Mayor warns gov­ern­ment over ‘ex­ag­ger­ated’ Sig­giewi de­vel­op­ment

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Sig­giewi res­i­dents have been ob­ject­ing to a planned so­cial hous­ing pro­ject in their lo­cal­ity since 2006, Mayor Alessia Psaila Zam­mit said re­cently dur­ing a pub­lic meet­ing.

“The lo­cal coun­cil had made sev­eral ap­peals to stop the pro­ject and for con­sul­ta­tion with every sec­tion of the Sig­giewi com­mu­nity to take place, so that the best use for the land can be found, to be used by the com­mu­nity.”

The coun­cil holds that the num­ber res­i­dences should re­duce, and com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties in­crease, and that part of the land be turned into an open com­mu­nity space.

Psaila Zam­mit said that Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary Rod­er­ick Galdes was in­vited to a pub­lic meet­ing, “yet did not have the courage to face res­i­dents.”

She ar­gued that gov­ern­ment was ig­nor­ing the chal­lenges that the coun­cil, as well as res­i­dents, warned about and that this pro­ject will cre­ate, in­clud­ing traf­fic, park­ing is­sues and lack of proper plan­ning for the large in­flux of fam­i­lies in a lim­ited space.

The coun­cil, she said, will go to who­ever is po­lit­i­cally re­spon­si­ble for the pro­ject and wait for so­lu­tions for these prob­lems. She said that the prac­tice whereby the au­thor­i­ties im­pose large projects and then leave the lo­cal coun­cil and res­i­dents strug­gle due to the con­se­quences will not be ac­cepted in Sig­giewi.

“Those who are stub­born about this de­vel­op­ment must carry the re­spon­si­bil­ity, and of­fer so­lu­tions for every prob­lem, big or small, that will oc­cur be­cause of this pro­ject if it is de­vel­oped as pro­posed. It would be bet­ter for gov­ern­ment to lis­ten to the Sig­giewi res­i­dents, and de­velop a pro­ject that would be wel­comed by res­i­dents.”

She noted that gov­ern­ment has yet an­other so­cial hous­ing de­vel­op­ment planned just a few me­tres away. She said that this is a dis­pro­por­tion­ate di­vi­sion of so­cial hous­ing units, and that there needs to be a bet­ter spread among the lo­cal­i­ties. “If this oc­curs, Sig­giewi will be bur­dened with the de­vel­op­ment of more than 150 so­cial hous­ing res­i­dences within a few years. This means that a quar­ter of the 640 so­cial hous­ing units gov­ern­ment will build this leg­is­la­ture will be in Sig­giewi. This will be done with­out the au­thor­i­ties pre­sent­ing stud­ies such as a so­cial im­pact as­sess­ment.”

So­ci­ol­o­gist Michael Briguglio also spoke dur­ing the event, and said that these projects are not the mod­ern way of how one should treat so­cial cases, and such projects could re­sult in ghet­tos in­stead of in­te­gra­tion and in­clu­sion.

A quar­ter of this leg­is­la­ture’s 640 so­cial hous­ing units will be in Sig­giewi… with­out pre­sent­ing stud­ies such as a so­cial im­pact as­sess­ment.

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