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Tourism Authority cautiously supports new Kalanka hotel

The Malta Tourism Authority expresses reservations on height of proposed hotel but supports principle of redeveloping site of derelict hotel

James Debono
29 July 2017, 9:20am
A new hotel needs both a planning permit and a tourism compliance certificate to operate
A new hotel needs both a planning permit and a tourism compliance certificate to operate
The Malta Tourism Authority has described the proposed hotel in Kalanka, Delimara, as “a good touristic opportunity” but fell short of endorsing the project by issuing a Tourism Policy Compliance Certificate, expressing concern on the proposed height of the hotel.

After expressing doubts that “the proposed height of the hotel is reasonable within the context of the site,” the MTA concluded that “the project should be considered further by the Planning Authority” and that the MTA should be kept updated about the development, adding that the success of the project depended on how well it is integrated in the surrounding environment.

A new hotel needs both a planning permit and a tourism compliance certificate to operate. But the letter sent in reply to the developer’s application for a compliance certificate suggests that the authority is reluctant to issue such a certificate before the Planning Authority addresses concerns on the visual impact of the project.

But while expressing some reservations on the visual impact of the proposed development, the MTA is largely supportive of the idea of redeveloping the derelict hotel by saying that since the original use of the site was that of a hotel, the use of the site as “a service oriented structure” is already established. It also notes that developer Keneth Abela is keen on “establishing links with other eco-tourism initiatives” in the area.  

According to the MTA the project also has “a reasonable opportunity for success.”  It also deemed the current state at Kalanka as “not acceptable”, adding that the area is in need of an “upgrade.”

The hotel development was reviewed by the Authority’s Special Projects Committee, which is chaired by MTA chairman and PL candidate Gavin Gulia.

The PA’s own Design Advisory Committee – which advises the authority on design issues – has yet to express an opinion on the project and has asked 3d visuals of the project from various viewpoints before issuing its verdict.

The PA has received more than 450 objections presented by concerned citizens against the development.

Objectors who wrote in to the PA argued that the proposed hotel, which is outside development zones, would increase the current built footprint and have a negative impact on the site, which is scheduled as an Area of High Landscape Value and an Area of Ecological Importance.

The project proposes the replacement of the derelict Delimara Bay Hotel with the new Kalanka boutique hotel comprising 13 luxury suites, three superior deluxe suites and one presidential suite. Proposed amenities include a lounge area, bar and restaurant, gymnasium, a spa, and an outdoor pool. The built up area will increase from 343m2 to 561m2. The existing concrete terracing to the west of the building will be replaced with landscaping.  

The proposed 3 star hotel is being proposed to cater “the growing eco-tourism niche market in Malta” and as a way to increase tourism accommodation in the Marsaxlokk area.  

An Environmental Impact Assessment warns that the impact on the landscape character of Delimara is considered to be of major negative significance. 

“Notwithstanding that there are existing structures on the site, the scheme will result in a large change in the rural / natural landscape with the introduction of a larger and taller hotel building with a modern form”. 

The  Environmental Impact Assessment warns that the construction of a tunnel linking the proposed Kalanka hotel and the beach could undermine the stability of the cliff and suggests that the negative geological impact of this development would be minimised if the proposal is dropped entirely.

James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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