SOS Hondoq News

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gozo – ‘an abundance of gentle charm and an impressively relaxed atmosphere’

Published on the Malta Independent on Sunday 29th August, 2010 by Leo Attard.

Leafing through various travel brochures, local and foreign, one notices a different presentation of these islands: the hectic, nightlife world of Malta with its St Julian’s, Paceville, and the centres of history and architecture in places like Mdina and Valletta.Leafing through various travel brochures, local and foreign, one notices a different presentation of these islands: the hectic, nightlife world of Malta with its St Julian’s, Paceville, and the centres of history and architecture in places like Mdina and Valletta. And then there is Gozo, described in almost all ads as laid-back, greener and with “an abundance of gentle charm and an impressively relaxed atmosphere – two of the principal qualities which for centuries have drawn visitors inexorably to this celebrated archipelago”.

Quote taken from a Prestige Holidays ad which goes on to describe Hondoq as “…a favourite with locals… It is a small sandy beach with crystal clear waters and is very good for diving, particularly for beginners”. has this to say about Qala and Hondoq: “The coastline below the village of Qala is dotted with traditional salt pans, some of which are still actively used to ‘harvest’ salt throughout the summer months. On this coast is a small cove, Hondoq ir-Rummien, which is popular with snorkellers because of its deep and clear water and the small caves at water level. Access to the sea is from bathing ladders. The cove has good views of Comino.”

So we are inviting people to come to Gozo for its serenity, greenery, and natural beaches – people don’t come to do shopping! It’s cheaper to shop online or grab a cheap flight and go abroad. They come to Gozo for the relaxed atmosphere and the beaches. Hondoq is a Mecca for beach lovers! I heard that even Austin Gatt himself and other MPs have had the pleasure of having barbecues at Hondoq! Why not have it in the middle of Marsalforn? Because it would not have been as relaxing as in the quiet of Hondoq.

And this brings me to my point: the Hondoq Project developers have the audacity, the gall to lie to the public to give the impression that Hondoq is not used that much! I challenge them to come now and see Hondoq packed with people in the afternoon! Come and see the camps and the barbecues and the enjoyment of foreigners and locals, young and old! Do you think if the project gets the green light that people will be having their barbecues at Hondoq? No, because the rich residents would want their peace and quiet.

Same thing happened to a local disco called “The Countryman”, which was forced to close down because of the residents of the then Imgarr Hotel complained of the noise. The Countryman had been there before the Imgarr was built.

So, a ‘yes’ to the Hondoq Project will mean bye-bye to barbecues! (Of course, there is the argument that the buildings will end up unoccupied like Chambray so there won’t be any residents to complain!)

So let’s not be hypocrites! We advertise peace, greenery and clean beaches (Hondoq is top of the list, probably the only one on the list of pristine, natural bays) so let’s not destroy it. This month of August is the busiest for Hondoq —— if anybody says that Hondoq is not much used, then I will tell him or her point-blank: liar!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Church commission ‘does not have any inhibitions about criticising anyone’

Published on the Malta Independent on Sunday 22nd August, 2010 by Francesca Vella.

The Church’s inter-diocesan commission on the environment was well aware that the Augustinian religious order, which forms part of the Maltese Church itself, had sold land in Hondoq ir-Rummien when it criticised the seller of the area that is earmarked for a mega tourist development.

In an opinion published on 21 July, the Church commission said it was a pity that the developer was allowed to buy the land without the seller not realising, or not caring about, the damage the sale could cause.

The developers are proposing the construction of a massive project comprising a hotel, yacht marina and tourist village on the 68-tumoli site, which used to be owned by the Augustinians.

The Order sold the land on promise of sale (kunvenju) to Victor Bajada of Gozo (Prestige Holiday) in 1988 for Lm10,200 (€23,760) – on condition that full development permits were awarded.

The promise of sale states that if development permission for the land is granted, the Order will receive the full sale price of Lm10,000 (€23,294) per tumulo and at 68 tumuli, the total sale price amounts to Lm680,000 (€1,583,974).

In reply to questions put by this newspaper, the Archbishop’s Curia said the inter-diocesan commission on the environment is aware that the original owner of the land in Hondoq was the Augustinian order.

