The Malta Independent 15 April 2024, Monday
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Restaurant In Dwejra interpretation centre approved

Malta Independent Friday, 19 March 2010, 00:00 Last update: about 11 years ago

The Mepa board yesterday approved revised plans for an interpretation centre in Dwejra, which includes a roof-top restaurant.

Only the PL representative, Roderick Galdes, voted against, saying that the restaurant should not be there at all according to the Structure Plan.

At the other interpretation centre being built, that at Hagar Qim, no restaurant is included.

As two owners of the only kiosk at Dwejra said at the hearing yesterday, they were the only ones licensed in the scenic beautiful bay and they do not have electricity nor were they granted permission to improve the kitchen.

The previous permit for the interpretation centre had become glaringly ugly in the days around the March 2008 election when what should have been a steel structure was made in concrete, turning out to be so ugly that the body charged with creating the interpretation centre – the Qawra/Dwejra Action Committee, which includes Mepa, the San Lawrenz local council, Nature Trust and the Gozo Ministry – ordered all works to stop to pre-empt a Mepa enforcement notice.

The interpretation centre formed part of an action plan to build a Heritage Park, partly financed by the European Union’s LIFE Third Countries scheme. The redesign of these facilities is in line with the approved Action Plan for the Qawra/Dwejra Area, on the western coast of the island of Gozo. This plan calls for the adoption of a comprehensive approach for the conservation and preservation of resources and features of scientific, cultural and aesthetic interest in the area.

The application which was approved yesterday states that part of the existing structure will have to be demolished within three months from the issue of the permit and the top part of the concrete pillars will have to be replaced by a wooden structure.

The re-design includes the part removal of existing frame structure and the relocation of the kitchen facilities to the underground level freeing the upper level from any imposing structures to accommodate an open-air catering facility.

However, this open-air restaurant, which will remain open in the evenings although with subdued lighting, will have a retractable glass side for inclement weather and a timber canopy.

Representatives of the applicant argued against the imposition of a €25,000 bank guarantee: They said the applicant has already spent €70,000, including the delays that have occurred. Board member Joe Tabone, who it turned out is the chairman of the Action Committee, told his fellow members on the board to remove the bank guarantee, which the board finally did, with two voting against.

Roderick Galdes claimed that Nature Trust had resigned from the Action Committee but this was denied by other board members.

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