthe area to built a tiny car park so the big car park will be moved to make way for the promised Swimming Lagoon / Yacht Marina ,Later

It looks like this press release that all these Ngo`s have here is telling us what we will be up to should the Hondoq permit goes ahead .

NGO`S Watch out for us we need Hondoq

Kleaven Maniscalco

Today, 02:10

Sorry but such information is sensitive and i am bou
nd by professional trust not to give it. All I can say is that your speculations are unfounded and they go at a tangent from the truth. All I can tell you is that no the carpark was not shifted to make way for the lagoon. It is more simple then that and involves no corruption at all.


Today, 01:44


Kleaven Maniscalco

Yesterday, 20:58

I think you have the wrong Idea what ODZ means. ODZ does not mean no development zone. It is just that it is outside the schemed zone. In fact this area has a policy for itself which is QALA-GZ-3 and QALA-GZ-4

James Tyrrell

Yesterday, 13:08

And the reason it is not John is because people like yourself spend your time criticising NGO who are trying to do their best for the country instead of doing what you can to help them. You say that Gozo needs 'sustained' development which gives us all the impression that you are either a developer or support the developers in their rape of the islands. Perhaps you meant to say sustainable development!

Astrid Vella

Yesterday, 15:09

Indeed John, had you looked into our proposals available on our websites, instead of rushing to criticise the NGOs, you would have seen that our proposals for Hondoq echo yours almost to the letter: a students' field-work hostel on the site of the old desalination plant, a nature/heritage park, managed parking and a public beach.

Again, although most of the damage in the valley between Nadur, Xewkija and Victoria was done before most of us were in existence, you don't seem aware of the fact that FAA is challenging the latest proposals to build TWO mega-supermarkets in the remaining part of the valley, earmarked as an 'Eco-Gozo' site. I look forward to your joining us to help fight this degradation. You can contact us on

joseph saliba

Yesterday, 16:57

Here's hoping nobody is promising that the permit would be issued if as soon as we are in power.

James Tyrrell

Yesterday, 13:01

I would say that's because the PL proposal is nothing more than pre-election crap. Something similar to GonziPN promising to reduce prices and create jobs and then after the election the reverse happens. I'm sure the NGO's have better things to do than comment on things which will never happen.

Astrid Vella

Yesterday, 15:19

Mr Busuttil, FAA replied to the PL proposal for Hondoq on the very article where this proposal was announced:

However we have far too much to cope with assessing the many damaging applications that are still being submitted to use our precious resources on proposals that have not progressed more than that.

It is funny how many comments are popping up which would be proven wrong with the most
basic of homework. It sounds like some pro-development interests are running scared in the run-up to elections, and want to discredit the sustainability lobby at all costs.

C Galea