SOS Hondoq News

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ħondoq project and the Eco-Gozo plan

Published on The Times of Malta on Tuesday 30th August, 2011 by James A. Tyrrell.

Not so long ago, Giovanna Debono, the Gozo Minister, declared her support for the marina villas, apartments and a hotel project at Ħondoq. Now that the planning authority’s Environmental Directorate has voted against the idea, she seems to have changed her mind and is now against.

My question therefore is, will the minister be using her position to bring pressure to bear in order to reinstate the local plan for Ħondoq that was changed behind the local council’s back, to the original plan as it was before 2006?

To come to the right decision on this matter she really needs to refer to the environment impact statement and decide whether or not marina villas, apartments and a hotel will fit in with the proposed and much talked about Eco-Gozo plan. The area as it stands at present is one of the safest and cleanest for bathing in Gozo. Any form of major construction in the area would totally destroy that and it has been estimated that during the excavation period alone, which would last approximately 18 months (who knows how long it will actually take) there would be one truckload passing through Qala every four minutes!

If the Ministry for Gozo and the Maltese government are truly serious about standing behind this Eco-Gozo proposal, then Ħondoq ir-Rummien is where they have to dig their heels in and say enough is enough. The time has come to put environment ahead of profit. The time has come to put the little guy ahead of the millionaire developer. The time has come to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.

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Put environment ahead of profit at Hondoq

Published on on Sunday 28th August, 2011 by James A. Tyrrell.

Put environment ahead of profit at Hondoq - Readers letterNot so long ago the Gozo Minister declared her support for the marina villas, apartments and a hotel project at Hondoq. Now that MEPA’s Environmental Directorate has voted against the idea of a marina ,Villas etc she seems to have changed her mind and is now against the idea. My question therefore is, will the Minister be using her position to bring pressure to bear in order to reinstate the local plan for Hondoq that was changed behind the local council’s back, to the original plan as it was before 2006?

To come to the right decision on this matter she really needs to refer to the EIS and decide whether or not a marina villas, apartments and a hotel will fit in with the proposed and much talked about Eco-Gozo plan. The area as it stands at present is one of the safest and cleanest for bathing in Gozo. Any form of major construction in the area would totally destroy that and it has been estimated that during the excavation period alone which would last approximately 18 months( who knows how long it will actually take) there would be one truckload passing through Qala every 4 minutes!

If the Ministry for Gozo and the Maltese Government are truly serious about standing behind this Eco-Gozo proposal then Hondoq ir-Rummien is where they have to dig their heels in and say enough is enough. The time has come to put environment ahead of profit. The time has come to put the little guy ahead of the millionaire developer. The time has come to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It’s not trust in Mepa that’s at stake by Simone Mizzi

There seemed to be a glimmer of light for the environment coming through from the Malta Environment and Planning Authority recently with decisions that protected our natural and built heritage. This eman-ated from the rigour applied by the Environmental Planning Directorate in its outright dismissal of the Ħondoq ir-Rummien applic-ation and with the reprieve of Manikata’s iconic church, saved by the bell from meddlesome intrusion by a well-merited Grade 1 status.

This flash of hope soon flickered at the dubious interpretation of farmland policies with the location of the Magħtab cattle farm close to residences and by the transferring of a petrol station in Mġarr onto virgin land in an oversized move that rides on the back of health and hazard regulations and old outline permits.

The approval of both, coming so soon after those for Ħondoq and Manikata, may indicate that, following its reform, Mepa’s environmental sensitivity is applied to projects that are in the public eye and not to those micro-developments that keep the environment-al deficit permanently in the negative.

In the case of the Magħtab cattle farm, allocating existing disused farmland would have distanced the residential community from health and nuisance hazards. Doubling the size of Mġarr’s petrol station on arable land outside Żebbiegħ implies that concerns for the Mġarr community were not really those at stake when a slim majority of a six-to-four vote approved the move.

However, it is another positive move that in new planning processes, outline permits have been removed so that errors made by former authorities cannot be perpetrated by the present.

With some large-scale projects still in the balance, Mistra’s gigantic ridge development and Ħondoq ir-Rummien’s marina complex, it is not only Mepa’s reputation only that is at stake but two major areas that affect our islands’ credibility and attractiveness, for ourselves and for the visitor.

