Marlene Farrugia calls for revocation of Mistra permit

Candid Labour MP Marlene Farrugia says government should consider revoking permit for 744 apartments in Mistra.

Describing it as a "threat" to the environment, government MP Marlene Farrugia called on the government to revoke the permit issued by MEPA for the development of a mega-project in Mistra which will include 774 apartments on the former Mistra Village site.

In recent weeks, environmental NGOs were enraged by the decision to issue a permit which environmentalists say will have a negative impact on the environment and health.

Addressing Parliament, Farrugia said the Mistra development should be revoked because it posed a threat to the environment and air quality, given the expected increase in traffic in the area.

She insisted that there were grounds to justify the revocation of the development permit for the controversial redevelopment and this should be seriously looked into.

Farrugia noted that while the permit was granted on the basis of an outline permit granted under the previous PN administration, doubts remained, including whether high-rise buildings should be constructed on ridges.

The latest plans envisage six rectangular blocks to rise to a maximum of 12 floors from street level and 13 floors from the internal pedestrian level. The development will include 744 new units and a 1,800m2 retail area, which includes a supermarket.

In 2009 MEPA approved an outline permit for four boomerang blocks rising to 15 floors (992 units). The downscaling of the project is deemed to improve views from Selmun and Mistra valley but is still expected to have a dramatic impact on the landscape.

Pointing out the excessive number of vacant dwellings in the islands, she added that this damage "cannot be quantified," and called on the government to revoke other projects such as the one in San Gwann which will see the construction of 60 apartments and the development of 24 apartments and garages on the side of Wied il-Ghasel, Mosta.

Saying that consecutive governments, including the present one, were ignoring the pleas of residents in various localities, she called on the Labour administration to protect the environment and safeguard people's health.

"I make an appeal and remind our government, people trusted us to protect the environment," Farrugia said, warning that it should not commit the same mistakes carried out by previous PN government who also promised to protect the environment only to ruin it along the years.

The outspoken and frank MP, also called on the authorities to save what is left of the Outside Development Zones before it was too late.

This week, the parliamentary secretary for planning, Michael Farrugia said that had MEPA refused to issue permits for 774 apartments on the former Mistra Village it would have resulted in government paying the applicant damages equivalent to "a year's worth of health workers salaries."

Farrugia exclaimed that following the outline permit issued in 2009, the applicants - Gemxija Crown and the Montebello Bros construction firm - would have filed for damages that if the Malta Environment and Planning Authority had refused to issue the full permits for the project.



Ms M. Farrugia, jekk ma hinix sejjer zball il-Prim Ministru diga qal li jekk il'permess jigi revokat l-isvilupaturti jkunu jistu ifittxu lill MEPA ghad danni bil-possibilta kbira li dawn jirbhuhom. Jekk jigri hekk Ms. Farrugia minn se jhallashom il-flus li jirbhu li skond Dr. M. Farrugia jkunu jammontaw ghal sena paga tal Heaklth Workers li hemm jahdmu mal-gvern. Jekk trid tipprova isib ruhek fil'lime light hemm mezzi ahjar.
JPO in the making.