Published on The Sunday Times of Malta on 5th August, 2007 by Mr. Angelo Xerri.
In the first five days of July we had very strong winds blowing from the west. The beautiful Ramla Bay faces this wind, and in Marsalforn nobody could walk along the waterfront, let alone dream of swimming.
At Hondoq Ir-Rummien it was calm and perfect for bathing and water sports. It was the first week after school broke up for the summer holidays and numerous Gozitans, Maltese and many tourists had no alternative but to go to pristine Hondoq Bay. There were between 300 to 400 cars every day, plus coaches, and many said that even when staying in Xlendi or Marsalforn or any other place in Gozo, this was the beach they preferred.
My question to this government and MEPA is: if permits are issued for the Qala Creek project at Hondoq Ir-Rummien, where will they create another beach to replace this bay, and what will they tell the people who love this bay? Which other beach can they visit when in Gozo the wind blows from the north, west or northwest?
Please don't say that the beach is not going to be touched, because when the first boat comes in, the beach will be polluted. Just imagine what the proposed marina for 150 boats will do and all the garbage this project will bring with it.
In Gozo there are only two beaches: Ramla Bay, which is going to be devastated by MEPA on two slopes, and Hondoq Bay, which is in the pipeline for destruction by MEPA. If MEPA issues permits for Qala Creek based on the Environment Impact Assessment provided only by the developer, it only means one thing - that this government is not listening to the majority of the people, and is in the developer's pocket.
Over 85 per cent of Qala's residents are against this project, so are the people of Gozo, and many in Malta. More than half of the EIA does not make any sense, and is all in favour of the developer. It states that Hondoq Ir-Rummien is nothing but a dumping site and that every pebble and stone will be sterilised before it is put back in the sea. It says that the developer will install double glazing in every house on the roads the dump trucks use and so on.
Is the Immaculate Conception Sanctuary included in the double glazing project as these trucks are going to be driven only three feet from its walls? They missed out on air-conditioning and window cleaners. Qala residents should ask the quarry owners to install double glazing in the houses on the roads the many dump trucks use to service the quarries also. Isn't this the same thing? That is almost all the roads in this village, including Qala Square.
We agree that Hondoq Ir-Rummien could use a little tender loving care. There is a ten-metre fresh waterfall, a rare sight in the Maltese Islands, which used to fill part of the quarry with fresh water. It attracted a good number of wild birds. Bird Life Malta and others who love the environment, take note and visit hondoq.blogspot.com" target=_blank>soshondoq.blogspot.com
Children used to swim in this fresh water on the way to Hondoq Ir-Rummien Bay. This fresh water creek runs all year round, and is still running today, where many of the residents bring containers to fill with water for their plants and trees, saving on tap water. This water could create a beautiful water pond or two, that will bring in wildlife again.
The Qala Creek project will destroy all this forever. This area was always kept clean with cultivated fields. It was only over the last 20-odd years that this area was raped by previous administrations that allowed contractors to take everything they pleased and then left it in a mess.
This government should consider the people, their values and what they cherish, and not an EIA full of flaws and gimmicks.
To view the article, go to http://www.timesofmalta.com/core/article.php?id=270379&hilite=hondoq