The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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Godfrey, Marlene Farrugia join 'Front Harsien ODZ,' group says Zonqor project can be stopped

Neil Camilleri Saturday, 23 May 2015, 10:02 Last update: about 10 years ago

The ‘Front Harsien ODZ’ (Front for safeguarding ODZ) was launched this morning, with outspoken government MP Marlene Farrugia and her partner, Government Whip Godfrey Farrugia, joining its ranks.

Dr Michael Briguglio, the former Chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika, said the group was set up to protect Malta’s environment and had no political affiliations.

He described the proposed American University of Malta on ODZ (outside development zone) land in Zonqor Point, as being one of the most controversial and heavily criticized projects in recent years.

Dr Briguglio said there could be no development on ODZ land. The solution was to carry out proper studies and find alternatives. He noted that up to 33% of properties in Malta are vacant and disused and dilapidated land is also common. The option to split the AUM into a number of separate campuses was also an option, he said.

Dr Briguglio said he never in his many years of campaigning in favour of the environment had he seen such a strong public outcry against a project. He appealed to all groups, individuals and NGOs of “goodwill” to unite with the front, explaining that the louder the voice the bigger the chance was of stopping this, and other environmental tragedies. Ten years ago, a similar front had blocked the development of a golf course at Tal-Virtu, Rabat.

If enough people join the Front's campaign, even the Zonqor development can be blocked, Dr Briguglio said.

The group would also be opposing future developments on ODZ land, he said, but the priority right now is the Zonqor project. “I am confident that we can stop this project from being developed in the proposed site.”

He thanked Marlene and Godfrey Farrugia for standing up for present and future generations, noting that there were others who wanted to shift the attention from the controversial project. Dr Briguglio said it was unacceptable for politicians to wake up in the morning and announce a mega project on pristine land that no one had been consulted about.

Dr Shaun Grech also addressed the media, insisting that this was a citizen’s movement and those in favour of preserving the environment should join regardless of their political allegiance.

"The goals of this Front are purely environmental in nature. This Front is open to residents, individuals from all sections and walks of life and organisations who share its aims. For more information the public is invited to send an email on [email protected] and to like and follow Facebook Page, Front Ħarsien ODZ.



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