The Malta Independent 23 April 2024, Tuesday
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ADPD calls for urgent revision of local plans

Saturday, 16 March 2024, 15:45 Last update: about 2 months ago

Speakers for ADPD - The Green Party called for the urgent revision of local plans during a press conference in Xemxija, where a proposed development in addition to a project to be built on the former Mistra Village site will be of great harm to the quality of life of residents in the locality.

ADPD Secretary General, Dr Ralph Cassar, said that the infrastructure of the zone earmarked for these two developments cannot take on a thirteen-storey high building: “This will literally choke the residents and will contribute to increased traffic congestion and poor air quality.”  He said that when such towers are proposed in highly populated zones, impact assessments for such developments are not conducted.

This is the type of arrogance typical of the sector, taking what belongs to all, in this case taking away our history and claiming it for their own as if this is their divine right.  Why should residents suffer for the benefit of a single developer?  The quality of life of the Xemxija residents will certainly go down whilst fattening the pockets of the few.

Cassar also made reference to the loss of the biodiversity in the area.  “How can the government say that they want to green the country and set up entities like Project Green and Ambjent Malta only to fail to look after what is already there?  What coherence and credibility does the government have in terms of the environment?” asked Cassar.

Nature is also part of the environment. There is no need to have every centimeter of the country monetized. The common good and our history are being hijacked to make money. The identity of entire villages is being changed and destroyed by towers that make no sense in a country where we have a considerable number of empty houses, and our young people still cannot buy their house because prices are beyond their means, concluded Cassar.

The ADPD Chairperson, Sandra Gauci, said that after the publication of Jean Paul Sofia's public inquiry which revealed the negligence and lack of enforcement of rules in the construction sector, one would have thought that this the sector would have made an examination of conscience and act less like a bully, endeavoring to frustrate and anger the people.  On the contrary, it seems that everything has gone on normally and the arrogance is still there, stronger than ever, ever so merciless in the public eye, digging on the only open space that the residents of Xemxija have left: a place with cart ruts and historical Roman baths. But in the eyes of those who see only money and the only language they speak is that of ‘what I will put in my pocket’, they have no worth!

Gauci claimed that the construction sector has been given preferential treatment over the years by the government: “We believe that the sector should be highly regulated in the light of what emerged from the report.  We cannot have one government after another turning a blind eye to this sector and letting it roll over the very people it is committed to protect”.

There is a dire need for people who really know how to do their job and greater monitoring on construction sites. The Planning Authority bears a large part of the blame for the devastation of the country because it has lost its authority, becoming a bureaucratic rubber stamp that one goes through with as little hindrance as possible. The Planning Authority is forgetting its duties towards the citizens who seem to be treated as a nuisance to megalomaniacs who want their dreams of towers become a reality.

We at ADPD has been vocal on the issue and have time and time again insisted that the local plans should be updated for today's times, including the cancellation of the rationalization plans for once and for all.  Now we are seeing the emerging reality in many parts of Malta. The lack of serious planning that we have seen in recent years has become a burden, and we will leave our future generations a country uglier than we found it, a country plagued by horrible, towering box-like aluminium structures blocking the sunlight and sky.  Can we continue to sacrifice entire villages, our mental health and our quality of life for a handful of people? The citizens should show their indignation for what is being done in every village.   And you will find us, the Green Party, behind you, Gauci concluded. 

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