The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Hotelier clears San Blas camping site, burgers still being flipped at illegal kiosk

Monday, 20 October 2014, 15:44 Last update: about 7 years ago

An illegal camp set up at San Blas bay in Gozo has finally been removed, months after the site was the subject of two enforcement notices by the environmental watchdog Mepa.

In September, hotelier Joseph Portelli was given 16 days' grace to clear the illegal campsite - complete with an outdoor oven and a lounging area with artificial turf - set up on 'virgin land' overlooking picturesque San Blas Bay in Gozo.

A spokesman for Mepa said that Mr Portelli, who owns the site, would only be subjected to fines once the 16-day period has elapsed. Between 17 and 50 days, a €10 daily fine will be imposed, between 51 and 180 days this will rise to €20 a day, then €40 between 181 and 365 days and thereafter €50 a day.

Gozitan Joseph Portelli has already been served with an enforcement notice by Mepa after this newsroom brought to light illegal work at the site back in June.

Mepa had informed the police of Mr Portelli's latest offence.

He was supposed to return the site to its original state, yet instead he has forged ahead with his plans. As we reported last week, the four plots owned by Mr Portelli have been cleared of vegetation despite being designated by the European Environmental Agency as an area of "agriculture with a significant area of natural vegetation" and is now a sprawling camp site, complete with lighting and a fan.

In addition the whole area has been given Level 2 protection by Mepa as an 'Area of Ecological Importance/Site of Scientific Importance', to the extent that last year Mepa rejected an application to prune a tamarisk tree.

Burgers still being flipped at illegal kiosk

An illegal kiosk slapped with an enforcement notice by Mepa six years ago is still operating across from Portelli's site.

Mepa says the breach related to the change of use of land to cooking and serving food and the hiring of deckchairs and umbrellas and that direct action is pending.



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