The Malta Independent 17 October 2018, Wednesday

Sandro’s Monaco: as if tomorrow never comes

Carmel Cacopardo Tuesday, 7 August 2018, 10:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

Having an area of 2.02 square kilometres, the principality of Monaco is around 58 per cent of the size of Comino, which has an area of 3.50 square kilometres. Monaco is home to 38,000 people: Comino has only one resident!

There is practically no ODZ in Monaco: in fact land development there is so intensive that it has been taking up small chunks of the Mediterranean along its coastline which it has been reclaiming since way back in 1880 in order to make up for a lack of land for development.

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Malta Development Association (MDA) President Sandro Chetcuti is on record as stating that Malta's future ought to be one that follows the path traced by Monaco. This, in my opinion, signifies just one thing: the development of every possible square metre of these islands.

The building development lobby is only concerned about today: making hay (today) while the sun shines. Sandro Chetcuti believes that the Monaco blueprint is the only realistic one. This is a vision very similar to Joseph Muscat's 'Dubaification' of the Maltese Islands: a vision of high rise buildings and land reclamation.

Chetcuti and Muscat sing from the same song sheet. They think and act as if tomorrow never comes. Development cannot stop, maintains Chetcuti, as "many" would be hurt. The 'many', obviously, being those seeking to make hay, while their sun still shines. They are aware that, at some point, their sun will set and hence they will no longer be able to make hay. Until such a day comes, should they be allowed to ruin everywhere?

Tomorrow will come, and the sun will rise again only for us to realise that we have increased substantially the problems bequeathed to future generations.

Obviously, the point about Monaco that sets Chetcuti ticking is that practically all its 2.02 square kilometres is an urban area. Monaco has no ODZ that can be taken up by rationalisation schemes to increase its building stock. Instead, it reclaims land from the sea and thus slowly adding to its land mass over the years.

The concrete jungle developing all around us is suffocating. It is fuelled by a building development industry which has no idea of where to stop and which wants more land for development.

It is about time that the building industry is cut down to size. We should all realise, before it is too late, that the ongoing building spree is unsustainable and that progress is not measured in terms of buildings, roads or the enormous number of cars on our roads.

Our quality of life is actually measured through the open spaces we can enjoy and through rediscovering our natural roots, which have been obliterated as a result of the ever-expanding urban boundaries.

The building industry is bent on producing ever more hay while the sun shines: on building more and more until such time that the Dubaification policy of the present government remains in implementation. Unfortunately the resulting 'hay-fever' is being inflicted on all of us.

The sun rises for everyone, not just for those seeking to make hay, and when it sets, we rest - preparing for the morrow and hoping that, when it comes, we will still be in time to repair the extensive damage being done to us all.

 

An architect and civil engineer, the author is Chairman of Alternattiva Demokratika -The Green Party in Malta. [email protected] ,    http://carmelcacopardo.wordpress.com


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