The Hondoq Appeal
Published on the Malta Independent bu Joe Falzon.
An article appeared in the Gozo News of 21 October stating that the Appeals Board at Mepa is to meet in May 2013 to discuss the modified plans for the Ħondoq Creek project. It is an insult that these plans are even to be considered for the following reasons:
1) Those in favour of the project amount to a handful of developers and construction-related others concerned with their pockets. On the other hand, NGOs, the Church, public environmentalists, marine biologists, Transport Malta, the Mepa auditor himself and a democratically held referendum have ALL said “NO” to the project.
2) The developers had been adamant that the project could not succeed without a yacht marina. The new plans have now dropped the idea of a marina in favour of a “swimming lagoon” – obviously, their Trojan Horse, the stepping-stone for a marina. If the developers are so concerned about swimmers, then clean up the existing shore of its rocks and debris. A lagoon is more likely to get polluted and trap flotsam.
Mepa should drop the appeal outright. The residents of Qala and the experts have spoken and have shown – and proved – the unsustainability of such a project (the hotels that have closed down is proof enough). It should also be borne in mind that Ħondoq belongs to the people and to future generations, and not to a handful of developers. It is a place of relaxation for everyone, especially those who cannot afford to travel or eat out, and it must not be allowed to become like some places in Malta and Gozo – a gated area marked ‘Residents Only’ or ‘Private Property’. Ħondoq has belonged to the people since Adam – let it remain so. Mepa should be aware that suspicions of double-dealing are mounting: remember, the area in question was originally ODZ. How did it become otherwise?
And thanks should go to Paul Buttigieg of SOS Ħondoq and to all those whose efforts have so far kept Ħondoq where it belongs: in the hands of the people.
To view this letter, go to http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2012-11-06/letters/the-hondoq-appeal-340230148/