Asked why the commission did not mention the order by name in its opinion, the Archbishop’s Curia said that since this was public knowledge, the commission did not feel the need to name the original owner.

“Yet, this did not hold back the commission from expressing its opinion on the matter in no uncertain terms. As the commission has done in the past, it does not have any inhibitions about criticising anyone, as long as it can justify such criticism as based on the principles of sustainable development and good governance”.

Asked whether the Church has the power to interfere in matters relating to sale of property, the Curia said it does not.

Following the Reform in the Administration of Property of the Maltese Province in 1972, a Diocesan Representative Council was established in each diocese, in which one of the members represents the Male Religious Institutes. It establishes policies for the alienation of property which should be followed by all Ecclesiastical Bodies.

Despite the fact that 85 per cent of Qala residents had voted against the project in 2002, the 2006 Local Plan earmarked the Hondoq Bay area for a mega-tourism development, which resurfaced in 2007, four years after it had been shelved following vociferous protests from local residents.

On Wednesday, the Church’s inter-diocesan commission on the environment said in a statement that it had concluded that the proposed Hondoq ir-Rummien development in Gozo is not sustainable.

The commission said it is difficult to justify the claim that it represents more wealth and a better quality of life in Gozo over a long period.

The project, the commission said, would not protect the identity of the countryside and its beauty, which should be the principal assets for attracting tourists to Gozo.

It added that the proposed Hondoq development shows a crass social insensitivity, with the developer choosing to ignore the fact that the majority of Qala residents, who will be directly affected by the project, are against the development.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hondoq a ‘fait accompli’

Published on the Malta Independent by Leo Attard.

Much has been said about the Hondoq Project and I have come to the conclusion that it is a fait accompli. However, I believe one should not lay out the red carpet for the burglar, but fight back. What makes me and many others believe it’s in the bag for the developers are the following:

1) Neither Mr Bencini, the architect, nor anyone else has ever answered the questions put to them in the media. To conclude, therefore, as rumour has it, big politicians are involved (the son of some ex-president who likes to dabble in Gozo property?) How can Mepa say ‘no’ to such prominence?

2) Number 1 could explain why neither the Prime Minister nor Minister for Gozo Giovanna Debono have made any statements, especially by not replying to a letter published in this newspaper on 4 July in which sound arguments were made that such a project would be in open defiance of the government’s own project for an Eco-Gozo. So, it is absurd that they should say nothing, unless, of course, they have given it their blessing. Silence equals complicity. And how can Mepa say ‘no’ to them? Has Austin Walker ever answered the questions put to him? Has the vice-mayor of Qala done so?

3) The vice-mayor’s relationship with Mepa is a good example of an ‘I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine’ policy. The controversial project regarding the Belvedere of Qala has also been a topic in the media – several times denied permission to build / extend the existing structure as it is partly built in ODZ. Then, when the Hondoq monster reared its head again, the Belvedere project was given the go-ahead, though now under appeal. But, a quiet stroll on the Belvedere will show construction has already gone up. Is this in defiance of Mepa, or confidence that it’s a sure thing, all guaranteed by Mepa behind closed doors!

Is this the same situation with Hondoq? While all is supposedly under discussion the developers have already laid out who does what and who gets what.

4) Then, there was the Qala mayor’s statement in the Independent of 11 July in which he seems to be doing a little tap-dancing of his own! He categorically denies any change of opinion in the project, but then says if the project is revised (dropping the marina, perhaps?) he might change his opinion! Well, that’s confirming the rumours! The Qala referendum said ‘Absolutely NO!’ to the project in any shape or form! Nothing less than a nature park! Isn’t that what Qala had agreed on, Mr Buttigieg?

5) Hondoq was probably already doomed once it was bought by Victor Bajada! The Augustinians were the previous owners of the ODZ land (donated to them by those who thought they would buy their way into heaven, no doubt!). Mepa did not delist the area from ODZ for them, and had it done so they would have sold it for a good price! But no, Mepa waited for Mr Bajada to buy it, then had it delisted! And, knowing Mr Bajada’s reputation, Mepa must have known that he didn’t buy the land to go caper gathering! An attack plan long in the making!

