The Malta Independent 3 February 2023, Friday
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Ghajnsielem local council to object to Comino project, developers reply

Monday, 23 January 2023, 11:38 Last update: about 10 days ago

The Għajnsielem Local Council said it will be making an objection with the Planning Authority in respect to permit PA/4777/20 - Comino Hotel and Bungalows development.

The local council said it was invited for a presentation in August 2021 as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and the following areas of concern were raised:

1. All existing public areas and boat-mooring facilitates in Santa Marija bay must remain public and fully accessible;

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2. Problems related with waste management;

3. Upgrade of public amenities should be integrated as part of this development including that of the police station, the public convenience and installation of shading devices near public amenities;

4. Alternative technologies suitable to the local environment should be considered for road access while retaining their rural nature.

The Għajnsielem Local council is not against the upgrading of the existing hotel and bungalows and also noted the extensive landscaping, improved visual amenity of the proposal and the investment in a new sewage treatment facility.

However, the council said it is concerned about the possibility of having long-term residences on the island (through sales or long-term rentals) which would change the whole scope and definition of the project from a tourist-oriented one into a speculative real-estate development. It would certainly open the door for the intensification and urbanisation of Comino beside creating logistical problems and creating the need for further ancillary facilities and services to support this type of residences on the island.

The council said is also concerned about the increase in the number of bungalows being proposed. This certainly goes against the basic principles of safeguarding our natural and environmental heritage especially considering the sensitivity and the ecological importance of the area which is a Natura 2000 site.

In reply, the developers, HV Hospitality noted that the Ghajnsielem Local Council is not against the upgrading of the existing Comino hotel and bungalows and also noted the extensive landscaping, improved visual amenity of the proposal, and the investment in a new sewage treatment facility.

HV Hospitality said that the new bungalows on Comino, which have already been reduced in number, are not and will not be for sale. If planning permission is granted, they will be managed by the hotel operator as hotel suites. This is a clear and unequivocal commitment from HV Hospitality. The new hotel and bungalows in Comino will reduce the built footprint of the current buildings by 5,122 sqm, the developers said.

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