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