Midi files counter-protest

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Midi yes­ter­day, through its lawyer Pro­fes­sor Ian Re­falo, filed a counter-protest to the ju­di­cial protest sent by the Com­mis­sioner of Lands on 22 Septem­ber, and dis­missed as un­founded the al­le­ga­tion that it had in any way breached any of the con­di­tions in the deed of em­phy­teu­sis granted to it by the said Com­mis­sioner in re­spect of Ma­noel Is­land.

Specif­i­cally, clause 15 of the deed can in no way be in­ter­preted as giv­ing a right of pas­sage ei­ther to the claimant or, more so, the pub­lic. On the con­trary, while clause 1.2, which grants rights of ac­cess to the fore­shore, is not be­ing con­tested, this clause does not give rights of ac­cess over Midi’s prop­erty, but is only in­tended to give rights from two par­tic­u­lar points.

The counter-protest adds that the Com­mis­sioner is bound to guar­an­tee the peace­ful pos­ses­sion of the prop­erty granted to Midi, free from any servi­tudes. In­deed, clause 5.1 of the Deed specif­i­cally states that this obli­ga­tion ex­cludes only the rights re­lat­ing to providers of mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices, and this solely for the pur­pose of main­tain­ing such ser­vices.

Whilst main­tain­ing its rights at law to pre­vent pub­lic ac­cess over its pri­vate prop­erty, as out­lined above, Midi has heard what the gov­ern­ment, the Gżira lo­cal coun­cil and pub­lic opin­ion have had to say, and, with­out prej­u­dice to its rights at law, is pre­pared to al­low pedes­trian ac­cess un­til the devel­op­ment has been com­pleted (at which stage ac­cess is gov­erned by the deed) over part of its prop­erty, and specif­i­cally the south­fac­ing road lead­ing from the cur­rent en­trance gate to the fore­shore be­low the steps un­der Fort Ma­noel.

From this point, the pub­lic will be able to walk around the fore­shore of the en­tire is­land, al­ways within a five-me­tre dis­tance from the seashore.

Of course, Midi will re­quire the Plan­ning Au­thor­ity to sanc­tion cer­tain fenc­ing, sig­nage and other se­cu­rity equip­ment needed to ren­der the area safe. Dur­ing this time, the com­pany is pre­pared to ac­cede to the re­quest by the Gżira lo­cal coun­cil, as ex­pressed in its press re­lease of 16 Septem­ber, 2016, viz: “Un­til the in­fra­struc­ture and se­cu­rity mea­sures are im­ple­mented, con­trolled pedes­trian ac­cess un­der sur­veil­lance will be given to the pub­lic dur­ing the week­ends from 8am to 8pm.” This will start with ef­fect from this com­ing week­end.

Midi ex­pects the pub­lic to re­spect the five-me­tre lim­i­ta­tion from the fore­shore, and not to tres­pass be­yond onto its pri­vate prop­erty, ex­cept for the south-fac­ing ac­cess road, as hap­pened yet again last week­end, when some of those who en­tered force­fully went into Fort Ma­noel and forced open the door to the re­cently re­stored chapel de­voted to St An­thony.

Midi so­lic­its the Gżira lo­cal coun­cil to as­sume re­spon­si­bil­ity for any­one en­ter­ing the is­land be­yond the fore­shore, not least in the in­ter­ests of their own safety.

Midi is plan­ning to once again hold an open week­end within a few weeks, when the pub­lic can visit Fort Ma­noel to view the restora­tion works car­ried out.

Midi re­grets the at­tempt made to make it ap­pear to have acted abu­sively, and hence is con­test­ing through the counter-protest. How­ever it would like to show its good­will in ac­ced­ing to the re­quests made to ac­cess the fore­shore over its prop­erty. It hopes this will bring this sad saga to a sat­is­fac­tory close.

Midi’s CEO, Luke Cop­pini, added that the mas­ter­plan be­ing car­ried out by world renowned ar­chi­tec­tural firm Foster & Part­ners should be com­pleted by the end of this year and will in­clude all the pub­lic ac­cess stip­u­lated in the deed of em­phy­teu­sis as well as a pub­lic park.

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