CCTV camera tracking of trucks needed through Qala

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CCTV camera tracking of trucks needed through QalaBy Paul Buttigieg, Vice Mayor, Qala Local Council.

“For years now I have been highlighting the illegal activities of a quarry owner in Qala who has dumped thousands of tons of rubble, excavated from various parts of Gozo, on an area of virgin land known as ta-Muxi. During the process many rubble walls were knocked down, and flora and fauna destroyed.

The council had written to the authorities to take action, but only when I went on national television showing a film of the illegal dumping actually taking place, did MEPA put an enforcement notice on this site.

“The quarry owner is now trying to sanction the illegal dumping by covering it up with top soil and planting olive trees. I organised an objection letter to MEPA where some 28 land owners affected by the dumping asked MEPA to make the quarry owner remove the illegal waste from their fields.

“The quarry was given its permit in 1998, one condition being that the trucks should not pass through the village core but by an alternative route known as tas-Simar, which passes through fields and would cause minimal disruption to Qala residents. However, the trucks use Wileg and Conception Streets instead, where they disturb many households with noise and diesel fumes.

“To ease the traffic of heavy trucks from the village, the council had organised for Wileg Street to be one-way for trucks, but these regulations are ignored as the trucks still use this street as a two-way route. The narrowness of the road, the violation of the one-way system and the excessive speed of the trucks, has been the cause of several accidents.

“Sometimes wardens or police have patroled Wileg Street to book trucks contravening the one-way ruling, but not surprisingly when police are there, no contraventions take place.

“For 2 years now I have been suggesting the installation of CCTV cameras along Wileg, Conception and Simar Streets. This way the trucks will know they are being monitored and act appropriately or face financial penalties and/or revokation of the quarry permits for failure to comply with conditions.

“(The Hondoq EIA actually proposed that all traffic to Hondoq should also pass through tas-Simar Street. Considering it seems impossible to enforce the law on just one contractor, how can one hope to enforce the law on those thousands of people that visit Hondoq every year?)

“Another condition for the permit was that the quarry owner should pay 2000 liri (4600 euros) per annum to cover damages made to local streets. After 14 years I am unaware of the council receiving one cent of this money.

“After living all my life in Qala, being 5½ years on the council, listening to the complaints of residents, numerous meetings with various authorities and after seeing with my own eyes what is happening, I strongly believe that the only solution is to install CCTV cameras at strategic points in Wileg, Conception and Simar Steets.

“The council has already requested that MEPA install, and maintain such a system, since this is the only way to ensure that all heavy trucks pass through the streets they are meant to, as per the permit conditions set out by MEPA.”

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    21 Responses

    1. albert says:

      Why should this cowboy keep on ignoring rules set up by Mepa Qala residents should be respected .

      Mr Buttigieg is a dedicated hard working person and wish that we had a councillor like him here in Sliema

    2. James A. Tyrrell says:

      The installation of cameras in Qala to monitor this situation is an excellent idea so why is it not being implemented?

      Given the fact that this particular quarry owner appears to be above the law, treats Qala as if it is his own private shortcut and refuses to comply with the financial conditions of his permit which state that he should pay Lm2000 (€4,600) per annum to cover damages made to local streets it would seem the Government don’t want cameras there as it would mean they would have to actually take action against him. It appears he is being protected so how high does that protection go?

      • Drew Andersen says:

        Paul,
        Kudos to you for not dropping the ball on this! It was your tenacious efforts that finally got the attention of the right support in addressing this abuse! Qala is fortunate to have had you as their vice-mayor and councilman!

        Awguri!

    3. peter paul says:

      here in nadur we have the same problem from a very well known contractor and still nothing happens.I hope some similar action will be taken over here.

    4. mario Pace says:

      In this day and age cctv cameras are the only solution so people that do not observe rules would be punished.

      Qala local do put them in so we will see what happens

    5. Joseph Attard says:

      It is clear that Mr Buttigieg has only the best interests of Qala at heart and I wish him every success in putting a stop to these illegal practices. These criminals must not be allowed to treat the village of Qala as their own. What sort of useless Ministry do we have on Gozo that allows this to happen?