We expect Mepa to stand firmly behind its directorate’s decision on Ħondoq when passing final judgment on this large tract of Gozo’s coast and to grant it immediate ODZ protection. If this dismissal were to be reversed, any growing trust in Mepa would soon dissipate, and with it Ħondoq’s natural state. Pressures from potential tourist development will otherwise remain, allowing planning applications to be altered continuously until they find acceptance.

Indignant statements by deve-lopers have accompanied the 40 per cent reduction in building applications. And why should this not be? Can we expect to continue building in height, breadth and depth at the current rate, mostly unneeded sub-zero-quality construction to oil the economy or seeking justification because “old housing is unsuitable for today’s living standards”?

An economy that depends on the building trade is a weak eco-nomy and needs to diversify by building – not on its landscape but on its strengths. These are unquestionably tied to our cultural and natural assets and, thankfully, much is being saved through rethinking or restoration.

The drop in applications is good news for what is left of our “good” cultural landscape. There is tre-mendous work ahead for our construction industry to regenerate the quality of that free-for-all building binge of the last 30 years. Even where regulated this is still being executed without thorough care for our cultural landscape, two words that define our built and natural legacy marked by centuries of human activity.

We do look to Mepa to apply micro-management of our landscape to prevent us losing the unique panoramas that give our island life its quality. Vistas over open spaces to the horizon or countryside continue to vanish daily. The spectacular view from Madliena out to sea is now lost to new glamorous villas on their prominent edge, the bypass corner vista to St Paul’s Island blocked by dishonourable high construction and an ill-advised row of trees. Mellieħa’s central sea view is marred by the Seabank extension while rings of high-rise bury traditional townscapes, obliterating the vision of our baroque churches, so uniquely typical of Malta.

Even that one vista we hold most dear is being corroded. The skyline of Valletta entering Grand Harbour at sunset shows only too clearly numerous penthouses with shiny glass windows that are taking their toll.

Malta has yet to ratify and implement the European Landscape Convention. To do so may mean we have to protect the good, the bad and the ugly. All are legacy of centuries of human activity. Carving out the bad from the good is a conundrum for our planners and we hope the new structure plan can offer solutions.

While outline permits are perhaps still under scrutiny, we look to Mepa to chalk up more positive points in favour of the environment by reversing Mistra. We are still in time to preserve Ħondoq. It is the environment that is at stake, not Mepa’s reputation. Only the former is ours to keep.

The author is executive president of Din l-Art Ħelwa

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Environment NGOs petition to keep Hondoq for all to enjoy

Moviment Harsien Hondoq, together with Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Ramblers Association, NatureTrust, FOE Malta, Din L-Art Helwa and Wirt Ghawdex are appealing for support to help persuade MEPA to permanently refuse the permit for the Hondoq project.

MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate’s recommendation against the development of a real estate/marina complex at Hondoq ir-Rummien was widely welcomed by all those who have been fighting against this proposal for the last 9 years. However, the NGOs said that it is still important to keep the momentum going and ensure that the MEPA Board follows through this decision by refusing to grant a permit to the developers.

The NGOs said that another issue that needs to be addressed is the policy regarding Hondoq in the Gozo and Comino Local Plan, which was changed without consultation, from one in favour of rehabilitation, to one in favour of development. The NGOs said that this policy should be changed back to what was agreed upon between MEPA and the Qala Local Council in 2002, where Hondoq Bay and its surroundings were designated as being Outside the Development Zone (ODZ).

Finally the NGOs have proposed that Hondoq be turned into a National Park, as was already planned by the Qala Local Council and that the area be rehabilitated and protected in order that everyone can continue to enjoy this area of outstanding natural beauty for generations to come.

The NGOs concluded by appealing for everyone to continue to show their support by signing their petition and helping to ensure that the MEPA Board upholds the decision of MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate, by refusing to grant a permit for the development of Hondoq ir-Rummien into a real estate/marina complex.

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AD calls on MEPA Board to refuse the Hondoq development

AD calls on MEPA Board to refuse the Hondoq developmentAlternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party urged the MEPA Board to endorse the recommendations of the Environment Planning Directorate and refuse the proposed development at Hondoq ir-Rummien, Gozo.

