The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

‘We are being buried alive’ - residents, NGOs, local councillors gather against db ITS project

Julian Bonnici Saturday, 7 April 2018, 12:12 Last update: about 4 years ago

Residents, local councils, and NGOs gathered together to express their concerns that the project proposed by the db Group on the former ITS site, which will consist of a 37 storey residential tower and a 19 storey resort, will have significant adverse effects on the infrastructure and environment of the surrounding community.

The development was described as part of the 'siege on Pembroke', even more so given that the project is being proposed despite the fact that a master plan for the area has been shelved following public outcry when it was initially launched, given that it appeared to be geared towards the developers rather than the residents.

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The pressure group also launched the campaign 'Tidfuniex Hajjin', "a completely non-partisan initiative in favour of prioritising residents' rights and environmental protection over the private profits of the few."

Pointing towards figures outlined in the Environment Impact Assessment, the group said that beyond the existing traffic issues in the area, the infrastructure, they explained, was not adequate to sustain the extra 7,500 daily car trips into the area the project would generate.

The EIA also shows that waste is also an issue, with the development expected to produce some 336,085 tonnes of waste during the demolition and excavation phase.

It was also said that the batching plant which will be installed on site will also have environmental consequences.

The project will also generate a large shadow imaging the amount of light reaching the area through the year, and significantly change the character of Pembroke. In December, the shadow cast by the tower will reach the Reverse Osmosis Plant.

The group also noted that the EIA identified that the development could also have an adverse impact on Ghar Harq Hammiem, the Marina Natura 2000 Site Zona Fil-Bahar Fil-Grigal ta' Malta.

St Julian's Mayor Guido Dalli warned the crowd that the project could signify "the beginning of the end for Pembroke."

"I remember when St Julian's looked like Pembroke, but now nothing is left but buildings, exhaust, and noise pollution," he said.

Pembroke Mayor Dean Hili echoed these sentiments, also noting that the development does reflect the surrounding community and insisted that the project cannot continue before any master plan is completed.

Residents who also spoke at the event expressed concerns over the potential environmental consequences and affect the quality of theirs and their children's lives.

"We need to start speaking and doing things for the good of everyone, and not for the good of our pockets," one resident said.

DB Group and the government signed a 99-year temporary emphyteusis for the land for a €60 million price tag, which is split between a €15 million premium payable over seven years and €23.4 million in redeemed leases which will be paid by individual owners of the residential units and not directly by the group.

This is the second time in a year were Pembroke residents have protested a development.

Last August, a large group of residents along with NGOs protested against the development of a private school, Chiswick House School, on Gabriele Henin Street. in Pembroke. However, the crowd today was noticeably smaller than that afternoon.

Environment Minister Jose Herrera had turned up to the previous protest to announce his support of the residents, telling the media that "took an oath in office to make a statement. I am here in support of the residents in the area. The government needs to start protecting public land. We are not a region or an island, we are country, we have to keep sustainable and mitigate the adverse effects on investment"

Photos by Baskal Mallia

 

 

 


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