MHRA will not rush its con­clu­sions on Paceville master plan, de­spite im­pend­ing dead­line

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

The Malta Ho­tels and Restau­rants As­so­ci­a­tion will not rush its con­clu­sion re­port on the Paceville master plan, de­spite the ever near­ing pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion dead­line.

The GRTU re­cently held an in­for­ma­tive meet­ing for en­trepreneurs around the Paceville area, who ex­pressed con­cerns about prop­erty ex­pro­pri­a­tions. Ac­cord­ing to GRTU cal­cu­la­tions, some 30 premises be­long­ing to busi­nesses would end up be­ing ex­pro­pri­ated.

MHRA Pres­i­dent Tony Zahra was asked for the MHRA’s opin­ion on this.

The MHRA Pres­i­dent said that he is not privy to the GRTU’s cal­cu­la­tions ar­riv­ing at that num­ber. “From our side, we have com­mis­sioned a pro­fes­sional or­gan­i­sa­tion to run the rule over the plan. We can speak in more de­tail once we have this re­port.”

He said this re­port should be com­plete within four weeks. “This is a big thing, not some­thing you do in a week. We al­ready made the point to the Plan­ning Au­thor­ity that if you build a build­ing, it will be there for at least 50 years. You can­not re­lease a plan and say ‘now an­swer me in four weeks’. That is not very pro­fes­sional. You need to give us time to put to­gether a pro­fes­sional team who can do these things, and no­body is sit­ting around do­ing noth­ing. We wanted a three-month ex­ten­sion. We got a three-week ex­ten­sion which is not re­ally enough”.

“We will do it pro­fes­sion­ally and present it. If there is some­one who be­lieves he can steam­roll, then fine, he does that, what can I do about that? We will try to do what we can but we will do a good job, and if it takes longer than the ex­ten­sion given then so be it. We don’t like be­ing steam­rolled. We’re here and if you want our opin­ion we will give it to you, If you want the opin­ion of an id­iot go else­where.”

The pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion ends on 25 Novem­ber.

The En­vi­ron­ment and De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning Com­mit­tee in Par­lia­ment is due to meet today, to con­tinue its dis­cus­sion on the hotly de­bated master plan.

Speak­ing with this news­room, Front Ħar­sien ODZ rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dr Co­lette Sciber­ras, who in­tends to speak in today’s meet­ing, said that Front Ħar­sien ODZ is against the idea of ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land for pri­vate in­ter­ests, and main­tains that un­til it is demon­strated that this is done in the pub­lic in­ter­est such prac­tice may be con­sid­ered a breach of hu­man rights.

“More­over, the ‘in­for­mal’ con­sul­ta­tion be­tween cer­tain busi­ness own­ers and the PA, strongly sug­gests that the plan was put to­gether to ac­com­mo­date these busi­ness own­ers to the detri­ment of oth­ers and of res­i­dents. Front Ħar­sien ODZ re­it­er­ates that all cor­re­spon­dence re­ceived and min­utes to any meet­ings held should be made avail­able for pub­lic scru­tiny.”

Front Ħar­sien ODZ calls for a na­tional master­plan that re-con­sid­ers high­rise from a na­tional per­spec­tive in con­junc­tion with a land recla­ma­tion pol­icy, af­ter the need and im­pacts of each are stud­ied in depth.

“The na­tional master­plan should con­sider all as­pects of de­vel­op­ment holis­ti­cally, es­pe­cially the ways trans­port, wa­ter, waste, ecol­ogy, and ge­ol­ogy im­pact one an­other and eco­nomic and so­cial as­pects. A se­ri­ous study of the car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of the is­land – and whether tourism can be al­lowed to con­tinue to grow ex­po­nen­tially – should be un­der­taken im­me­di­ately be­fore any such projects like Paceville are ap­proved,” she said.

In the last com­mit­tee meet­ing on the plan, AD Deputy Chair­per­son Carmel Ca­co­pardo made strong state­ments about the plan, say­ing that it should be sent back to the draw­ing board. He said that the master plan calls Paceville a prime coastal lo­ca­tion, yet seems to ig­nore re­cent leg­is­la­tion re­gard­ing coastal ar­eas.

The AD Deputy Chair­per­son was re­fer­ring to the 15m coastal perime­ter, and the fore­shore which is pub­lic do­main. He said that sub­stan­tial parts of use of the coast in the plan, in­clud­ing parts given through an em­phy­teu­sis to third par­ties, con­flict with laws in this re­gard.

The na­tional master­plan should con­sider all as­pects of de­vel­op­ment holis­ti­cally

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