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, said, “We expect the MEPA Board to refuse the proposed development of a yacht marina and tourist village in Hondoq ir-Rummien, and thus close the issue once and for all. Such development will ruin the bay and cause severe environmental damage. Together with NGOs and Moviment Harsien Hondoq, Alternattiva Demokratika is the only political party which has been opposing the development ever since it was proposed. Our objections are now being endorsed by the Environment Planning Directorate, which we welcome. We also welcome proposals to embellish the beach and the area for the benefit of the general public.”

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EIA reports being ­published online

Environment impact reports will start being immediately uploaded on the planning authority’s website once recommendations by the environment unit are made.

“This... aims at increasing the perception of the public that the EIA process is fairer, more transparent and safeguarded from undue bias,” the planning authority said.

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority also moved away from the previous practice where EIA reports had to wait for the final report by the planning directorate to be concluded before being published.

The first impact assessment report published with the recommendations of the environment protection directorate was that of a €120 million tourist complex in Ħondoq Ir-Rummien, in Gozo. In the report, published two weeks ago, the unit slammed the project, saying it was “objectionable”.

Mepa said it recently carried out a number of significant improvements to its website, making it a less complex structure for public access and easier to navigate through information for planning applications that required an environment report.

The environment report represented an important component of public decision-making since it could help to predict, analyse and assess the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of a development, Mepa said.

The website would also help the public take part more effectively in the EIA process, making its findings more accurate and robust, it added.

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Giovanna Debono will respect MEPA’s refusal recommendation on Hondoq By NESTOR LAIVIERA

Minister for Gozo Giovanna Debono.

“I definitely respect their recommendations,” Gozo MinisterGiovanna Debono tells GozoToday, referring to the dismissal of the Hondoq EIA by MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate.

Debono was speaking during an interview that appeared on GozoToday – MaltaToday’s special Gozo-themed issue, which is out today.

During the interview, Debono was asked about how before the 2008 election, she went on record describing the Hondoq Ir-Rummien Project as a positive thing for Gozo.

Only days ago however, MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate dismissed an Environmental Impact Assessment as “unduly biased”, and recommended the project for refusal.

How did she react to this?

“I have always declared that I respect the decisions taken by those entities that have been specifically set up to guide Government with respect to specific areas such as sustainable development, transparency and environmental issues,” Debono said..

“These entities were appropriately set up to avoid decisions being taken on personal perceptions, and I definitely respect their recommendations,” she added.

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Ħondoq ir-Rummien by Andre Damato

Article published on 13 August 2011

Żminijietna – Voice of the Left, as an organisation that promotes environmental rights and social justice, welcomes the recommendation of the Directorate of Environmental Protection to Mepa to refuse the proposed project at Ħondoq ir-Rummien. Mepa should reject this unsustainable development.

People have every right to continue to enjoy public spaces. These are important for everyday democracy.

The proposed area is outside the development zone, mostly frequented by the public both for swimming, hiking and rambling purposes. A referendum conducted among the people of Qala showed clearly that 85% of the people disagreed with the proposed project.

The government should have a clear policy for an ‘eco-Gozo’ that will lead to the rehabilitation of Ħondoq ir-Rummien, through public investment, with special attention to the natural environment of the area, and for the regeneration of the old quarry with the planting of trees. Żminijietna supports the work done so far by Moviment Ħarsien Ħondoq and other environmental and social NGOs in campaigning against this absurd and harmful development.

■ Andre Damato

Żminijietna – Leħen ix-Xellug


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Gozo has not yet reached the point of no return

The recent dismissal by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority of the application for the massive project at Ħondoq ir-Rummien, in Gozo, should be a wake-up call for all concerned to start considering development applications for Gozo with different planning tools than are used for applications in the mainland.

Without going into the merits or otherwise of the project, this application should never have taken such an incredibly long time to determine and it is definitely not fair on developers, and potential investors (or objectors even) to be kept hanging for so long. This has already happened before in the Verdala golf course project and others and is always deplorable.

Nevertheless, Mepa should be the first to acknowledge that Gozo is, I should say fortunately, still at a stage when most of it can be salvaged (barring maybe Marsalforn and Xlendi) and, therefore, able to nip unsustainable projects in the bud. It is a fact that many insensitive developments have been permitted to contribute to the uglification of many a quaint Gozitan village in the past decades but let’s look forward as I believe that the rape of Gozo has not yet reached the point of no return.

