The Traffic Impact of the Qala Creek Project Development
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A high standard of living implies a deep thought about crucial decisions regarding the environment. This is of course important since the concept of sustainable development and at of tsustainable environment are on top of global agendas and it is in our concern to take part into this human right and protect it. It must be in our concern to protect the environment for future generations and this must be very healthy and more practicable in Malta since Malta is of course a small island. A crucial issue which is now being on top of Maltese political and social programs is the issue regarding the Development of Hondoq ir-Rummien Bay known also as Qala Creek Project Development. Of course the traffic impact plays an important role in this development and following this is its impact on the village of Qala and the island of Gozo since we must also take into consideration this issue if we want truly that Eco Gozo Progamme initiated by the MEPA would be of course a success.
In our village of Qala, every morning we have a big problem, because of the traffic congestion that strangles the main streets of the village square. And what about the arterial road which will be opened besides the Sanctuary of Immaculate Conception to fit quarry trucks where they will be destroying enriched environment and nature which makes our village and Gozo’s environment more beautiful and picturesque?
Recently the National Statistics Office (NSO) published the (‘Transport Statistics 2009’) which mainly consists of the incident rates in Gozo between 2006 and 2008. It emerges that there was an increase of 1.2% of the incidents held in 2008 over that of 2007 which means that the rate of incidents in Gozo is increasing. On 1st January this year, two accidents were held in Imgarr Road Qala in the same place. This road is one of the busiest roads in Gozo. And I ask by how much the number of accidents is going to increase with the traffic intensification of 731 cars (the capacity of the mentioned car park) and all those who visit the bay and the workers starts functioning?
In the report issued by the developers as indicated in the Moviment Harsien Hondoq website http://www.soshondoq.blogspot.com/, only 90 parkings in the mentioned car park is reserved for the public when in Hondoq usually more than 300 cars are found parked. According to the ‘Traffic Impact Assesment’, the traffic count which took place in Mgarr Road Qala, was made one near the primary school, the other in the cross roads (which is 1.3kms from Qala Square) and the other near Saint Anthony’s Church where the road takes you to the Mgarr Hotel which is 1.8km from Qala Square. In my opinion, a traffic count like this looks to be more adequate for people of Ghajnsielem than for the people of Qala. And I ask, who gave them the terms of reference?
Do not forget that CO2 emissions in the air are still increasing. The report ‘Atmospheric Lead Concentration Level in The Maltese Islands’, issued by MEPA which deals with emissions of CO2 Malta and Gozo, clearly shows that Qala is the second most highly polluted village in Gozo and two times polluted more than Rue D’Argens in Msida. So can we call this a sustainable development if there will be such an increase of traffic if the project terminates? Of course not! Besides that the quarry trucks used in this project will pass through this arterial road to avoid traffic from the vicinity of the Sanctuary of Immaculate Conception, traffic problem of this project in Qala and in Gozo is not solved, but instead, the problem is being transferred from one village to another and this is obviously not good for the other villages being affected. Is this what we call seriousness?!
Do not forget that the decision we make today will affect future generations and it would be a shame on us if we let such development terminates. In 2002 Referendum, 85% of the people of Qala, voted against this development. Clearly the majority of us are against this development! We are in favor of transforming the quarry into a National Park but not in favor of the proposed project! This is just a Monster out of its place!
We are proud that of having beach like this!! Let’s SAVE it!! Don’t give up in front of those who want to get rid of Hondoq! Who loves Qala, loves all the things belonging to it.
We are strong against the developers and won’t give up for sure!
The last word but not the least, people of Qala keep strong, and don’t give up saying: NO FOR QALA CREEK AND YES FOR THE SALVATION OG HONDOQ!!
Michael Carol Bartolo
References for the above article are as follows:
1 ‘Transport Statistics 2009’ – Publication published by the National Statistics Office (refer to page 107 Section: 3.1 Total Road Traffic Accidents: 2006 – 2008) (link: http://www.nso.gov.mt/statdoc/document_file.aspx?id=2625)
2. ‘Atmospheric Particulate Lead Level Concentration in the Maltese Islands’ – Report published by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority – MEPA.
3. Moviment Harsien Hondoq website: http://www.soshondoq.blogspot.com/