The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Updated: 'The Paceville master plan must be sent back to the drawing board' – Carmel Cacopardo

Kevin Schembri Orland Wednesday, 12 October 2016, 19:47 Last update: about 5 years ago

AD Deputy Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo believes that the Paceville master plan must be sent back to the drawing board and respect laws previously passed by the House of Parliament.

He said that the master plan calls Paceville a prime coastal location, yet seems to ignore recent legislation regarding coastal areas. The AD Deputy Chairperson was referring to the 15m coastal perimeter, and the foreshore which is public domain. He said that substantial parts of use of the coast in the plan, including parts given through an emphyteusis to third parties, conflict with laws in this regard.

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"This is not a law that was approved through a one vote difference, it was unanimously approved. I expect you know what you are doing when voting, or at least most of the time. This means that the consultants who drew up this plan, did not pay attention to public policy that was clear before the master plan was presented. This means that whoever gave direction to the consultants, at some point either did not inform them, or informed them and it was ignored".

"This is central to the whole issue. We cannot have Parliament giving a clear policy direction, and some months after approval, have it ridiculed through a masterplan like this".

 He said that there is no need of land reclamation, and no need for so many high rise buildings. "We need to make use of the empty properties around the island. I think this master plan should go back to the drawing board, so that what was voted on in Parliament is adhered to".

On behalf of the Planning Authority, Executive Chairman Johann Buttigieg said that there is coastal access around the whole area. "This is a public consultation and if there are issues with public domain, submit your issues".

PN MP Ryan Callus said that it wouldn't cost too much to create a visual model of how the area would look like during the consultation period.

Mr Johan Buttigieg said that he will look and see if it can be done within a week or two. He also stressed that this is the first draft of the plan, and said that it won't be the last one. Mr Buttigieg also said that the consultants look at the ideal site, and as such this does not mean things can't move a bit.

PN MP George Pullicino said that a representative of those who drew up the plan should be brought before the committee, and the committee agreed.

President of the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Sector of the GRTU Philip Fenech spoke of the need to be careful and not break the economic environment there. "I want the experts to explain, from all aspects, why certain streets will make certain areas more accessible than others etc". He said that some parts will integrate well with the plan, while others will be eliminated.

Following questions by a Front Harsien ODZ representative, the PA failed to say how much government would need to pay to regenerate Paceville. They said the master plan mentions EU funds, yet it is still too early to state the financial proportions of each party.

FAA’s Tara Cassar asked if there were any plans for a yacht marina, to which Mr Johan Buttigieg said that there aren’t any seen in the master plan.

A DLH representative asked for the public consultation timeframe to be extended, given its importance.  PL MP Franco Mercieca said that the Committee will discuss the possibility among themselves. PN MP Marthese Portelli said that extending the period makes sense given the lack of information needed for a proper consultation, such as figures regarding the land reclamation, etc. 

Environmentalist Alfred Baldacchino mentioned the need to see social reports, in terms of how it would affect traffic, the psychological welfare of citizens, the economic aspects, biodiversity etc. "I would like to see a report on the land reclamation". He said there are a number of conflicts with the recommended reclamation with international agreements. Mr Johann Buttigieg said that a number of reports will be made, such as the social impact assessment. 

 

Issues regarding expropriation

PN MP Marthese Portelli said that through the master plan, there will be people who will end up out of a home through road developments etc. "What kind of compensation will be given to them?", she asked.

In response, A GPD official explained that a requisition order will be made, and the value will be established as is in the law.

"What worries me is that a number of expropriations will occur, which would mean a large amount of funds to be paid by the Lands Department," PN MP Marthese Portelli said.

"I believe that calculating these workings is crucial. You cannot have an elderly woman end up on the street unable to buy another home. These are concerns that, while it is good that one has the master plan, must be considered now so that everyone would end up ok".

Another GPD official said that expropriation can only happen occur in the name of public interest.

Swieqi Mayor Noel Muscat, the last speaker for this evening, brought up the issue of traffic in Swieqi raising concern with the amount of traffic that will result from more jobs and residents in Paceville.  He said that while the network in Paceville could improve, traffic outside will worsen. infrastructure projects for other areas would need to begin now, he explained. "Many people who will work there will most likely also live in Swieqi".

PN George Pullicino mentioned that the parking regime in St Julian's and Swieqi also need to be addressed. 

 

 

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