Positive signs of Mepa’s new commitment have become evident recently in its refusal of the Xagħra Lodge proposal and of the Dwejra boathouses – so there is hope still.

Maybe it is the opportune time for a third EPC (Environment Planning Commission) board to be purposely set up to consider only applications for Gozo. This board, which would meet in Gozo, should be composed solely of persons who are aware of and sensitive to the uniqueness of Gozo and who would ensure that, within the normal planning considerations, each application fits into its immediate surroundings, if it is going to be allowed.

The local plan for Gozo should be rewritten not only to control new developments but to ensure that they enhance the character of the island. Failing which I fear the charm of our sister island will slowly wither away and be lost for future generations.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

People’s voice cannot be and will not be denied

Published on the TIMES OF MALTA

The decision by the Environment Protection Directorate not to recommend the tourist complex development at Ħondoq ir-Rummien for approval is an extremely welcome one and an affirmation of common sense.

A huge thank you should go to Paul Buttigieg who over nine years has acted as a catalyst for the people power that will hopefully save Ħondoq ir-Rummien. A huge thank you should also go to every individual who sent an SMS, an e-mail, a letter to the papers, signed an online petition, made a phone call, attended a meeting, made a donation and made their voice heard in their protest against the unwarranted development of Ħondoq.

Maybe one voice cannot be heard by itself but when we all shout together, we can all, individually, make a difference.

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MEPA needs certified EIA professionals – Nature Trust

Nature Trust (Malta) said in a statement today that it “has welcomed the recommendation by MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate that the proposed mega-tourism development for Hondoq ir-Rummien Bay should be refused.” “Among other things, the directorate referred to a particular report, which it said was biased, and was also critical of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).”

Nature Trust (Malta) president Vincent Attard said, “The time has come for MEPA to have certified EIA professionals, in recognition of those who have always given a true picture of the environmental situation of the sites under survey. In parallel, MEPA should have a black list of so-called experts who try suiting developers through the EIAs they draw up.”

The Environment Protection Directorate said the area should be kept “free from even small-scale development.” The NGO now hopes that good sense will prevail, as has been happening recently with proposed projects such as that of Ramla l-Hamra, which was refused.

“The Environment Protection Directorate’s recommendation is extremely important, as Malta cannot afford more unsustainable development, using economic growth as an excuse. An island like Gozo, which is very rich in ecological areas, should focus more on specific types of tourism such eco-tourism and agri-tourism.

Nature Trust feels that places like Hondoq ir-Rummien should be rehabilitated and conserved in a way that the bay and the surrounding area could be promoted among tourists. Dwejra and Ta’ Cenc are similar ecologically rich areas that are also important from an aesthetic point of view and that are popular among tourists.

The Hondoq area is also rich in marine ecology, as it has healthy posidonia meadows that could attract diving and snorkelling tourism,” Mr Attard concluded.

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Pass eqreb biex Ħondoq ir-Rummien jiġi salvat milli jiġi żviluppat

L-ambjentalisti ħadu l-aħbar pożittiva li d-Direttorat għall-Protezzjoni tal-Ambjent (DPA) fi ħdan il-MEPA mhux biss qiegħed jopponi l-iżvilupp propost għal Ħondoq ir-Rummien fil-Qala, Għawdex, imma qiegħed isostni li fil-bajja m’għandu jsir lanqas żvilupp ċkejken.

