PD urges Planning Authority to rehabilitate Kalanka to natural state

Partit Demokratiku has called on the Planning Authority to refuse the proposed application to redevelop a derelict hotel in Kalanka, urging it instead rehabilitate the area to its natural state

The building of the Delimara Bay Hotel has been in a state of disuse since 1985 and is currently in disrepair
The building of the Delimara Bay Hotel has been in a state of disuse since 1985 and is currently in disrepair

Partit Demokratiku has called on the Planning Authority to refuse the proposed application to redevelop a derelict hotel in Kalanka, urging it instead rehabilitate the area to its natural state.

The project, which is being proposed to cater “the growing eco-tourism niche market in Malta” and to increase tourism accommodation in the Marsaxlokk area, details the replacement of the derelict Delimara Bay Hotel with a new boutique hotel comprising 13 luxury suites, three superior deluxe suites and one presidential suite. Proposed amenities include a lounge area, bar and restaurant, gymnasium, a spa, and an outdoor pool.

Under the proposed plans, the built up area will increase from 343m2 to 561m2 and the existing concrete terracing to the west of the building will be replaced with landscaping. 

The site lies within an outside development zone and in an area of ecological and scientific importance.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has warned that the impact on the landscape character of Delimara is considered to be of major negative significance.

The project would also include the construction of a 50m tunnel linking the proposed Kalanka hotel and the beach. The tunnel, with a width of 1.8m and a height of 2m, would breach the cliff face. The project involves the extraction of 2,708 m3 of rock. 

The EIA said that the development of the tunnel could undermine the stability of the cliff, and suggested that the negative geological impact would be minimised if the proposal is dropped entirely.

In a statement issued this morning, PD said that rather than approving the proposed development, the Planning Authority should seek to reinstate the area to its natural state through the demolition of the derelict hotel.

“Redeveloping the hotel on a larger footprint which includes ancillary developments like pools and beach facilities would have a negative visual and environmental impact on the landscape. Furthermore, the tunnel being proposed will impact negatively the cliff-side geological features, as clearly stated in the Environment Impact Assessment,” PD argued.

The party said that the development would mean that new infrastructure would be needed and that this will include access to roads and the diverse services that the hotel would need during the construction, as well as after completion.

“This will change the landscape irreversibly and the people will lose a natural gem,” PD said.

“As a Party, we firmly believe that we should seek a balance between sustainable development and our natural environment. Thus, it is essential that some bays are reinstated into their natural state.”

Pointing out that the proposed development goes against the conditions laid by Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development and Rural Policy, PD called on the Planning Authority to protect Kalanka from “overdevelopment, as it has done in the case of Ħondoq ir-Rummien.”

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