No ODZ land for racetrack, Front warns

Front Ħarsien ODZ wants clear conditions in a call for expression of interest on a motor racetrack to exclude land outside development zones

Parliamentary secretary Chris Agius launched the EOI for a motor racetrack
Parliamentary secretary Chris Agius launched the EOI for a motor racetrack

Front Ħarsien ODZ has called on the government to set clear conditions in a call for expression of interest on a motor racetrack that would exclude land outside development zones (ODZ) being considered.

An international expression of interest for the design, construction and operation of a motor recreation and education park was launched Tuesday morning by parliamentary secretary for sports Chris Agius.

“Considering that a racing track meeting standards for international competitions requires 80 hectares – the size of 100 football grounds – it would have been wiser to ask MEPA to first conduct studies on whether developing such an enormous tract of land makes environmental and planning sense in a small island like Malta.

“It would also have made more sense if MEPA had identified where such a development can take place within development zones or other committed sites. If no such land exists it is irresponsible for government to raise expectations of motor sports enthusiasts,” the Front said.

The Front said it was also concerned that the racecourse may end up to be an excuse for land speculation on ODZ land. “Any racecourse should be a standalone project and not accompanied by any other commercial development. Land reclamation affecting protected marine habitats should also be excluded. The Front understands the popularity of this sports and urges the government to downscale its plans and ask MEPA to identify a smaller piece of land  where this sports can be practiced safely and without any negative environmental impact.”

The launch of the EOI was welcomed by motorsports enthusiasts, who for years have been promised a professional racetrack. Motorsports in Malta is extremely popular, with several local names hitting international headlines when competing abroad.

Although a small number of facilities exist, these preclude the organisation of events of international standard.

The EOI leaves it up to investors to come up with their own choice of location: “Several sites were proposed in the consultation process for the drafting of the EOI. We decided to leave it open and consider the sites in line with what the investor proposes,” Agius said.

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