Il-MEPA għandha applikazzjoni quddiemha biex f’Qala Creek tinbena ‘yacht marina’ li tkun tesa bejn 100 u 150 jott (jiddependi mid-daqs tagħhom), lukanda ta’ ħames stilel b’170 sodda, 283 post ta’ abitazzjoni li jvarjaw minn villas, appartamenti u ‘bungalows’, għaxar ħwienet u parkeġġ taħt l-art li jkun jesa 731 vettura.
Fir-rapport li ħejja d-DPA huwa jiddeskrivi l-proġett bħala “żvilupp kbir urban f’żona barra mill-iżvilupp” u jgħid li fis-sit lanqas żvilupp żgħir m’għandu jsir. Huwa jsostni wkoll li l-proġett se jħalli impatt negattiv fuq l-inħawi li jvarja minn storbju, dħaħen u kwalità agħar tal-baħar.
Ir-rapport jgħid ukoll li t-trabijiet li jinħolqu waqt it-tħaffir u l-bini tal-proġett mistenni jaffetwa lir-residenti tal-Qala kif ukoll lill-għelieqi tal-madwar għax ir-riħ jista’ jtajjar it-trab sa nofs kilometru bogħod.
Dawn l-istqarrijiet min-naħa tad-DPA mill-ewwel ġabu reazzjonijiet minn diversi naħat fosthom il-Kunsill Lokali tal-Qala fejn is-Sindku Paul Buttigieg qal li r-rapport jikkonferma kemm kien fih ineżattezzi l-istudju dwar l-impatt ambjentali (EIA) li sar qabel.
“L-EIA kien wieħed totalment ‘biased’ kontra l-lokalità tagħna u dan biex jaġevola l-proġett u l-iżvilup­pa­turi,” huwa sostna.
Buttigieg madankollu huwa konxju li d-deċiżjoni finali għadha ma tteħditx u sostna li jridu joqogħdu attenti għal kull mossa li tista’ ssir sakemm il-proġett jitla’ quddiem il-Bord tal-MEPA.
“Konvint li matul dawn il-ġimgħat li ġejjin se tisimgħu ħafna dwar dan il-proġett u f’isem il-Kunsill Lokali tal-Qawra fid-dmir u fl-obbligu li nżommukom infurmati dwar dak kollu li jkun qiegħed jiġri b’mod partikolari lir-resident Qalin,” żied Buttigieg.
Tliet għaqdiet ambjentali – Moviment Ħarsien Ħondoq, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar u r-Ramblers – ukoll urew is-sodisfazzjon tagħhom għall-konklużjoni fir-rapport tad-DPA.
F’reazzjoni konġunta, huma qalu li jekk jgħaddi l-proġett ir-raħal tal-Qala se jirdoppja fid-daqs u dan iħalli impatt fuq it-tniġġiż mill-vetturi.
Dan barra t-trabijiet li jinħolqu mix-xogħol tal-kostruzzjoni fejn l-għaqdiet isemmu li fuq perjodu ta’ 18-il xahar jispiċċaw joħorġu mis-sit trakk mimli ġebel kull erba’ minuti. Meta jkun mibni l-proġett ikun ifisser li se jgħaddu madwar 2,000 karozza kuljum li jfissir tniġġiż mill-istorbju u tniġġiż fl-arja.
It-tliet għaqdiet ħassewhom imħassbin b’ċerti frażijiet użati fl-EIA bħal “the site cries out to be developed” (is-sit għandu bżonn kbir li jiġi żviluppat) u “developing a marina at this location offers a win-win situation” (l-iżvilupp tal-‘yacht marina jgawdi minnu kulħadd).
“Waqt li r-rapport dwar l-iżvilupp tal-‘yacht marinas’ fil-pajjiż is-sit ta’ Ħondoq ir-Rummien kien eskluż, l-EIA qiegħed jgħid li huwa l-iktar sit addattat bl-iskuża li l-ftit dgħajjes li jidħlu fil-post jiġġustikaw marina għal 150 jott,” sostnew flimkien l-imsemmijin għaqdiet. Huma jemmnu li s-sit jista’ jiġi mtejjeb billi jitneħħa t-terrapien tal-ġebel u skart ieħor li hemm fl-inħawi u jitħawlu iktar siġar, jissebbaħ il-wied u jiġu mtejbin il-faċilitajiet tar-rikreazzjoni fil-bajja.
“Aħna naqblu mal-konklużjoni tar-rapport tad-DPA li qal dak li ilna ngħidu mindu l-applikazzjoni ġiet sottomessa disa’ snin ilu jiġifieri li ż-żona għandha tinbidel f’‘park’ nazzjonali ħalli minnu jgawdu l-pubbliku u t-turiżmu Għawdxi”.
Għaqda oħra li laqgħet il-parir tad-DPA kienet Żminijietna – Leħen ix-Xellug fejn anke appellat lill-Bord tal-MEPA biex jivvota kontra dan l-iżvilupp għax in-nies għandhom dritt igawdu spazji pubbliċi.
“Iż-żona proposta hija waħda Barra miż-Żona tal-Iżvilupp (ODZ) u l-akkwata hija waħda ffrekwentata mill-pubbliku għall-għawm u l-mixjiet fil-kampanja. Referendum li kien sar mal-poplu tal-Qala ħareġ biċ-ċar li 85 fil-mija tal-Qalin ma jaqblux mal-proġett propost,” sostna l-kelliem tal-għaqda David Pisani.
Waqt li apppellat lill-Gvern għal politika ċara favur dak li huwa stess qiegħed isejjaħ “Għawdex Ekoloġiku” li għandu jwassal għar-rijabilitazzjoni ta’ Ħondoq ir-Rummien, l-għaqda ħeġġet għal investiment pubbliku li jinkludi t-tħawwil tas-siġar.

