Can MEPA explain why there is still no final Report on Hondoq?

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Can MEPA explain why there is still no final Report on Hondoq?Readers Letter: “During a public consultation meeting held in Qala on Wednesday evening, Gozo Minister Dr Anton Refalo, when asked about the proposed Hondoq development, stated that there would be ‘no building of any sort in Hondoq ir-Rummien valley.’ Previous to this, although PL have said they were against a hotel and marina at Hondoq, they had declined to say they were against residential units being built.

Back in 2002, MEPA gave themselves a target of 42 weeks to come to a decision on the proposed holiday village/marina at Hondoq. Allowances existed for extending this period in case Environmental and Traffic Impact Assessment (EIA & TIA) reports were required, and for consultations, appeals, public holidays, etc.

Let’s say the whole 11 years was valid extension time, from the original 2002 ODZ application, to Mepa’s refusal of an appeal by the developers in May 2013. During this time the local plan was changed without consultation in 2006 from ODZ to ‘Tourism and marine related development;’ the draft EIA & TIA were issued shortly afterwards in 2007 (revised and reissued in 2009); recommendations that the project be refused given by numerous bodies including MEPA; and finally the proposal was modified whereby the marina was to be replaced by a swimming lagoon (this being the subject of the appeal, as it required a new EIA which the developers didn’t want to do).

It is now over 42 weeks on from last May, and MEPA still hasn’t produced the final Development Planning Application Report (DPAR) which sums up everything, to put before the MEPA board so they can make their final decision.

So now PL have stated that they are against building of any sort at Hondoq, and considering all the other recommendations against the project – can MEPA explain why after all this time, it has not yet produced the DPAR so that a final decision can be made regarding the proposed development at Hondoq – noting that one of their guiding principles is: “fairness and timeliness in our decisions and their efficient and transparent enforcement?”

Jane Carr,

Gozo.

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    16 Responses

    1. Anthoney says:

      Now that Dr Refalo has stated this much awaited news. We need to go to the final decision so we can rest our minds after 12 years . Last but not least thank you Jane Carr for your on going commitment to show us what`s happening

    2. James A. Tyrrell says:

      I love that last bit Jane, “fairness and timeliness in our decisions and their efficient and transparent enforcement.” Can’t possibly be MEPA you are referring to here.

      There can be no rational or incorrupt reason why they have been swinging the lead for so long now. MEPA is under the remit of Joseph Muscat so can I suggest to him that the time has now come to close the book on this issue once and for all. Gozo is winning prizes as a holiday destination not because of concrete developments but because of the natural beauty of places like Hondoq. Everyone including 85% of Qala residents are against any form of unsustainable development in Hondoq Bay so back the people Joseph and protect this area now.

    3. sheila says:

      Well done to Jane and Paul and all the others that are trying to save this beautiful bay for everyone to be able to use in the future. Gozo would soon lose its place as the 3rd best island holiday spot if the very things that attract the tourists are built up and ruined.

    4. Antonio Bartolo says:

      Thank you Jane for this short but to the point article.
      I retain that once the Minister for Gozo officially stated that no building of any sort will take place in Hondoq ir-Rummien Vally, this should be definietly stated publicly by the MEPA and the Government.
      In this natural unique beauty Vally what is need just a clean up, add more indigenous trees and save the natural environment.
      Thank you for all those people who are defending this gem of our local nature.

    5. Joseph says:

      Dr Refalo pls pick up d phone ad instruct mepa to do it`s work cause we want this Hondoq problem solved now that you have been quoted that you do not want any building down there , That`s what 99% of all of us want

    6. Lesley Kreupl says:

      To answer your question, one needs to unravel all the connections between the ‘owners’ of the land, the would-be developers, the applicable politicians (mayors, ministers, etc.) and the government officials. I don’t think the problem will be solved in my lifetime which will hopefully give the bay a few more years of peace!

    7. Marie Benoit says:

      I recall journalists being taken to Hondoq from Malta by helicopter all those years ago, to try and persuade them that it was such a good idea to develop Hondoq. It isn’t. It never was and never will be. But there must be a great deal of lobbying going on with MEPA etc.in the hope that permission will finally be given to build in this area. A handful of greedy people must be behind this.

