The future of the South dissected at FAA seminar

A Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar seminar at Smart City, which will also include the participation of developer Sandro Chetcuti, will seek to discuss the future of the South of Malta as it faces the prospect of further development. 

Munxar Hill at St Thomas Bay, M'Scala
Munxar Hill at St Thomas Bay, M'Scala

Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) supported by Ramblers’ Association is planning a seminar to be held at Global College, Smart City on Saturday 28 March to discuss the options facing development in the South.

Over the past 50 years the leisure industry developed in the North, while the power stations, dockyards, gas plants and recycling plants have continued to expand in the south. While this was dictated by the harbour infrastructure, FAA argues that this does not excuse the authorities their lack of planning and effort to mitigate the social and environmental impact of this infrastructure.

Malta’s entry into the EU caused another wave of new roads and development. With the North saturated by over-development, eyes now turn to the South for virgin land at the last remaining easily-accessible coastline to develop. We are told that the South deserves a leisure industry, ignoring the fact that the skeleton of the Jerma hotel still sits on a prime site, three hotels were planned for Smart City and many neglected heritage buildings are in need of sensitive conversion and re-use. FAA contends that with holistic planning and sensitivity to the social environment, one can realistically regenerate areas.

With this in mind, FAA would like to pose an important question with this seminar: what do we need to improve the quality of life in the South?

“Are more roads and petrol stations essential to the regeneration of the area, or would they destroy agricultural land and natural coast? Do we need to continue quarrying stone for new development, or can we use other materials or existing buildings to avoid destroying our rural and cultural landscape? Do we need tall buildings to attract new investment, or can that be done without shadowing neighbouring buildings? Does development necessitate abandoning our heritage to ruin and abuse? What prospects are there of safeguarding our open spaces and creating natural and heritage parks at Wied Fulija and Wied Moqbol and the first coastal park for the south at Zonqor?,” FAA ask.  

“We are at a crossroads; the South needs a fresh planning approach prioritising the well-being of local communities through holistic planning that includes health, economy and heritage,” FAA concluded.

In this Forum to be addressed by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, we will discuss all these issues.

Opened by President Marie Louise Coleiro-Preca, speakers at the seminar include Edward Said (restoration architect), developer Sandro Chetcuti, George Cassar (lecturer in tourism and culture), Jason Bonnici (Coordinator, Sahhambjent), and Prof Paul Pace (Kummissjoni Ambjent tal-Knisja).  

The New Vision for the South Forum is to take place at Global College Malta, Smart City, on Saturday 28 March, 08:30 to 13:00. Participation is free and places can be booked on www.faa.org.mt or https://ticketengine.faa.org.mt/

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