6) Looking at number 2 above, if a small-time vice- mayor can get his way with Mepa, then imagine how much more the ‘big guns’ of the Hondoq Project can get, especially since they seemingly have the backing of the OPM and Ministry for Gozo? So why don’t they go ahead and start? Well, because there are so many against the project, it will be such a travesty of justice, it will negatively affect so many, that they are waiting for the swimming the season to be over, waiting for children to be fed up with beach and back at school, waiting for the tourists to have left and then they’ll come like thieves in the night!

The project is a fait accompli, but it’s still not too late for those who were elected to protect us to do their job, to create the Eco-Gozo that has been promised.

Friday, August 13, 2010

L-iżvilupp ta’ jott marina propost f’Ħondoq ir-Rummien: Mhux identifikat minn TM

Pubblikat fuq l-Orizzont minnCharmaine Craus.

Ħondoq ir-Rummien mhux imsemmi mal-lokalitajiet li ġew identifikati minn Transport Malta (TM) bħala l-aktar siti vijabbli biex fihom tinbena jott marina.

Dan minkejja li l-proġett propost fil-bajja ta’ Ħondoq ir-Rummien jinkludi l-bini ta’ vilel, appartamenti lussużi, lukanda kif ukoll jott marina.

Dan il-proġett għandu l-appoġġ tal-Gvern minkejja li parti minnu se tinbena fuq żona li hija barra mill-iżvilupp (ODZ). Ir-residenti Qalin u l-għaqdiet ambjentali kollha huma kontra li dan il-proġett isir minħabba li se jfisser il-qerda tal-bajja ta’ Ħondoq ir-Rummien darba għal dejjem. Fil-fatt, f’referendum li kien sar, 85% tar-residenti vvotaw kontra l-ħsara rriversibbli li mistennija ssir fuq din il-bajja.

Skont informazzjoni li persuni qrib Transport Malta għaddew lil l-orizzont, jirriżulta li f’April tas-sena li għaddiet, esperti fi ħdan din l-awtorità ħejjew rapport li fih identifikaw lokalitajiet li jistgħu jkunu vijabbli biex fihom jiġu żviluppati jott marinas kemm dawk li jistgħu jintużaw is-sena kollha kif ukoll jott marinas temporanji, u dan bl-iskop li jitjiebu l-faċilitajiet għall-jottijiet hawn Malta.

Dan meta xahar qabel, kien għadu kif ġie ppubblikat l-istudju dwar l-impatt ambjentali (EIA) dwar il-proposta ta’ żvi lupp ta’ jott marina fil-bajja ta’ Ħondoq ir-Rummien.

Ir-rapport imħejji minn Transport Malta jgħid ċar u tond li l-iżvilupp ta’ kwalunkwe jott marina ġdida m’għandux ikun akkumpanjat minn żvilupp ieħor, bħal residenzi. Kwalunke jott marina ġdida għandha to pera b’mod kummerċjalment vijabbli mingħajr id-dipendenza tad-dħul minn proprjetajiet oħrajn, iżid jgħid ir-rapport.

Iżda skont il-proġett propost għall-bajja ta’ Ħondoq ir-Rummien, il-jott marina se tinkludi wkoll il-bini ta’ vilel, appartamenti u lukanda.

Fl-istudju jingħad li siti li jinkludu l-kosta naturali ma ġewx ikkonsidrati għall-iżvilupp ta’ jott marina li tista’ tintuża s-sena kollha, dejjem jekk ma jkunux issemmew f’xi rapporti preċedenti. Għaldaqstant, il-fatt li Ħondoq ir-Rummien ma ssemmiex f’dan ir-rapport bħala sit addattat għal jott marina jimplika li lanqas ġie kkonsidrat bħala vijabbli f’xi rapport ieħor li taf bih Transport Malta.

Dwar jott marina temporanja, l-istudju jgħid li ħafna mill-proposti jokkupaw kobor ta’ inqas minn ettaru (10,000 metru kwadru) u għalhekk jillimitaw l-impatt ambjentali.

