[WATCH] Gozitan mayors take their concerns on destruction of landscapes to President George Vella

Gozo mayors want a more effective say in permit approvals, insisting policies which reflect the unique realties of Gozo be drafted  

The Gozo regional council has told the President George Vella that authorities must step in and stop the destruction of Gozitan landscapes through development.  

“We are not against sustainable development, but against rampant development which destroys everything in its path,” regional council president Samuel Azzopardi told MaltaToday just after exiting a meeting with Vella at San Anton Palace on Monday.

The mayors are after a more effective say on permit approval and on drafting policies that reflect the unique realities of Gozo’s village cores, town centres, quality and way of life. 

Azzopardi said decisive action needs to be taken on the issue. “We understand the Office of the President’s limitations, but it is one of a series of meetings with authorities so we can deliver our request for a proper policy which protects the island of Gozo,” he said.  

Asked on the President’s position of the issue, Azzopardi said his stance of protecting “the jewel that is Gozo” has already been made public.  

The regional council has already scheduled meetings with Planning Authority representatives and Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia.  

Qala Mayor Paul Buttigieg, was also present during the meeting insisting the Ħondoq Bay area be reclassified as an Outside Development Zone.  

“In other areas the local plan has been shifted, we are insisting the same happens to the Ħondoq area,” he said.

Earlier in February Gozitan mayors, the regional council and the Gozo Business Chamber issued a statement calling on the Planning Authority to take effective action on the matter. 

“Large development projects in villages and other localities in Gozo are unsustainable. This type of development does not take into consideration the impact this is having on the urban fabric of our villages and towns, and the impact on local communities,” the statement read.