Pembroke residents: Widespread opposition to DB project must be respected

Pembroke residents say that the DB project and other 'unsustainable megaprojects' in the area will exacerbate traffic congestion and harmful air pollution 

Over 6,000 objections had been submitted to the DB Group’s application for the excavation of the former ITS site
Over 6,000 objections had been submitted to the DB Group’s application for the excavation of the former ITS site

Pembroke residents said that the widepsread opposition to the DB Pembroke project must be respected and weighed.

In a statement on Friday, they welcomed Prime Minister Robert Abela's announcement that the government wants to strike a "healthy balance between safeguarding our environment and the construction industry."

"This means that the government has chosen to improve the quality of life of residents and all those who frequent Pembroke and its environs," they said.

The DB project on the site of the former ITS in Pembroke has attracted the greatest number of official objections ever recorded. 5,000 people objected to the first application and 6,000 people objected to the second proposal after the courts revoked the permit to start building. The Pembroke Local Council has repeatedly objected to the project and spoken on behalf of the community.

"We fully agree with the Local Councils' Association and its president, Mario Fava, that the project causes irreparable damage to quality of life in the area. It is useless having a project that claims it will generate economic activity if it wrecks the lives of so many people. This is certainly not an example of a project that seeks to strike a balance between protecting the natural environment and residential areas and facilitating the construction industry," residents wrote.

They added that they agreed with the Local Councils’ Association that when this monstrous project is again discussed in the future by the Planning Authority, apart from the Local Council of Pembroke, the St Julian’s and Swieqi Local Councils should also be on the Planning Board.

"This guarantees that the voice of as many residents as possible is heard by the authorities," they said.

The residents insisted that the Pembroke area has been experiencing traffic congestion for a number of years and the DB project and other "unsustainable megaprojects in the area", will only make matters worse by exacerbating the congestion and causing more harmful air pollution.

"We agree with the plan to build a tunnel under St Andrews Road that was part of the TEN-T project. This can make life better for people living in the area and for the thousands of commuters who drive through the area every day.

"On the other hand, we believe that the project proposed by Infrastructure Malta today requires substantial modification to serve the residents more, and the Corinthia complex, DB Group and the high-rises they aspire to build less, which, should they acquire the Authority’s approval, will multiply the environmental issues in their surrounding areas. This would be at the expense of the people who will suffer not only with their health, but also their pockets. Moreover, we must strive to find an alternative solution to building more roads on what is today virgin land in the St Patrick’s region in Pembroke."

The residents encouraged the Prime Minister and his government, also in light of the highly critical report of the Auditor General about the sale of the public land in question, to continue giving priority to the common good and quality of life.

"To have high-rise buildings in areas that cannot cope with such massive structures will inevitably cause irreparable damage to our environment and our health."

The residents were endorsed by Archaeological Society of Malta, BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Futur Ambjent Wieħed, Isles of the Left, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta and Żminijietna.