Dan ifisser li Transport Malta, f’April tas-sena li għaddiet, warrbet lil Ħondoq ir-Rummien minn fost il-lokalitajiet kollha f’Għawdex li possibilment, fihom tista’ tiġi żviluppata jott marina.

Ta’ min ifakkar ukoll li fl-istudju dwar l-impatt ambjentali (EIA) li mistenni jkollu dan il-proġett jeżistu diskrepanzi kbar fiċ-ċifri msemmijin.

F’rapport li l-orizzont kien ippubblika fis-27 ta’ Lulju li għadda, żvela kif jeżistu diskrepanzi kbar kemm fin-numru ta’ sodod li se jkollha l-lukanda, kif ukoll fin-numru ta’ spazji li se jkunu allokati għall-parkeġġ u fin-numru ta’ vilel li se jkun hemm u fin-numru ta’ ħwienet.

Barra minn hekk, hemm diversi mistoqsijiet oħrajn li jduru ma’ dan il-proġett, fosthom il-fatt li l-Pjan Lokali għal Għawdex u Kemmuna jiddeskrivi ż-żona ta’ Ħondoq ir-Rummien bħala żona li għandha densità baxxa, iżda meta wieħed iħares lejn x’se jinkludi l-proġett, jirrealizza li l-proposta ta’ żvilupp ta’ lukanda, vilel, appartamenti, stabbiliment tal-ikel u ħwienet mhux se tħalli l-lokalità b’densità baxxa.

Hemm mistoqsijiet oħrajn dwar kif is-sommarju tal-istudju jsemmi li mhuwiex il-każ li l-bajja se tkun iffollata bin-nies, meta huwa ovvju li bil-proġett se jkun hemm ħafna iżjed nies li se jagħmlu użu mill-bajja u għalhekk ma tantx huwa possib b li li l-bajja ma tkunx iffrekwentata minn mijiet ta’ nies.

Skont l-istudju dwar l-impatt ambjentali, jidher li matul il-perjodu ta’ tħaffir u kostruzzjoni, in-numru ta’ trakkijiet li jidħlu u joħorġu minn fuq is-sit se jkun ta’ trakk kull erba’ minuti iżda mhux se jkun hemm żieda ta’ traffiku li se jgħaddi mill-Qala u minn Tal-Kunċizzjoni. Madankollu, jissemma kif meta l-proġett jibda jopera, se jkun hemm żieda ta’ madwar 456 vettura żgħira li jidħlu u joħorġu mill-Qala matul l-aqwa ħinijiet tal-ġurnata.

Anke l-Kummissjoni dwar l-Ambjent tal-Knisja ħarġet tiddikjara l-pożizzjoni tagħha kontra dan il-proġett meta qalet li dan il-proġett se jkun ta’ ħsara ambjentali, fiżika, soċjali, turistika, ekoloġika, mhux biss għar-residenti Qalin, iżda wkoll għal dawk kollha li jżuru din il-bajja. Quddiem din ir-reazzjoni, il-Moviment Ħarsien Ħondoq esprima s-sodisfazzjon tiegħu għall-pożizzjoni li ħadet il-Kummissjoni dwar l-Ambjent tal-Knisja.

Fi stqarrija maħruġa minn Paul Buttigieg, kunsillier fil-Kunsill Lokali tal-Qala b’maġ ġoranza Nazzjonalista, li wkoll qiegħed joġġezzjona għal dan il-proġett, il-Moviment faħħar lill-Kummissjoni għal tali inizjattiva u rringrazzjaha għall-impenn tagħha favur il-Qalin u dawk li jiffrekwentaw din il-bajja. Il-Moviment awgura li tali stqarrija tiġi kkonsidrata b’im ħuħ miftuħin li japprezzaw ir-rapporti tekniċi li saru dwar il-ħsara li proposta bħal din se tħalli fuq il-bajja ta’ Ħondoq ir-Rummien u awgura wkoll li jittieħdu deċiżjonijiet li ma jkomplux jgħarrqu lil din il-bajja.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Ebda rummien fil-Ħondoq

Pubblikat fuq l-Orizzont nhar l-Gimgha 6 ta' Lulju, 2010 minn Monica Farrugia.

