The Malta Independent 19 April 2019, Friday

Partit Demokratiku queries Gozo tunnel funding

Wednesday, 20 March 2019, 10:09 Last update: about 30 days ago

In Parliament today, Partit Demokratiku said it will be voting alongside government in favour of a Regional Development Authority for Gozo, as this is in line with Partit Demokratiku's Vision for Gozo, reducing the ability of the Minister responsible for Gozo to run it like his or her own personal fiefdom.

“PD hopes that the Labour government, now notoriously famous for its toxic tentacles in supposedly autonomous state institutions, in practice will give the RDA for Gozo the space to deliver what it has been created to produce. Legislating is useless unless the will exists to give life to that legislation,” stated Party leader Hon Godfrey Farrugia.

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"As part of our Gozo Vision, Partit Demokratiku calls for a Gozo which is strong and prosperous based on its own characteristics. That means quality jobs, equal services, and facilities should be available in Gozo. Gozitans should not have to come down to Malta at all for a good quality of life. While Partit Demokratiku seeks greater connectivity between Gozo and Malta, transforming Gozo into a colony of Malta is not the solution for the island's problems. Gozo is an added value to our Nation State," declared Sec Gen and MEP candidate Martin Cauchi Inglott.

During the debate on the Gozo Tunnel on 18 March, organised by Wirt Għawdex, it emerged that all present organisations representing Gozitans want to avoid turning Gozo into a second Malta, despite disagreeing on other issues. “It is therefore crucial that the government immediately strengthens the environmental and planning laws in place in Gozo, as the eco-island is already under siege from haphazard development,” stated MEP candidate Dr Anthony Buttigieg.

Partit Demokratiku said it is championing a holistic development Masterplan for Gozo, preventing any further ODZ uptake, ribbon development between villages, destruction of agricultural land or the rape of heritage.

Regarding the Gozo Tunnel, Partit Demokratiku notes that the tunnel as planned will destroy a sensitive water table. The sacrificed land would, also, provide access to increasingly scarce and valuable hard rock for the developers.

Since little has been discussed regarding the funding of the tunnel, Partit Demokratiku wonders whether the reclaimed land to be built with the debris is being promised to the developers in exchange for building the tunnel, and if the valuable hard rock is also going to be part of any such deals or arrangements.

Why have the relevant studies not been made accessible to the public? Why was not a tourist impact assessment for Gozo carried out?

 

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