SOS Hondoq News

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Lucky they don't have Mepa

Published on The Times of Malta on Saturday 8th December, 2007 by Charles Sammut.

There was a decision taken by the local council of Aberdeen, Scotland, recently that should open eyes in Malta. The council voted to reject an application by the American billionaire Donald Trump to build a golf course resort in Aberdeenshire that also included a luxury hotel and about 1,500 condominiums. It probably was the first time that Mr Trump was turned down on anything because he usually always gets his way.

The project was going to inject two billion dollars in the local economy and create over six thousand jobs. But environmentalists had warned that the mammoth project would cause extensive damage to the wildlife and also disrupt a third of the area that is classified as of "special scientific interest".

But fortunately for the locals of Aberdeen they had their local council make the decision of what is best for them and not a body like Mepa.

Sometimes it makes me wonder whose interest Mepa is trying to protect when they don't turn down emphatically and without any hesitation projects at Ramla il-Hamra, Hondoq ir-Rummien and Ta' Cenc. I have come to the conclusion a long time ago that Malta would be much better served if the local councils decided what is in the best interest of their locale rather than a body of people that appear to be easily influenced by special interest groups.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Do we need more hotels?

Published on The Times of Malta on Sunday 2nd December, 2007 by Alan Deidun.

No sooner had tourism arrivals statistics emerged from Doomsday scenarios that the frenzy of hotel building and expansion resumed. In fact, besides the much publicised Ħondoq ir-Rummien and Ta' Ċenc projects which both feature an expansion of the hospitality sector, Sea Bank Hotel (Mellieħa) and Ramla Bay Hotel (Mellieħa - Marfa) have applied for extensions in sensitive outside development zone areas, while the Mistra Village high-rise plans have raised more than an eyebrow.

Therefore, while any Maltese environmentalists with a modicum of civic pride environmentalists hail any buoyant tourism figures, they are also gripped by a sense of foreboding that such a windfall will eventually translate into more open spaces being taken up.

The Sea Bank Hotel has already been permitted three different expansions of operation, ever since its humble beginnings in 1984, to reach its current bed capacity of 251.

To view the whole article, go to

Marina is not what Marsascala needs

Published on The Times of Malta on Friday 30th November, 2007 by George Mizzi.

I refer to the letters by Anthony Galea (Vision for Marsascala, November 19) and Joseph Dimech (What Marsascala Needs, November 23), both of whom are strongly in favour of a yacht marina in Marsascala.

First of all, I am baffled by the logic of backing a project that did not go down well when proposed to residents of other localities. Witness the opposition to yacht marinas proposed for Hondoq ir-Rummien and Xemxija Bay.

Before we irreversibly transform our idyllic village, do we realise what problems a yacht marina would bring to our hometown? Given that Marsascala is exposed to strong easterly winds and seas, a yacht marina will, in all probability, necessitate the construction of a breakwater. This lovely corner of the island will thus be reduced to a stagnant lake. Lack of currents from the open sea, together with the pollution from the yachts, the occasional drainage overflow and, to top it all, a possible petrol station, will certainly spell the end of the local marine ecology and render the sea filthy and, most likely, smelly. Hardly a tourist attraction!

To view the whole letter, go to

AD challenges Labour on Gozo marina

Published on The Times Of Malta on Thursday 29th November, 2007

The Labour Party would be more credible if it declared which bays in Malta and Gozo it believes should be converted into yacht marinas, Alternattiva Demokratika's spokesman for Gozo, Victor Galea said.

AD also expects the Labour Party to explain how it is going to ensure the protection of the environment should boats replace swimming zones, he added.

A case in point is the Mgarr (Gozo) marina locally known as Iz-Zewwieqa, which has become a "dead beach", no longer frequented by Ghajnsielem residents.

On the other hand the government has declared itself in favour of transforming the beach at Hondoq ir-Rummien into a marina. Could the Labour Party stop playing with words and state where they are proposing a marina in Gozo, AD asked.

Mr Galea said that the obsession with golf courses and marinas which would replace the natural habitat and destroy our patrimony do not augur well for the opposition party in Parliament.

At the very least, the nation expects the opposition to act as a pressure group in order to avoid irreparable environmental exploitation, he said.

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