Sur Editur,

Ħondoq… l-uniku post ver ġni fil-gżira Għawdxija dan l-aħħar reġa’ safa vittma ta’ attakk kontinwu ta’ proposti infrastruttu rali li se jibdluh f’post turistiku bi żvilupp ta’ bini monstruż – l-istess post li llum il-ġurnata fis-sempliċità u s-sbuħija tiegħu, jara għadd kbir ta’ turisti ta’ kuljum fl-istaġun tas-sajf.

Jagħmel sens li wieħed jir ranġa dan il-post biex isir aktar attraenti iżda dan għandu jkun b’mod sostenibbli kemm f’sens ambjentali kif ukoll dak soċjali u fl-interess għar-residenti kif ukoll għal dawk li jridu jqattgħu ftit tal-ħin għall-kwiet u mhux għal ftit li se jgawdu mill-marina u mill-vilel li huma proposti fil-proġett.

Huma bosta l-għaqdiet am bjentali li ħarġu kontra dan il- proġett fosthom il-Kummissjoni Interdjoċesana Ambjent, Ħarsien Ħondoq, Ħarsien għall-Ambjent Aħjar u oħrajn li kollha saħqu li dan l-iżvilupp imur ’il bogħod ħafna minn dak sostenibbli.

Minbarra hekk kienu wkoll bosta dawk l-esperti minn oqsma differenti li użaw l-għar fien tagħhom dwar is-suġġett u ressqu l-kritika tagħhom lejn l-istess proġett.

Xbajna nisimgħu b’Eko Għaw dex; waħda mill-‘buzz words’ il- ġodda tal-Gvern Nazzjonalista f’din il-leġiżlatura. Wieħed jis taq si kemm dan il-proġett ta’ Ħondoq jirrifletti tajjeb fuq l- idea ta’ Għawdex Ekoloġiku. Qalu li b’dan il-proġett iridu jkabb ru t-turiżmu fil-gżejjer Mal tin, madankollu ma jgħi dulniex kemm in-numru tat-turisti li jżuru dawn il-gżejjer naqas matul l-aħħar ftit snin speċjalment ta’ dawk li jiffrekwentaw u jagħmlu użu minn lukandi ta’ ħames stilel.

Xiehda ta’ dan hemm l-aħħar istatistika tal-NSO fuq il-lukandi li tindika li sal-2008 n-numru ta’ turisti li joqogħdu f’lukandi naqsu b’mod raġjonevoli speċjalment f’lukandi ta’ ħames stilel, bħalma hemm propost fil-proġett li naqsu minn 61.9% fl- 2007 għall-56.3% fl-2008.

Iżda ejjew naħsbu li l-170 kam ra tas-sodda tal-lukanda, il-vilel u dak kollu li hemm propost ikunu kollha vakanti, speċjalment fl-istaġun tas-sajf, il-konsegwenzi li jġibu magħhom huma kbar. L-effetti ambjentali huma ta’ livell għoli kemm dak marittimu fejn b’dan il-proġett se tinqered il-bijodiversità li wieħed jista’ jgawdi f’Ħondoq kif ukoll, nuqqas ta’ spazju għal ipparkjar u livelli ogħla ta’ tniġġis fl-arja b’konsegwenza ta’ effetti akbar fuq is-saħħa tar-residenti.

Ħondoq fin-natural tiegħu diġà jara għadd kbir ta’ turisti u residenti li jżuruh ta’ kuljum. Konsegwenza ta’ dan it-tniġġis tal-arja huwa wieħed kbir tant li t-triq prinċipali hi meqjusa bħala t-tieni l-aktar triq li hija mniġġsa f’Għawdex. Wieħed jista’ jimmaġina kemm dan se jiggrava iżjed jekk ladarba dan il-proġett jitwettaq.

Huwa importanti li wieħed jifhem li dan mhux proġett li wieħed jista’ jagħżel bejn lukanda biss jew marina biss. Iżda wieħed irid iqis li dan huwa proġett wieħed minħabba li dawk li se jagħmlu użu mill-marina huma l-istess nies li se jagħ mlu użu mil-lukanda kif ukoll mir-residenzi turistiċi oħrajn. Għaldaqstant l-impatt ambjentali huwa wieħed kbir u irrevokabbli.

