The Paceville Mas­ter­plan

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

This is a com­mu­ni­ca­tion which I sent on be­half of my family to the En­vi­ron­ment and De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning Com­mit­tee dated 31 Oc­to­ber in view of the dis­cus­sion on the Paceville Mas­ter­plan.

Hon. Franco Mer­cieca MP, Com­mit­tee Chair­man, Hon. Com­mit­tee Mem­bers,

With ref­er­ence to the Com­mit­tee meet­ing sched­uled for Wed­nes­day 2 Novem­ber dur­ing which the Paceville Mas­ter­plan will be dis­cussed, we would like to share some thoughts from the per­spec­tive of res­i­dents in the area. We have read the Mas­ter­plan from cover to cover. Our family have lived in the area for decades, the first mem­bers of our family started liv­ing in the area in 1956 and still re­side here to this day.

We have never re­sorted to writ­ing such kind of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, how­ever the sit­u­a­tion that we find our­selves in war­rants it.

We can­not deny that over the past years, de­vel­op­ment in Paceville has been spo­radic and no ef­forts were made to en­sure that de­vel­op­ment takes place within cer­tain spec­i­fi­ca­tions and rules. This has re­sulted in a hodge­podge of build­ings where com­mer­cial out­lets have been al­lowed to op­er­ate in res­i­den­tial ar­eas or ar­eas very close to peo­ple’s homes.

There­fore, the fact that a Mas­ter­plan has been drafted, in it­self is wel­comed and is a step in the right di­rec­tion. What is also pos­i­tive is the plan to up­grade the in­fra­struc­ture that is so badly needed in the area, roads, sewage and wa­ter etc. Foul smells be­ing emit­ted due to block­age in the drains are a com­mon oc­cur­rence, just walk by Baystreet, usu­ally in the morn­ing. The present in­fra­struc­ture can­not bear any fur­ther de­vel­op­ment with­out be­ing up­graded.

We need to keep in mind that the area that is in­cluded in the Mas­ter­plan, is a hub for all kinds of things such as com­mer­cial and tourism ac­tiv­i­ties, but is also a res­i­den­tial area.

How­ever, there are a num­ber of con­cerns/is­sues which we would like to list in no par­tic­u­lar or­der which are not ex­haus­tive and must be ad­dressed: • ‘Paceville’ in the Mas­ter­plan in­cludes vast ar­eas of St Ju­lian’s in­clud­ing St Ge­orge’s Bay, Swieqi and Pem­broke. Th­ese ar­eas have never been con­sid­ered or even in­cluded as part of Paceville. This area in­cludes where we live. The out­reach to the gen­eral pub­lic as well as to the res­i­dents in the area has only been through a slick, feel-good and strong mar­ket­ing cam­paign. The Plan­ning Au­thor­ity has not ac­cepted to meet res­i­dents when the lo­cal coun­cils have tried to or­gan­ise meet­ings. This at least has been partly ad­dressed through a meet­ing • sched­uled for 7 Novem­ber. We ques­tion whether such a scale of a project only re­quires one meet­ing with the pub­lic; The am­bi­gu­ity in the plans, e.g land recla­ma­tion is only men­tioned once and not much information is pro­vided. The lack of un­der­stand­ing that the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of this Mas­ter­plan which will not only ef­fect Paceville and sur­round­ing ar­eas of Pem­broke and Swieqi but also fur­ther afar, e.g. Madliena, Sliema, Gżira etc. The fact that once this con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod is over, a lo­cal plan will be de­signed and this will be pre­sented as fi­nal and which can­not be re­voked; The lack of a sus­tain­able plan; The Mas­ter­plan states that this will take five years to build, this is very am­bi­tious in­deed. As Mal­tese ci­ti­zens, we are not blind (or deaf) to what goes around us. The Pen­der­gar­dens project has been go­ing on for eight years and still has a long way to go; Mis­tra re­mains a ghost build­ing; an un­sightly hole is still present in Gżira, when this project was to start years ago; and Midi have not yet fi­nalised the project of The Point or Ma­noel Is­land, etc. What will hap­pen if con­struc­tion starts and due to lack of funds this stops. What guar­an­tees will be made in or­der to en­sure that a Mas­ter­plan will be fully im­ple­mented • • • • • and com­pleted to the same stan­dards and spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the orig­i­nal plans. • We are aware that fol­low­ing the Pub­lic Do­main Act, the fore­shore must be ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic. This is some­thing that the Mas­ter­plan seems to have for­got­ten; For the Mas­ter­plan to be built, a num­ber of pri­vate prop­er­ties need to be ex­pro­pri­ated. This is at best il­le­gal. Land can­not be ex­pro­pri­ated by the gov­ern­ment and given to the pri­vate sec­tor. Where will €585 mil­lion come from, from tax pay­ers? Who will pay for the up­grad­ing of the in­fra­struc­ture? Should not the de­vel­op­ers foot the bill. Yes, a Mas­ter­plan is needed for the area, but not this Mas­ter­plan. A Mas­ter­plan which looks at the area in a holis­tic way, which in­cludes im­pact as­sess­ments on the en­vi­ron­ment, the so­cial fab­ric of the area, in­fra­struc­ture, ge­ol­ogy etc. Fi­nally, we need a Mas­ter­plan that has the Mal­tese peo­ple as well as the res­i­dents at heart and is not based on the de­vel­oper’s needs only. • •

We thank you for tak­ing the time to read our con­cerns. Only Par­lia­ment has the power to en­sure that any de­vel­op­ment projects are planned with the cit­i­zen at their very core.

An­thony Gatt on be­half of Family Gatt Swieqi

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