Malta’s high-rise revolution has started. And people on Facebook are pissed off

‘PA = Mafia’: the kind of short description Malta’s beleaguered planning authority will contend with until the end of times…

Graffitti on the street greets the PA's decision to allow two high-rise construction projects in Sliema and Mriehel
Graffitti on the street greets the PA's decision to allow two high-rise construction projects in Sliema and Mriehel

Malta’s planning authority, which Labour de-merged from its environmental arm in 2015 to allow its planning directorate a stronger say in land issues, yesterday gave the green light to a contentious – to say the least – 38-storey tower in the heart of Sliema.

The project is owned by the Gasan Group, which together with the Tumas Group – of Portomaso – was also granted the green light by the same PA board yesterday for a four-tower conglomeration that rises to 20 storeys in Mriehel. Both business groups have a major stake in Malta’s LNG plant at Delimara, the jewel in Labour’s energy plan.

Here’s how people on Facebook feel today:

 

People are angry at Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, whose government devised a high-rise policy that makes it easier for big business to propose these kind of towers

“Living abroad is like some sort of privilege. You can see Malta change every time you return. Now I’m not against change and towers can be beautiful. But not when the architects of change are this political class and a breed of businessman whose hands are at the helm of ‘progress’ (it’s probably been like this for ages), with their limited, regressive, even immature or ‘Trumpist’ vision. So let’s build these towers, build them high and shiny, that they may reflect their vile ambition, with luxury apartments, shopping centres, three-storey underground garages, the usual… And the same old story will start bothering you, as well. And then what will be next?”

“I’m angry and hurt at seeing my country smothered by towers. Today I will cover my own profile pic with a tower… I know it won’t change anything, because, to quote Victor Fenech: ‘it’s what they, not what I, want’ – but silence is no response. I hope many more towers of protest sprout up on this sweet land.”

The poetry of protest: “First you poison our minds. Now, your fucking towers poison our land. Concrete daggers to punch holes in the sky.”

A mock-up of proposed towers in Mriehel by the Gasan and Tumas groups
A mock-up of proposed towers in Mriehel by the Gasan and Tumas groups
What the tower will look like from the Sliema promenade
What the tower will look like from the Sliema promenade
What the tower will look like from the Gzira waterfront
What the tower will look like from the Gzira waterfront

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