    8. Jeremy Marsh says:

      I agree that MEPA are being very unfair in not finalising this issue. The local council cannot be expected to invest in improvement of the infrastructure at Hondoq until its future is decided. The ablution and changing facilities desperately need refurbishment. This would further improve its appeal to tourists and Gozo residents.

    9. Peter says:

      Good news is what dr refalo said and the bad news is that hondoq bay will remain as no 1 target for developers to take it away from us

    10. Eliza says:

      An airstrip in Gozo??? The possibilities of disaster if this happened is endless for Gozo. Think of how many inexperienced pilots may fly these planes and all the plane exhaust over Gozo. You don’t need to have carnivals in Gozo anymore because Gozo is turning into a carnival.

      • Mick Cundy says:

        Eliza, where did this article mention an airport? This is about the proposed Hondoq development. If you may be referring to the mention of a possible grass strip runway then rest assured no jets will be landing. Also, all pilots are inexperienced until they have accumulated flying hours but the majority are experienced. (A bit like learning and driving a car.)

      • GAB...GAB says:

        Reply to Mr Mick Cundy

        Gozo airstrip preparatory works welcomed by GTA and the GBC

        The Gozo Tourism Association and the Gozo Business Chamber in a joint statement today said that they welcome favourably the commencement of the preparatory works in connection with the airstrip on Gozo at the former heliport.

        “Both GTA and GBC, would like to reiterate that since their inception in February and December 1999, respectively, their stand regarding the airlink between Malta and Gozo has always been that, in favour of an airstrip.”

        “These two Gozitan constituted bodies, representing the majority of the Gozitan businesses, strongly believe that the establishment of a sustainable air service, is another additional infrastructural investment, towards the connectivity between both Islands.,” the GTA and the GBC said.

        They added, “such an investment, will not only offer an inter-island scheduled service for locals and tourists visiting the islands, but it will also offer the possibility of opening direct routes to Gozo from Schengen countries in the region.”

        “The future of the tourism industry on Gozo, relies more than ever on additional connectivity to reach the island. Thus the availability of an airlink, will keep the Island of Gozo competitively marketable with so many emerging, destinations world wide. Gozo, as a distinct island tourist destination, can be competitive if there are reliable, consistent, effective and cost sensitive types of connections from and to the mainland and from the outside world.”

        The Gozo Tourism Association and the Gozo Business Chamber concluded by saying that they would like to “take this opportunity to encourage the Ministry for Gozo to continue seeking the common good in favour of our Island… Gozo.”

        http://gozonews.com/43434/gta-gbc-welcome-start-of-works-in-connection-with-gozo-airstrip/

      • James A. Tyrrell says:

        @GAB…GAB. The Gozo Tourism Association and the Gozo Business Chamber have no idea what they are talking about. They are not in the least bit interested in the tourism side of Gozo because if they were they wouldn’t be supporting the destruction of the peace and quiet that draws people to the island. Proof that they don’t know what they are talking about can be seen when they talk about a sustainable air service when every single study ever carried out has shown that an air service between Malta and Gozo can never be financially sustainable.

    11. eliza says:

      Many people who fly those small planes have little experience and many people who fly those small planes have experience. You know as well as I do that a lot of people could get a license to fly very easily without many hours of experience. Just the other day, on tv, a lady was saying that she and her boyfriend learned how to fly a helicopter in only 11 hours and had no fear of doing it. Many people can also obtain fraudulent licenses.

    12. mario says:

      Dear friends nothing is going to happen because Hondoq ir rummien is a golden cow that everyone wants to put his finger in. Shame on those who wants to ruin that beach

    13. Eliza says:

      An important subject which I have never seen mentioned is how often does Air Malta get new passenger planes? In yesterdays news it was stated that Air Malta experienced technical difficulties. I read about air Malta having these problems through the years. I never hear about Air Malta getting new planes. I was shocked when i read “overall appearance of aircraft and or passenger seat is old an not in good condition”

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