Published on www.maltastar.com
on Wednesday 10th October, 2007 by David Vella.
Developers proposing a mega construction project at the pristine Hondoq ir-Rummien Bay are trying to convince owners of fields nearby to allow them to build a temporary road through their land to be used by construction trucks on their way to the quarries.
If they get their way, the developers will most probably be destroying an archaeological site located in the same fields, environmentalists are arguing. A road for large trucks through the fields will not only be an eyesore, but will also be destroying protected trees, valuable arable land, and traditional rubble walls that adorn the area’s rural scenery. Moreover, the archaeological site in the area, where Neolithic remains were discovered in the 1980s, has never been thoroughly studied. If the site is destroyed, any potential findings will be lost forever.To avoid ‘Tal-Kuncizzjoni’ hamlet
maltastar.com is informed that the developer’s lawyers are contacting the owners of fields neighbouring Hondoq ir-Rummien and asking for their permission to build a temporary road through their land. In compensation, the developers are proposing to pay the owners of the field a daily fee until the project is completed. Through this road, the thousands of construction trucks that will have to travel to the rural area to take away the excavated rocks, and bring in the construction material, will not have to go through the ‘Tal-Kuncizzjoni’ residential area, in Qala.
The developers are in possession of a report indicating that the trucks’ pollution and inconveniences to the residents at ‘Tal-Kuncizzjoni’ will be extensive. The report even warns residents that they will have to install double glazed doors and windows to reduce the noise that the trucks passing outside their homes will cause. Once this report is published, the residents are likely to call on Mepa not to allow the project. Thus an alternative route will be crucial for the issuing of the final development permit.800,000 metres cubed of rock
A few years ago, the developers filed an application to Mepa to cut through tonnes of rock and create an inland yacht marina at one of the most popular bays in Gozo. This will be then surrounded by a mega construction project including a 170-bed hotel, over 25 self catering villas, 60 self catering units, 200 multi-ownership residences, 731 underground parking spaces, 10 retail units, and five dining facilities. The project is expected to take over seven years to complete.
But to do this project, the developers will have to excavate 800,000 metres cubed of rock, put it on trucks, and deliver it to quarries around Gozo. The only route to Hondoq ir-Rummien is through the ‘Tal-Kuncizzjoni’ hamlet. This is already heavily polluted with trucks driving through it to get to the quarries located at the eastern part of Gozo.Double glazed windows at developers’ expense
If the Hondoq ir-Rummien project is approved, the number of trucks passing through the hamlet will increase significantly. So much so that an environmental impact assessment of the project, seen by this e-newspaper, calls on the developers to change the apertures of the homes in the area: “The promoters of the project should be encouraged to consider that the residences found at ‘Tal-Kuncizzjoni’ will have double glazing installed to all apertures – this at the promoters’ expense – in order to compensate for the nuisance created during the construction period – and more so the excavation period, when the project is taking shape.”
This is why the developers are trying to convince the owners of fields next to Hondoq ir-Rummien to allow them to build a temporary road bypassing the hamlet. The developers are promising to take photos of the fields before building the road, and restore them to their original state once the project is completed.
But returning the fields to their original state is not the only environmental concern. Years ago, two Dutch archaeologists had studied the area and found numerous Neolithic remains. They even included details of their findings in a report on their field studies in Malta and Gozo. The site was never studied again, and any archaeological remains are likely to be ruined if the proposed road is built.
To view thw whole article with pictures, go to http://www.maltastar.com/pages/msfullart.asp?an=15652