SOS Hondoq News

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sociologist labels Hondoq ir-Rummien "a dumping site"

Published on by David Vella on 21st May 2007

In his analysis of the social implications of the proposed mega real estate and yacht marina project at the picturesque Hondoq ir-Rummien beach in Qala, Professor Mario Vassallo describes the beach and the surrounding Qala Creek as “nothing but a dumping site”.

Environmental organisations currently studying the first draft of the environmental impact assessment of the proposed project are alarmed at the way that one of the quaintest and cleanest coastlines in Gozo is described as a “dumping site”. has seen the social report prepared as part of a draft multi-volume environmental impact assessment that has recently been handed to a number of stakeholders for an initial viewing before it is finalised and opened to the public for consultation.

"Definitely positive"In the report, Professor Vassallo describes the project as a “win-win” scenario for Gozitans and for future generations. “The overall social impact of the project is definitely positive, despite the residue of opposition to it. It will transform what is currently a dumping site into a vibrant centre of activity” Prof Vassallo’s report concludes.
The Hondoq ir-Rummien beach and the Qala Creek areas are described as a “dumping site” at least twice in the same report. In another part of the report, the writer states that the project’s “viability, in all its aspects depends on whether the project can succeed as a whole, transforming the area which at present is nothing but a dumping site into a success story that brings adequate returns to the initiator, and multiplier effects for the Maltese, and even more specifically for the Gozitan economy”.

The report seems to forget the public statements made by numerous environmental organisations, which emphasise the ecological importance of the site in question.

No mention of NGOs' oppositionThe developers are proposing to turn the Hondoq bay, and the surrounding green area and a disused quarry into a 170-bed hotel, over 25 self catering villas, 60 self catering units, 200 multi-ownership residences, 731 underground parking spaces, 10 retail units, 5 dining facilities and a yacht marina for between 100 to 150 crafts.

In reaction to the announcement of the project, environmental organisations immediately objected, mostly due to the fact that Hondoq ir-Rummien is an outside development zone. When government ordered the extension of the development zones in Malta and Gozo in 2006, it had boasted that this will effectively lead to the termination of development permits for building in green areas. Yet, a few weeks after the new development boundaries were endorsed last summer, members of the same government expressed their approval for the Hondoq ir-Rummien project.

In their comments in reaction to the proposed project, environmental NGOs said “Are we really ready to risk one of the safest and cleanest of waters for a Marina project that can be sited elsewhere? It would be folly… the uniqueness of this bay is accentuated by the water quality status being described as “quite pristine and relatively free from most potential marine contaminants”.