Hija ħasra li pjanti li ġew imtellgħin minn studenti universi tarji tal-arkitettura ġew mogħtijin il-ġenb meta huma l-istess pjanti li verament jagħtu dehra ferm isbaħ lil dan il-post b’mod sostenibbli mingħajr bini mon struż fejn l-ambjent huwa mħares u fejn kull membru fis-soċjetà hu moqdi b’kull mod possibbli fejn ġew iddisinjati żoni ta’ rikreazzjoni, fores­tazzjoni, post għall-barbikjus u oħrajn fejn kollha huma mgħamm rin b’panelli solari biex l-ambjent ikun verament im ħares.

Dan kollu jixhed kemm huwa sta għall-Prim Ministru Law rence Gonzi li taħtu taqa’ l-awtorità tal-ambjent u l-ippjanar, il-MEPA, biex dan il-permess jitwaqqaf. Huwa b’dan il-mod li l-Prim Ministru jagħtina garanzija ta’ kemm verament għandu għall-qalbu l-ambjent u kemm tassew jemmen f’waħda mill-ikbar wegħdiet elettorali tiegħu ta’ Eko Għawdex li sal-lum il- ġurnata, sentejn wara l-ħatra tiegħu ta’ Prim Ministru u wara żmien twil ta’ “konsultazzjoni” dan il-proġett għandhom lanqas jafu x’inhu!

Bil-mod kif qegħdin jieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet l-awtoritajiet im mex xijin mill-Gvern Nazzjo nalista ta’ Lawrence Gonzi dak li sal-lum, anke sempliċement f’ismu, jiġbor is-sbuħija naturali għada se jispiċċa ħondoq mingħajr ir-rummien, mingħajr is-seher naturali li jagħmlu ġojjell għall-Għawdxin u l-Maltin.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

“All in the family”

Pubblikata fuq l-Orizzont nhar l-Erbgha 4 ta' Awwissu, 2010 minn Leo Brincat.

Dan l-aħħar tal-Partit Nazzjonalista ħadu għalihom għax Lino Spiteri kiteb fit-Times fejn stqarr li tal-Partit Nazzjo nalista għamlu mill-pajjiż latrina sħiħa.

Jekk il-pajjiż ġabuh latrina aħseb u ara x’għamlu mill-Parlament innifsu.

Mhux ta’ b’xejn li darba kien hemm kittieb famuż li qal li “Fil-Parlament ma jikbrux fjuri”. Mhux bil fors!

Li jaħraqni l-aktar huwa li bl-eċċezzjoni ta’ xi Minis tru jew tnejn ħafna ministri spiss iżommu lura milli jagħtu tagħrif pubbli ku li dettalji dwaru jkun diġà deher fil-ġurnali.

Il-Prim Ministru nnifsu ftit ilu qal li dwar il-proġett tal-White Rocks kien se jitkellem biss fil-Parlament hekk kif ikollu d-dettalji kollha f’idejh u n-negozjati jkunu ġew finalizzati.

Oħroġ il-għaġeb ftit jiem ilu l-Partit Nazzjonalista mhux biss għażlu li pura ment f’livell ta’ partit iżom mu laqgħa għall-għeruq fejn ingħataw dettalji dwar il-proġett tal-White Rocks qabel ma kellhom id-diċenza li jmor ru quddiem il-Parlament, iżda skont il-magażin interessanti The Architect li huwa l-leħen uffiċjali tal-Kamra tal-Periti sirna nafu tagħrif li fil-Parlament qatt ma ġie doku mentat.

Fost affarijiet oħrajn li l-‘holding company’ tal- White Rocks tinkludi nsibu lil Mott MacDonalds flim kien ma’ konsulenti u ‘pro ject team members’ oħrajn bħall-Faulkner browns Archi tects, gleeds, PMP Gene sis, Cushman & Wakefield u Land Use Com.

