Residents to fight back after Mistra crowdfund appeal raises enough funds

"We are very proud of this purely grassroots achievement... civil society is not begging for money but putting its money where its mouth is"

Residents from Xemxija and St Paul’s Bay have successfully collected the €7,350 required to appeal the 12-storey Mistra Ridge project recently approved by the PA.

The figure was entirely crowdfunded by residents without the involvement of the St Paul’s Bay local council or other entities.

In a statement, the organisers of the crowdfunding action thanked all those who donated and those who volunteered to collect donations. “The figure was collected in a relatively short time. We’re overwhelmed by the support shown towards this cause from people from all over Malta. We will now continue working with our legal representatives and mount a challenge to the development.”

“We are very proud of this purely grassroots achievement. Unlike a suggestion by an MEP candidate yesterday, civil society is not begging for money but putting its money where its mouth is," said writer and activist Wayne Flask, who helped organise the effort. "We believe actions like this, funded by residents, are far more effective than the ridiculous proposal to beg for government money to oppose developments approved and promoted by government itself.”

“We encourage residents from other localities to follow the example of Pembroke and Xemxija, and unite together, without any political patronage, to oppose these detrimental large-scale developments. We stand with residents of Xgħajra, Marsascala, Pembroke and any other location threatened by overdevelopment, and encourage them to set up their own residents’ associations and stand up for their standard of living.”

Residents have also received a number of donations from residents of localities under threat from other mega projects, such as Pembroke identified for a 38 storey high rise and Xgħajra which has been mentioned as a possible site for land reclamation.

“It's a clear message: people have had enough of the construction lobby's excesses,” Wayne Flask told MaltaToday. He also expressed distrust in politicians “trying to use us as a platform for their politicking."

"We are fighting for the community. People put all their savings and take loans to buy their property. Then somebody without any interest in the town just comes along and dumps 770 apartments, burying an entire town in dust and darkness," he added.

An investigation by architect David Pace – environment and planning officer at the Ombudsman’s office – concluded MEPA was wrong to issue an outline permit in 2008 and continued to make the situation worse when it chose to green-light the full development of the site in 2013.

The development is in breach of the Floor Area Ratio policy approved in 2014 which bans high rise developments on ridges but the case officer report contends that the area was identified for high rise development in the local plan approved in 2006. 

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