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Updated | Thumbs down for Hondoq mega project, NGOs concur

MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate dismisses an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Hondoq ir-Rummienmega-project as “unduly biased”, and recommends the project's refusal.

14:00 Moviment Harsien Hondoq, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar and Ramblers Association of Malta welcome the MEPA Environment Protection Directorate (EPD) recommendation of a refusal of the Hondoq project application.

The NGOs noted that the EPD report states that there is no overriding justification in terms of net environmental improvement or similar public benefit for the Qala creek project of a yacht marina, hotel, 283 villas, flats and bungalows.

It said that this major urban-type development in an ODZ area will create negative impacts related to sea pollution, traffic, noise, sewage and other damaging emissions.

Such adverse impacts are inevitable both during the contraction phase, and following the completion of the project, the NGOs said.

Qala is already encumbered with heavy traffic from the existing quarries and cannot possibly take more load without damage to the social fabric.

The NGOs expressed concerned at the EIA “which the EPD judged impartial and heavily biased.”

“Impacts were not assessed in enough depth, presenting ‘excuses’ rather than mitigation measures to lower the impact,” they said, adding that the EIA claimed Hondoq was the most suitable site for a marina, while the report on Development of Yachting Facilities in Malta had not even considered Hondoq.

The NGOs agreed with MEPA’s conclusion that Hondoq can be improved without the need of any mega development:

“Clearing the accumulated quarry and coastal debris, dismantling the distillation plant, improving beach facilities and afforestation of the valley are exactly the measures needed, as proposed by the Architecture Award projects organised by the Qala Local Council, Moviment Harsien Hondoq, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar and the University of Malta Architecture Department.”

The NGOs also expressed agreement with the report’s conclusion that the area should be turned into a national park for the enjoyment of the general public and to the benefit of the Gozitan tourism in line with the ECO-Gozo concept.

“It is now hoped that this application will be refused by the MEPA Board,” they said

10:20 MEPA's Environment Protection Directorate is calling on MEPA to turn down the controversial Hondoq ir-Rummien Project.

The proposed project includes a deluxe 5 star 110 bedroom hotel, 20 self catering villas, 60 apartments serviced by the hotel, 203 apartments, 1249 underground parking spaces, a village centre which includes a church and shops and a yacht marina for approximately 100 to 150 berths.

An Environment Impact Statement on the impact of the project has already been presented last year. But its results have been questioned by MEPA’s experts. According to the EPD the assessment is “unduly biased” towards the development and includes comments like “the site cries out to be developed” and “developing a marina in this location offers a win-win situation.” It also describes the claim that “the development will rehabilitate the existing eyesore by creating a marina environment which will blend with the surrounding landscape as “unsubstantiated.”

The EPD’s report shoots down the idea of creating a temporary route for trucks carrying material during the construction phase of the project noting that it would be very difficult to reverse the impact on existing trees, rubble walls and traditional rural features. It also notes that this would affect Natura 2000 sites. According to the EPD this will pose a “dangerous precedent which will result in further similar undesirable development” on natural areas.

According to the EPD all options proposed for the transport of heavy trucks would have “unacceptable impacts.” In this context the EPD notes that the best option would be not to carry out the development at all.

In its conclusions the Directorate calls on MEPA to refuse the development. One of the major objections is that the project cannot be accommodated within the confines of the quarry and existing road network. The EPD also notes that proposal is for a major urban-type development which is proposed in an area which should be kept free from even small-scale urban development. The Directorate also notes that any claimed benefits of the project can be addressed without any new development through simple measures like the removal of accumulated quarry debris and afforestation.

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