Kif kien mistenni ma ssem ma xejn dwar min huma l-interessi Maltin involuti – għalkemm kulħadd fil-mestier donnu jaf diġà – filwaqt li diġà qegħdin jissemmew in-nies li se jagħ mlu l-kuntratti u jimbuttaw il-proġett ’il quddiem. U min se jidher għal min.

Mingħajr ma ridt ċerti affa rijiet li smajt fakkruni fis-serje televiżiva Amerikana ta’ Archie Bunker – “All in the Family!”

In-negozjanti u l-interess tagħhom

Dan l-aħħar il-PM tkaża għax il-promoturi oriġinali tal-White Rocks stqarrew fil-midja li ħassew ruħhom ittraduti mill-mod kif il-Gvern kien mexa magħhom. Flok ma tahom raġun għajjarhom li kienu moħħhom biss biex iħarsu l-interessi tagħhom!

Din isbaħ! X’fiha ħażin li negozjant – hu min hu – iħares l-interessi tiegħu? Dment li dan isir f’mod leċtu għandu kull dritt li jagħmel dan. Anzi għandu d-dmir ukoll.

L-istess kif jiena ġieli nikkritika lil ċerti spekulaturi li jiġu jaqgħu u jqumu mil-liġijiet tal-pajjiż u jaħsbu li jistgħu jsoddu u “jixtru” lil kull min iridu kif iridu, napprezza li fil-pajjiż hawn għadd sabiħ ta’ intraprendituri Maltin li lesti jinvestu flushom biex b’hekk apparti milli jagħmlu qligħ xieraq, joħolqu wkoll impjiegi għall-familji Maltin u Għawdxin.

Dment li dawn in-nies ma jagħmlu xejn illegali jew jipprovaw jiksru l-liġijiet am bjentali tal-pajjiż jixirqil hom kull appoġġ u inkoraġġiment.

L-intraprenditur Malti għan du jkollu rwol prominenti u importanti fl-iżvilupp ekono miku ta’ pajjiżna daqs kull investitur barrani li jiġi fostna biex jinvesti flusu f’xi pro ġett.

L-agħar huwa meta jkollok Prim Ministru li għax waraj hom jistgħu jkunu allegata ment moħbija ċerti nies qrib tal-partit tiegħu, donnu jagħ mel minn kollox biex jaġevola investituri barranin à skaptu ta’ investituri Maltin – ħafna drabi billi jbiddel ir-regoli tal-logħba għall-vantaġġ ta’ dawn tal-ewwel.

L-iskandlu tal-Ħondoq

L-aktar ħaġa skandaluża dwar Ħondoq ir-Rummien mhix biss li tal-Partit Nazzjo nalista lesti li jippermettu sfreġju ambjentali permezz ta’ proġett li l-kotra taqbel li mhuwiex sostenibbli – mill-Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni sal-Kummissjoni Ambjent tal-Knisja.

Iżda li konvenjentement tal-Partit Nazzjonalista qegħ din jindirizzawh b’ilsna differenti ħalli jogħġbu lil kulħadd… jekk jista’ jkun f’daqqa.

Waqt is smigħ pubbliku fil-Qala kien hemm kandidat Nazzjonalista għall-Parlament Ewropew li ddefenda l-proġett bħal donnu kien xi ‘baby’ tiegħu. Min-naħa l-oħra kan didat ieħor tal-PN għall-istess Parla ment tkaża bl-isfreġju ambjentali li dan kien se jġib miegħu.

Filwaqt li Giovanna Debono bħas-soltu dehret li qagħdet gallarija, nies qribha huma magħrufin li qegħdin jappoġġ jaw il-proġett bis-sħiħ filwaqt li Chris Said ma jidhirx li kkummenta dwar dan kollu.

Għal dawk li huma kun sillieri tal-Partit Nazzjonalista, min tkellem kontra, min favur u min għażel li jibqa’ sieket.

X’se jagħmel il-Partit Nazz jo nalista fil-mu ment tal-verità għad irridu naraw.

L-aqwa li Mario de Marco qal li se jkollna politika am bjentali “ġdida”!

