Qala Creek Developers apply to use Government Land

Email item Email item Print item Print item

Qala Creek Developers apply to use Government Land - NGOsMoviment Harsien Hondoq, FAA, Ramblers, Nature Trust, Wirt Ghawdex, FoE Malta, Din l-Art Helwa and GUG urgently request that the public be informed as to whether any requests for the transfer of land at Hondoq Bay have been received by the Lands Department.

Hondoq ir-Rummien’s chequered planning history began with the 1969 Government expropriation of Hondoq Quarry including the site of the Reverse Osmosis plant, in order to provide stone for the Mgarr breakwater.

In 1988, Gozo Prestige Holidays entered into a ‘promise of sale’ with the previous owners, the Augustinian Brothers, dependant on full development permits being acquired. The same year Qala Local Council also applied to convert the area into a National Park, but the high permit fees required by MEPA meant it was not feasible to continue at the time.

In June 2002, the land was returned to the Augustinian Brothers, excluding the site of the reverse osmosis plant. In July the developers put in an application for the Qala Creek Project, despite the area’s ODZ status, and the fact that the proposal violated the draft Local Plan published in June 2002, agreed upon by Qala Local Council and MEPA. This stated: “The preferred use is to reclaim the area either for agricultural use or afforestation.”

The slightly modified Qala Creek development project was again presented to MEPA in January 2006, but was still contrary to the draft Local Plan and ODZ status. However, these issues were ‘resolved’ when the final Local Plan was published in August 2006. This had been changed without the knowledge or approval of Qala Local Council or the public, and now stated: “The preferred use is to sensitively develop the area. Tourism and marine related development may be considered by MEPA”.

MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate (EPD) took 3 years to get a non-biased EIS of acceptable quality from the developers, until finally a “barely certifiable version” was received. Subsequently the EPD recommended the project’s refusal in mid-2011.

Before the MEPA Board could give its final decision on the project, the developers withdrew the original proposal, and suggested a new one in late 2011, replacing the marina with a swimming lagoon, despite the developers previously insistence that the marina was essential to the project’s success.

This proposal went beyond the footprint of the original application, hence MEPA requested that the developers submit a totally new application. The developers appealed against this, and the process is still ongoing.

The additional footprint is the land with the reverse osmosis plant, which is still Government-owned. The developers want to demolish the plant and build the public car park there. By doing this, they gain extra space within the original project area.

In accordance with the Development Planning Act, the Hondoq Creek developers notified the Land Department of their intentions. Moviment Harsien Hondoq, FAA, Ramblers, Nature Trust, Wirt Ghawdex, FoE Malta, Din l-Art Helwa and GUG request an urgent public reply by the Lands Dept. as to whether any requests for the transfer of this land have been received by them and ask the authorities to state clearly their stance on this transfer of land and on the proposed development on it.

The Associations feel very strongly about this site being handed over for speculative purposes.

Moviment Harsien Hondoq, FAA, Ramblers, Nature Trust, Wirt Ghawdex, FoE Malta, Din l-Art Helwa and GUG.

The Save Hondoq petition, which so far has attracted more than four thousand signatures, can be found at http://raxerri.com/soshondoq/ .

  • Permalink: Qala Creek Developers apply to use Government Land
  • You may also like...

    7 Responses

    1. mario Pace says:

      Well done to all the NGO`s who are safe guarding our heritage ,

      Hondoq should remain for everyone and not for the few

    2. Malcolm x says:

      Can I apply to demolish Castille? The way we are going we all can apply to demolish public land.

      LEAVE HONDOQ ALONE

    3. Lesley Kreupl says:

      This project reeks or Corruption with a capital “C”! Forget about perceived…..
      With elections coming up in the near future, I am sure the parties involved are either rubbing their hands together or preparing their pockets!

      A ‘swimming lagoon’ is turned into a Marina in a week or two with the addition of a couple of pontoons and a bit of building rubble. Surely the government is not so blind and ignorant that it believes what the developer says?

      Once the damage is done, it can’t just be undone – look at the Nadur cemetery!

      It is disgusting that this project hasn’t been discarded once and for all.

    4. cikku l-poplu says:

      Hondoq area is a holy cow that all developers have turned their eyes on to see how much money they can get out of it like has happened on this latest application.

      Lands department don`t do the same mistake that you did in 2002.

    5. Sabine Ferguson says:

      Isn’t there an Eco-Gozo Project ? These “developers” (what do they really develop ? = The size of their Wallet ) are only green …. with greed.
      And who’s going to benefit from their so-called developments which destroy the natural environment ? Put it simply : Qui bono ?

    6. peter paul says:

      When all this nonsense of an application is going to be thrown out so that we all can put our mind at rest.

      Hondoq area is vital for the local community and it should be safeguarded at all costs

    7. joe cutajar ny says:

      If the people in charge of our islands put a stop to all this nonsense and throw this wicked and evil application out the door , then maybe all the maltese people wont be tortured the way they are being tortured ,after all 85% of the referendum voted NO . Are Malta and Gozo a democracy or what ? Sure doesnt seem like it .With all there Will and Power, the Qala people should fight this to the very end .LEAVE HONDOQ ALONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *