Heritage watchdog says no to Kalanka goat farm

The Superintendence has expressed its concern on the approval of a goat farm inside an Area of Ecological Importance which includes coastal cliffs proposed for inclusion in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites

The derelict Delimara hotel
The derelict Delimara hotel

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage is objecting to the creation of a goat farm for the Kalanka agritourisn project, warning that approval would “continue to significantly and negatively alter the cultural landscape”.

The development, a large Nissen to house the Maltese goat once eradicated in Malta after the brucellosis epidemic and which hotelier Kenneth Abela wants to reintroduce from Sicily, would cover some 230sq. m.

Abela owns 23,000sq.m of land in the area and has already secured a permit for the reconstruction of a derelict hotel in the pristine Kalanka cove.

The Planning Authority also approved three other applications presented by Abela to sanction a number of rural structures previously used by bird trappers, then a permit to “consolidate” a series of old structures into a brand new agricultural store and greenhouses on some 735sq.m of land to which the Environment and Resources Authority had objected because of the “piecemeal approach” to development in an area scheduled for its landscape value. 41 trees will be grown to minimise the visual impact of this development.

But the Superintendence has now expressed its concern on the approval of the goat farm, which would be situated inside an Area of Ecological Importance and an Area of High Landscape Value which includes coastal cliffs proposed for inclusion in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.

The cultural watchdog is calling on the Planning Authority to implement its policies to ensure the protection of the natural and cultural landscape and refuse the latest development application.

While expressing its agreement in principle with the aim of the project – that of reintroducing the Maltese goat –  the Environment and Resources Authority is insisting that this be done in appropriate locations, reiterating its concern that the development is being proposed in proximity to the coast and in a sensitive location.

ERA has now called on Abela to present more studies to assess the impact of the project.

Before the Maltese goat breed disappeared from Malta it was common for farmers from other countries such as Sardinia and Sicily to come and buy goats from Maltese farmers.

Abela traced the Maltese goats in Sicily by referring to the “libro geneologico caprino” – a genealogical book listing goat breeds in Italy and where these are bred. This led Abela to establish contact with an organic farm in the vicinity of San Cataldo, owned by Luca Cammarata. The idea is to import the Maltese goat directly to Malta from this farm.

50 to 100 goats will be bred in a purposely-built farm in Delimara.

The herd will eventually be used to produce milk products made from the goats’ milk, on the same lines as those which are already being successfully produced and marketed in Caltanissetta, where the goat’s milk is used to produce organic yoghurts, and a vast selection of typical cheeses made from Maltese goats’ milk.

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