PD warns of “public land in Gozo targeted by private speculators”
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Partit Demokratiku, in a statement, said that it has been alerted to a Planning Application (PA/02557/17) for Gharb, Gozo, to construct a class 3 inclusive indoor pool, including a class 4C facility and adjacent open recreation area.
It said that there is also an application “to sanction differences in the leisure park layout and design from permission (PA 5609/07), which in itself, refers to an approved application in 2007 to develop the site as a two-level adventure and recreation playground.”
The PD warned that these application/s are, “setting the scene for the transfer of a considerable portion of public land to unknown private entities under the guise of a Public-Private Partnership. This application is for a class 3C subterranean (25 metre heated swimming pool) and a 4C catering facility.”
“The public has no information on who this private partner is, what the terms and conditions set in the Private-Public agreement are, and how this in turn would benefit the general public,” said Partit Demokratiku, adding that it, “strongly disapproves of such an application.”
PD stressed that “a Public Authority must in no way facilitate the transfer and transformation of public land into a private enterprise, thereby denying the general public the enjoyment without restriction of this land, so that a select few can make a hefty profit.”
“Most of the area earmarked for this development is designated as an Open Air Formal Recreational Area GZ-RECR-4 in the local plan,” said PD.
“By no stretch of the imagination can a class 3C subterranean pool and 4C facility fall within the definition of an ‘open air formal recreational area,” it added.
PD noted that the Gozo and Comino Local Plan delineates that “non-residential swimming baths or pools are permissible only if they are of a small scale, do not create an adverse impact on the residential amenity of the area, and are located on land already occupied by buildings.”
“Given that this is virgin land and has both olive and pine trees that are protected under The Environment and Protection Act Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulations, 2018, this land should never succumb to the power of profit,” stated Partit Demokratiku.