    6. Mr.Pipps says:

      we were in the process of purchasing a nice farmhouse in qala, coming from the UK we expect to have a clean area with dust that these trucks create, however needless to say the deal fell through, as we moved to a much safer and quieter area with hardly any dirt or dust fouling the air that we breath.

      • paul Buttigieg says:

        Mr Pipps I do feel sorry for what happened re your your farmhouse in Qala .

        That`s why I am campaigning for these cameras to be installed so we can have a better and safer place to live

    7. lesley kreupl says:

      You are so right, something really should be done. I was travelling behind two huge trucks yesterday on my way to Hondoq, both of which went straight through the centre of Qala spewing dust and debris in their wake. What a pity MEPA is such a useless, toothless entity……

    8. John says:

      I lived in Qala for over thirty years and cameras will surely solve the problem .What is Mepa waiting for .

      Paul keep on putting pressure .you are a true gentleman

      See ya next year

      Thunder from down under

    9. Jonathan says:

      This idea should be implemented so Mepa can solve a lot of problems that it created without taking into consideration the problems that would come after

    10. Beowulf says:

      I would just like to congratulate Mr Buttigieg for bringing this matter to the attention of the general public and also for his continuous work behind the scenes to save Hondoq from the developers. I don’t think people fully appreciate the amount of work Paul puts in with regard to this and he really needs to be recognised for it. Keep it up Paul.

    11. Michael says:

      I spend approx 3 months each year in Wileg where I have a holiday flat.it is now like a dusty racetrack with overloaded lorries travelling in both directions from before dawn to after dusk.Will it take a fatality before some action is taken to stop the cowboy drivers who do not give a damn about anything but their bonus

      • Dave Rockcliffe says:

        I know where you are coming from Michael, however we are talking about lorry drivers who simply don’t care about the people living around Qala, or the rest of Gozo for that matter. Needless to say we have moved away to a cleaner environment, far away from Qala and Wileg in particular, so my advice is if anyone suffers from asthma or similar, stay away from Gozo if you want to live a little bit longer.

    12. Astrid Vella says:

      Well done Pawlu. The long-term tolerance of these cowboys is scandalous and it is to your credit that someone is ready to stand up to them!

    13. Xandru says:

      Wake up mepa and do the right thing

    14. paul Buttigieg says:

      Thanks to all your comments .It gives me strength to keep on doing all my effort to safeguard our Qala we all love

    15. Julie wiltshire says:

      One rule for one and one rule for another comes to mind here. I don’t understand why Qala council should have to even worry about these trucks, and drivers who blatantly abuse the law. Surely this is a highways and policing matter. Qala has a resident police station, and presumably an officer on duty at all times, paid for by the council and tax payers. I run a small bed and breakfast in qala, my property being street front with no footpath. Many a time myself, guests and my two dogs, take our life into our hands just by simply stepping out of the front door. It’s irresponsible and neglectful for any of the law regulators to allow this to happen. We all have the right to live safely, and in a clean environment. The people that flaunt the laws should be taken to task by the authorities, and not the general public who just want to get through the day without any major incidents.
      Another pat on the back for Paul Buttegieg who campaigns tirelessly for the residents of Qala, thank you Paul.
      By the way, in the time it has taken me to write this response, on a Saturday afternoon, 4 trucks have thundered past Lellux, the main road through Qala, forbidden for trucks to pass

    16. Thomas Neumann says:

      Many Thanks to Mr. Paul Buttigieg. He is doing a very very good Job here in Qala. And about this thing: What is MEPA waiting for????

    17. cikku l poplu says:

      This letter has attracted quite a lot of interest because of it`s significance .This good idea should be implemented whenever all attempts failed and the only solution is the cameras .
      Let`s see if the council will do it`s utmost to solve this problem. If not I will comment at a later stage.

      • Michael says:

        The point here is that all other methods previously tried have failed , by waiting for someone to come up with a new solution we are putting off even further the time when the people of Qala will have a healthier & safer enviroment

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