The Malta Independent 18 October 2018, Thursday

Economic growth is no guarantee of a better quality of life – PD

Wednesday, 16 May 2018, 09:18 Last update: about 5 months ago

Prime public real estate including the former its site, a public car park and an adjoining stretch of road was all but donated to db group to develop a  proposed multi-use mega tower project, within the confines of Pembroke and St Julian’s, Partit Demokratiku said in a statement.

This public deal between government and db Group is being investigated by Auditor General and is being processed by Planning Authority without a Development Brief, not in conformity with the local plan and without an approved master plan for Paceville.  It is stated that this development will be built within a minimum period of three years. In the meantime, numerous other developments have mushroomed and others have been given the green light.

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This is a residential, entertainment and commercial area that has rapidly expanded in the last decade without being supported by the necessary infrastructural/utility upgrade, PD said. The suitability of road networks are already highly inadequate as witnessed by the gridlock from within the heart of Pembroke to St Andrews after St George's Bay was temporarily closed. This is already a cause of concern, more so due to the unresolved volume of traffic and congestion that prevails. If and when the db project goes ahead, the impact on public health is enormous given the tons of materials which will have to be trucked into and out of Pembroke.

More specifically, it is envisaged that this mega project will generate over 7,500 car trips daily and during the construction period a fleet of heavy vehicles will be travelling to and fro to remove over 336,000 tons of construction waste and to supply an on-site batching plant.

Despite the upgrades of Salini Road and the fly over traffic arrangement at Gzira-San Gwann junction, the stretch of road between Regional Road tunnel and St Andrews is already virtually at gridlock, especially during peak hours.

The proposal for a tunnel, if completed before the db project commences would have alleviated traffic congestion but this appears to be nothing but an illusion, as drawings have as yet not been presented unlike the looming monstrosity.

PD, consequently, noted that Government is inappropriately addressing this area’s town planning framework to the detriment of our quality of life.

And even if a tunnel were to be constructed to alleviate regional traffic concerns in advance, is it fair that residents suffer permanent loss of sunlight, noise and dust pollution during the three year construction period, coupled to devaluation of their properties? Indeed a very bitter pill to swallow.

This is another clear example of the government’s so called investment adventures, where much is snatched from the many to be handed over to the select few, PD said.

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