SOS Hondoq News

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Popes and boathouses

Published on by James A Tyrrell.

When I read the headline in the Maltastar on Monday, β€˜Mepa wants Pope John Paul II out of Cittadella’, I had to check the date as I thought it was an April fools day prank.

Have Mepa lost the plot altogether?

Here is an authority, which is seriously considering a proposal to build a marina at Hondoq ir-Rummien against the wishes of over 80% of the people of Qala. An authority, which had approved a development application for a 23-villa scar on the slopes leading to the Calypso Caves at Ramla l-Hamra.

An authority who is continuously involved in controversial applications such as 'Tal-Papa' Farm in Birzebbuga, Ta’ Cenc, The Mistra nightclub application, and the monstrosity at Dwejra.

Mepa state that the two statues create β€˜a negative visual impact in the square outside the Cathedral. What total rubbish! What sort of visual impact does that monstrous concrete structure at Dwejra have on the area? Pope Pius IX was responsible for establishing the Diocese of Gozo in 1864 when the Cittadella church became the Gozo Cathedral. Pope John Paul II is the only Pope ever to have visited Gozo. My question therefore to Mepa is a very simple one. Which two people are more deserving of being represented by statues in their honour outside the Cittadella Cathedral?

One might also ask why no objections were ever raised concerning the cannon, which stood outside the Cathedral before the statues were there. Were they more fitting to a church of God than the statues of two Popes?

By the way, I am not writing this from the point of view of an upset Catholic. I am what a very good friend of mine in Malta would describe as an old heathen Protestant! But I had the greatest respect for Pope John Paul II and feel he deserves his place outside the Cittadella. Surely if boathouses at Dwejra can be sanctioned, these two statues can, or are double standards at play here?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The destruction of Gozo

Published on The Malta Independent on Sunday 4th May, 2008 by Ms L. Kreupl.

Recent articles regarding Dwejra, Nadur, Ramla and Hondoq etc. have impelled me to put pen to paper once again.

The whole farce that is MEPA should be tossed over Dingli cliffs (Ta'Cenc cliffs would also do, but Gozo is polluted enough already). I apologise to all the Maltese who really care for their environment.

How is it possible that the monstrosity at Dwejra is still standing and that the powers that be are still faffing over what to do with it!

There is only one thing to do with it and that is to pull it down and try and heal the dreadful scar as best as possible.

When will MEPA, the mayor of San Lawrence and Nature Trust finally realize that:Firstly, Dwejra does not need a restaurant or take-away outlet. The kiosk, bar and mobile vendors are more than sufficient to cover present needs. The tourists eat their lunch elsewhere and the locals bring their own picnics. Most visitors only buy drinks or ice-cream.

Secondly, the interpretation centre is really not necessary. The fort is perfectly good enough and the information charts spread around are very informative and most of them are easily accessible. I do realize that the Fort is not ideal, as it is difficult for disabled people to visit. In my experience, however, most people with physical disabilities would simply hate the thought that precious land had been destroyed in order for them to reach something which is not really necessary.

If this was a criteria, then in Dwejra alone, in order to make it accessible to all, one would have to make a ramp right down to the Azure Window, another one up to the cart ruts and one across the window itself - how ridiculous! MEPA and the mayor of St. Lawrence will have to think of another excuse!

With all the new boat houses that have been sanctioned, I have not read anything about what is going to happen to the ensuing sewage. I believe that it is now (officially) illegal for boat houses to have their own cesspits, rightly so, in view of how many there are now and how many people spend the summer there. Before even thinking about new buildings, I would have assumed that arrangements would have been made by the authorities to provide public toilets for the boat house users and a waterproof holding tank which can be emptied as necessary, as is the case with the existing toilets. Nobody enjoying a drink down at the Inland Sea is going to walk all the way up the hill to empty his/her bladder....

The powers-that-be still seem to be bent on destroying what is left of Hondoq ir-Rummien, despite the referendum and despite the protests. What is MEPA and the Government thinking about? Once the Comino Channel is completely contaminated with diesel residue and boat effluent (as is the Blue Lagoon on a sunny day), what is going to be left of Gozo's natural assets? Not much!

The construction of a new cemetery for Nadur is yet another huge environmental problem which should never even have arisen.

There must be many, many farmer's souls crying over the outrage that is happening to, and the desecration of, the beloved valley which they and their ancestors cared for during their lifetimes! How sad. I sympathize with the present generation farmers fully - why did nobody listen to them? Surely by now, it is an accepted fact that people who have such close contact to nature see things that us city people never would?

Has anyone thought that someone might have an ulterior motive for rezoning this wonderful ODZ area - perhaps to enable a new Lidl supermarket to be built there shortly? or a block of flats which could in future be named "Death Valley View"!

How incredibly sad if Ramla becomes contaminated by this construction on one side and from the horrendous building plans on the other.

I can understand that the present cemetery is too small, but why, oh why, try to build the new one, firstly in an ODZ area, and secondly where it could conceivably damage an aquifer? There are so many disturbed areas on the island already. In view of the fact that the church owns so much property, I am quite sure that a suitable plot within the town of Nadur could have been found for this purpose. This would have eliminated the need to build yet another chapel. Does Gozo really need another chapel? Several are falling down already - reminiscent of the five-star hotels.

Gozo is so small, why can't it have a central cemetery - for example in the derelict industrial area of Xewkija? A cemetery there would not disturb anyone and would slowly but surely make it a place of peace and beauty and replace the present day eyesore.

Is there in fact an overall plan for this archipelago or are developers and the very rich just going to continue to do what they like where they like? It would be such a pity!

I would assume that the Prime Minister and MEPA are aware that the protection of the landscape is enshrined in Malta's Constitution which states "The State shall safeguard the landscape and the historical and artistic patrimony of the Nation" (Chapter II, paragraph 9). To date, the State has done an appalling job of this.

It is up to all Maltese citizens to stop the rape of their islands once and for all.