‘Shameful’ Comino decision for Hili Group’s village, restaurant and retail outlet

Five NGOs to appeal ERA approval of extensive Comino Hotel village, restaurant and retail outlet

Five organisations are appealing the Environment and Resources Authority’s approval of an extensive village, restaurant and retail outlet on Comino.

The organisations – BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Friends of the Earth Malta, Moviment Graffitti, and Nature Trust – are opposing the urbanisation of Comino, slamming the superficial assessment of the Hili Group’s private project on the prized nature reserve “in favour of the commercial interests of a few catering for the wealthy.”

The first appeal hearing will be on Thursday 15 September.

[SLIDESHOW] High-end bungalow village will have ‘major negative impact’ on Comino

“We cannot understand how ERA went ahead  and recommended this project when it breaches every environmental and planning policy in the book, ranging from the EU’s Habitats Directive to the Local Plan.

“Instead of safeguarding biodiversity and the delicate ecological balance of this Natura 2000 site, ERA has approved the extensive urbanisation of the island, the uprooting of 380 protected trees and the denaturation of the site. This after ERA has sat on its hands for the last years and neglected to publish the study about the carrying capacity of Comino. We have filed an appeal before the Environment Planning Review Tribunal and will demand the safeguarding of every inch of Comino.”

The development proposal, lodged by a subsidiary of the Hili Group, would see the replacement of the nine derelict bungalows currently at Santa Marija Bay with a village of 19 individually-owned villas to be sold, with a total population of 130 people, together with a restaurant and convenience store.

“This would destroy a significant area of garigue and disrupt the environmental integrity of the bay,” the NGOs said.

“It is yet another example of total disregard towards a healthy environment, is in the planning application process and will be brought in front of the PA board after a representation period where the public can send in their objections.”