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