Activists to consider direct action in absence of satisfactory explanation on Zonqor drilling
● American University of Malta owners have not yet filed planning application
Kamp Emergenza Ambjent – the activist group which came to prominence over the Manoel Island access saga – is considering taking direct action if no satisfactory explanations are provided on ‘core drilling tests’ that are currently being carried out in Zonqor Point, Marsascala.
This newspaper reported on the drilling tests last week after news of the activity in the area that could soon house the larger campus of the American University of Malta was revealed by PN councilor and activist Charlot Cassar.
Mr Cassar has since claimed that the tests are being carried out “with the blessing” of the Office of the Prime Minister but said he has not been told whether the drilling is covered by the necessary permits.
The PN councilor was told by the Marsascala council secretary that Mayor Mario Calleja had “verified” with the OPM that the tests were geological in nature. But Mr Cassar was left none the wiser as to whether the works were covered by planning permits.
The Mayor has now asked the council secretary to write to the Planning Authority so that the council is given a formal answer and explanation.
Front Harsien ODZ has also demanded answers from the Planning Authority and pointed out that, to date there is no official application for the development of the American University of Malta on this site.
“Government should immediately clarify the matter, and the Planning Authority should immediately state whether such works are covered by a permit. The government should respect the public and be transparent on the situation at Zonqor, which was subject to Malta’s biggest ever environmental protest in 2015,” it added.
Sadeen group does not have planning permits
Kamp Emergenza Ambjent also referred in a Facebook post to the core-cutting tests taking place at Zonqor - “a public ODZ area which the Maltese government gave to Sadeen for private development.”
“People should know that, although the contract between Sadeen and government has been signed, building in that area is subject to approval from the Planning Authority. To date, no application for development has been filed with the PA. Thus, it is extremely worrying that core-cutting is happening at Zonqor when Sadeen is definitely not in possession of a development permit.”
The group said people have a right to know whether this is happening with the authorities’ approval or otherwise.
“Kamp Emergenza Ambjent shall be considering direct action should such core-cutting continues in Zonqor without any satisfactory explanation provided.”
In comments to The Malta Independent, KEA member Andre Callus said it was too soon to speak about the type of direction action that could be taken.
“For now we are waiting for an explanation. If that doesn’t happen there are different avenues one may take.”
KEA was involved in other activities prior to the Manoel Island saga, including when it ‘occupied’ Castille square in May in protest against the destruction of the environment and later on this year when it blocked access to the Environment and Resources Authority offices in relation to the high rise issue.
Originally the Sadeen group had planned to construct a 90,000 square metre campus in Zonqor, entirely on ODZ land.
After a public outcry it announced that the project would be split in two – a smaller campus would be based at the old buildings along Dock 1 in Cospicua and a larger campus measuring 31,000 square meters will be based in Zonqor.
It says that only 18,000 square metres of pristine land will be devoured by the project.
To date no planning applications have been filed for the Zonqor site.