BirdLife Malta demands Ta’ Cenc developer reveal his new plans to the public
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BirdLife Malta today slammed the Ta’ Cenc developer Victor Borg for hiding his new plans for the development of the ecologically sensitive Ta’ Cenc area from the Maltese public.
Victor Borg together with officials from MEPA met the European Commission last May following a request made by Mr. Borg’s company to discuss the fresh plans for Ta’ Cenc area. However when recently asked about the meeting by a local newspaper in Malta, Mr. Borg refused to explain what was discussed and give any insight into the new plans.
“Whilst we believe that Mr. Borg has every right to consult third parties including the Commission about his development plans for Ta’ Cenc, refusing to share his plans with the Maltese public is a clear indication that he intends to proceed with his plans for development in spite of public opposition. Because of his initial failure to forge ahead with his monstrous development in this ecologically sensitive area, Victor Borg’s new strategy is to keep his movements hidden from the public so that he can later present a fait accompli,” said Tolga Temuge, Executive Director of BirdLife Malta.
In a letter sent to the Director of MEPA on 20 November 2007, the developer Victor Borg revealed his intention to amalgamate the existing hotel extension with the new proposed hotel in a way so as to make them look as one. The area Mr. Borg wants to build a new hotel under the pretext of extension is subject to a pending infringement procedure opened against Malta by the European Commission due to insufficient Special Protection Area designation. BirdLife Malta who revealed Mr Borg’s letter to MEPA Director last year had warned that no development should even be considered until the infringement procedure is completed and the outcome finalised.
Ta’ Cenc was designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) for its internationally important breeding colonies of seabirds including the Yelkouan Shearwater, the largest breeding colony of Cory’s Shearwater and the only colony of European Storm-petrels outside of Filfla in the Maltese islands.
The case officer’s report which was sent to the developer on the 9th November 2007 drew attention to these facts and stated that the proposed development is not acceptable in terms of EU regulations as it exposes such species to adverse impacts related to light and noise pollution and therefore the protection of these species would be at risk.
“Mr. Borg may be thinking that excluding this area from the special protection status as required by the EU can give him the chance to exploit this land further for his commercial interest but he fails to acknowledge the fact that this particular area at Ta’ Cenc is already designated as a Bird Sanctuary and an Important Bird Area. If MEPA accepts this development proposal it would set a very dangerous precedent and open other Bird Sanctuaries such as Buskett to further development.” concluded Temuge.