NGO’s encouraged by MEPA board’s decision

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NGO'sEnvironment groups Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Ramblers, Friends of the Earth and the Malta Organic Agriculture Movement are encouraged by the MEPA Appeal Board’s decision, taken last Friday, the 24th of July, to refuse a permit for the construction of a block of apartments in Wied tal-Madonna, Mellieha.

This decision confirmed the DCC Board’s recommendation and ended a six-year crusade for the local residents. The controversial application would have cut across the valley and its water course, in clear infringement of at least two important policies (RCO28 and RCO29) designed to protect such natural water courses.

The NGOs congratulate the local residents for forming the pressure group which succeeded in limiting the further degradation of the valley. They set an example for other residential communities, proving that protection of their area is attainable if they unite to claim their rights through the appropriate channels.

The same environment groups note the successful completion of restoration of the chapel of Our Saviour at Kalkara, as well as the rehabilitation works being carried out on the façades of the Palace, the Biblioteca, the Auberge de Castille, Maison Demandols and Liesse Church.

These efforts to preserve our rural and urban heritage are greatly appreciated and furthermore benefit the nation by attracting more tourists to Malta.

Since it is becoming increasingly clear that development, at least at the present rate, has become unsustainable, the NGOs encourage Government to help re-direct the construction industry by assisting it to acquire the skills and training needed to concentrate more on restoration, which is labour-intensive and requires specialised traditional Maltese skills, because one of the major problems facing the sector at present is the lack of qualified personnel. With most of Valletta and the Three Cities in a sad state, Mdina and the Cittadella requiring urgent shoring up, bastions, countless chapels, houses and palazzos requiring constant upkeep and restoration, there should be enough work to keep a good part of the construction industry both in profit as well as working on behalf of our heritage. Such work not only restores individual buildings, but raises the image of the surroundings and pride in our architectural assets.

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