Government needs to go back to drawing board on Paceville master plan – Marthese Portelli
“The Paceville Master Plan should go back to the drawing board in order to safeguard the interests of residents and small businesses,” Shadow Minister for the Environment, Energy and Transport Marthese Portelli said this morning at a press conference at the PN headquarters.
She stressed that the Nationalist Party agrees that a master plan for the area should be drawn up but the project should benefit the many instead of the few. She spoke about the proposed construction of various new roads which cut directly through a number of residential properties as evidence that the interests and rights of residents are not being taken into consideration by the project.
The master plan should also look after the interests of the businesses which already operate in Paceville, Dr Portelli said. According to the shadow minister, the project currently proposes that a number of shops and small businesses will have to relocate or shut down all together, leaving a number of people uncertain about their future.
This is why, she claimed, the master plan has raised numerous questions without giving any answers.
Next on the agenda was the issue surrounding the proposed reclamation of land. This, she said, should not take place as there is no justification for the reclamation of marine land, since it would only cause greater damage to the surrounding environment and the interests of its residents.
The shadow minister also insisted that the public needed to be assured that the foreshore would remain in the public domain and should remain accessible to everyone and not obstructed in any way.
Dr Portelli went on to say that the population needed to be assured that the master plan will include infrastructural plans which would tackle issues surrounding public transport, traffic, and parking in the area, while also providing a sufficient waste management and drainage system reflective of increases to the area’s population density.
The PN also called for the inclusion of the various local councils in the surrounding areas of Paceville in discussions since localities such as Swieqi would also be affected by the infrastructural issues which the master plan would create.
Dr Portelli then said that the master plan should also be drawn up around the area’s carrying capacity instead of in a reckless manner.
The shadow minister, along with Ryan Callus, also called out the conflict of interest surrounding Mott MacDonald, the international firm tasked with designing the master plan, which has also worked with one of the largest proposed developments in the area.
This was in fact the second instance of a conflict of interest, Mr Callus said, since the same consultancy firm is also involved in the land reclamation proposed for Portomaso.