Professor Mario Vassallo’s statement that Hondoq ir-Rumien is "a dumping site", contradicts government’s own website ‘gozo.gov.mt’, which gives a completely different picture of the picturesque bay, the Graffitti Movement states.
Last week, maltastar.com revealed that in the sociological impact assessment on the proposed mega real estate and yacht marina project at the picturesque Hondoq ir-Rummien beach in Qala, Professor Vassallo describes the beach and the surrounding Qala Creek as "nothing but a dumping site".
In a statement, local NGO Graffitti states that Prof Vassallo’s statement is contradicted by government’s official description of the bay in the website ‘gozo.gov.mt’.
“Very popular amongst Gozitans” – a dumping site?On this website, Hondoq ir-Rummien is classified as "a bay that can be acceded to from the village of Qala and lies opposite to the isle of Comino. The small sandy beach and its crystalline water makes Hondoq Bay very popular amongst the local population especially in summer. Apart from an ideal swimming zone, the bay is also renowned for diving, especially for beginners. During summer evenings a number of local families stay late in Hondoq to relax by their smoking barbeques enjoying the cool summer breeze".
Rather than a dumping site, this bay is one of the few remaining beaches in Gozo and the one mostly frequented by Gozitan people. Moreover, “a referendum which took place in 2002 among the Qala residents rejected the whole development."
Moviment Graffitti feel that MEPA should reject this project, as it falls out of the development scheme set by the MEPA itself.
Moviment Graffitti continued to say that the developers stressed that the project is not going to cause any harm or destruction to the natural environment because it is going to be in a quarry, but as the initial presentation of their proposed project shows, the area to be developed is much bigger then the quarry itself. “Even the coastal area is going to be taken up”.
The NGO also questioned the sustainability of the proposed mega development, when statistics shows that during peak seasons four stars hotels have only 35% of their rooms occupied. In fact major hotels in Gozo, such as the Mgarr Hotel, the Andar Hotel, the Atlantis Hotel, and others, have ceased to operate as hotels.
“Gozo cannot maintain a sustainable tourist industry if it continues to destroy its natural landscape by unsustainable development. Such mega projects like that in Hondoq will kill and destroy the distinct character of Gozo forever," said David Pisani, Graffitti’s spokesperson, “once the yatch Marina is constructed, the clear waters of Hondoq ir-Rummien will become heavily polluted. The heavy sea traffic envisaged which will enter and leave the creek just a few meters away from the beach will surely take its toll on the waters of the bay."
The movement suggests that rather than proposing such a mega project, the disused quarry can be rehabilitated into a small forest. “What Gozo needs is sustainable development that will differentiate the island of Gozo from Malta."