The Malta Independent 30 March 2023, Thursday
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13,500 objections filed against 'monstrous Comino village' development - NGO

Friday, 27 January 2023, 12:48 Last update: about 3 months ago

Plans to create a complex of villas "disfiguring Santa Marija Bay on the island of Comino" as part of the proposed Comino Hotel redevelopment have received strong opposition from the public after a call to action from environmental groups, NGO Graffitti said in a statement.

The Planning Authority is still processing over 13,500 individual objections received from concerned citizens, mostly submitted through a custom online form, a record number of objections submitted for a project proposal within a single representation period. This level of public anger makes it difficult to see how the PA could possibly approve this destructive scheme being proposed by Hili Group.


Despite claims by the developers that the proposed plans would take up less land overall, the developers’ own figures show how the footprint is significantly larger for the “village” in Santa Marija Bay. The project would destroy intact garigue to push the facility farther from the coast and erect buildings further into the bay in the place of abandoned sports courts. The visual impact is evident from the renders, also produced by the developers themselves. In addition, it takes very little imagination to foresee the greater congestion and disturbance expected, both on land and at sea, if the bay is effectively transformed into a high-end holiday resort, complete with pontoon.

If the PA grants permission for this project, it would come at the detriment of a public seeking a peaceful escape - a necessity under serious threat on the Maltese Islands - and the health of our natural environment. Comino is a Rural Conservation Area, a Nature Reserve, a Bird Sanctuary, a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area in the Natura 2000 network, an Important Bird Area of International and EU Importance, and a Dark Sky Heritage site, home to many nationally and internationally protected habitats and species.

Five organisations are currently appealing ERA's approval of the Comino Hotel proposal. The organisations - BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Friends of the Earth Malta, Moviment Graffitti, and Nature Trust - FEE Malta - are slamming the superficial assessment of the private project on a prized nature reserve in favour of the commercial interests of a few catering for the wealthy. Ramblers Malta and Flimkien għal ambjent Aħjar are also vociferously opposing this proposed project.

Backed by the resounding public outrage, we appeal to Hili Ventures to withdraw all plans for Santa Marija Bay, and to abandon the idea of sale of any part of the complex to third parties. Ultimately, the most sustainable construction for the island of Comino is no construction at all.


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