San Ġwann – 1985-2010

Din is-sena l-festa tar-raħal ta’ San Ġwann ikkonċediet ukoll mal-25 anniversarju mit-twaqqif tal-banda jew kif inhi magħrufa aħjar bħala l-Għaqda Mużikali Madonna ta’ Lourdes San Ġwann. Diġà għamlu kunċert għall- okkażjoni u ma kienx jonqos li jagħmlu l-istess lejlet il-festa.

Insellem minn hawn kemm lilhom, kif ukoll lill- Kappillan li ilu jservi xi sitt snin jew aktar u li ġab għaqda u ‘team spirit’ ġdid fil-lokal, lill-Kumitat tal-Armar u l-Kumitat tal-Għaqda tal-Festa Esterna kif ukoll lil dawk kollha li taw sehemhom fl-imgħoddi u li għal xi raġuni jew oħra ma għadhomx iservu iżda li l- frott tax-xogħol tagħhom għadu jidher u jinħass.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ħondoq development 'must not harm seabed' Northeast coast becomes protected marine area

Published on the Times of Malta on Saturday 31st July, 2010 by David Schembri.

The proposed development at Ħondoq ir-Rummien could be affected by the planning authority's decision to register the site as part of a bigger marine protected area.

The area, spanning the northeast coast of the two islands, will be protected because it harbours a large amount of Posidonia oceanica seaweed, host to a range of biological life.

The authority's environment protection director, Martin Seychell, said any proposed development would now have to be subject to an appropriate assessment. If it was established that it would harm the natural habitat - in this case the seaweed - the project would not be allowed to go ahead unless there was overriding public interest at stake.

In the case of Ħondoq, this overriding public interest did not apply and the developers "would have to prove beyond doubt that the development will not harm the seabed," Mr Seychell said.

The €120 million development, a touristic and residential complex planned in a disused quarry and including a marina, has led to criticism from environmental NGOs and residents and was more recently slammed by the Church's Environment Commission.

Tourism Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco had said authorities could not afford to make any mistakes over the proposal to develop the pristine bay in Gozo. Ultimately it was a matter of weighing the advantages a marina may have against the impact on the environment of the specific locality where it was proposed, on marine life and the adjacent bay.

The area of Ħondoq falls under one of four new protected areas covering 18,000 hectares of marine environment, primarily identified to protect 80 per cent of Posidonia oceanica seaweed, known as Neptune's sea grass and perhaps less affectionately as alka by the Maltese.

Malta Environment and Planning Authority officer Christopher Cousin said that while the designated areas would enjoy a high degree of environment protection, this did not mean all activities happening or proposed to occur there would automatically be prohibited.

"It means that any proposed activity will have to be assessed in terms of the likelihood and significance of its impact on the biodiversity for which the site is protected."

Simpler activities such as swimming or rod fishing in marine protected areas will not be affected.

Other established legal activities in the area, such as fish farms, would be considered as stakeholders, and Mepa will be holding discussions with these parties to see how to best manage the sites.

Mepa has already suggested that fish farms be moved as far out from the shore as possible, Mr Seychell said.

In the future, these sites will also be managed, which could provide the key to start the reintroduction of species, such as the common turtle, without causing any harm.

Dr de Marco yesterday said this could also be a step to create more "green jobs" in site management, as well as preserve the country's marine heritage, which attracted more than 60,000 divers a year.

Malta's largest expanse of Posidonia is found along the northeast coast extending up to Gozo. This 15,519-hectare stretch of seabed has been protected, along with three smaller sites at Mġarr ix-Xini, Dwejra and an area between Għar Lapsi and Filfla, adding up to 18,000 hectares.

Posidonia is given special importance by the EU as it is in danger of disappearing. This habitat provides food and shelter for a large number of marine species, acts as a carbon sink and as a nursery to a lot of fish commonly caught in Maltese waters.

Mr Seychell said it was natural for the authority to extend its protection from land to sea, as the island's territory was 95 per cent sea, and it was also its duty to safeguard such a large part of the natural heritage.

The first marine Natura 2000 site in Malta was designated in 2008 when the authority granted protection status to the coastline along the area off the northwest coast of Malta, between Rdum Majjiesa and Ras ir-Raħeb.

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