PN policy to define exceptions to ban on ODZ construction

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil qualifies recent opposition to ODZ construction with ‘guidelines’ that will define exceptions

On the ODZ trail: at Zonqor Point, where Simon Busuttil took a stand against the college to be built by Sadeen of Jordan
On the ODZ trail: at Zonqor Point, where Simon Busuttil took a stand against the college to be built by Sadeen of Jordan

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has announced that his party will be proposing guidelines on what he termed as "exceptional permits" for development outside development zones.

He made the announcement during an address at the annual general meeting of the Malta Developers' Association, which reconfirmed Sandro Chetcuti as its president.

In his address, Busuttil said that while a line should be drawn in order not to allow more development in rural areas, the few exceptions allowed should be defined. "The rule in general should be not to permit development outside development zones. We will also soon state in which circumstances exceptions may be made so that everyone will know clearly where we stand."

In a recent meeting with the MDA, Busuttil had insisted that the construction sector was important, and that the PN would value this importance by promoting sustainability, and honesty in governance.

Busuttil had said that it was inconceivable that the Prime Minister selects a 90,000 square metre stretch of ODZ to accommodate a developer he had met privately, referring to Jordanians Sadeen Group and the prospective college they will be constructing in Marsaskala.

“The second foundation is honesty in governance,” Busuttil said, mentioning again that granting outside development zones to Sadeen was “not on”. “If you don’t have transparency, good governance will suffer.”

On his part, MDA president Sandro Chetcuti said the MDA’s new guiding theme – ‘a strong economy, a sound environment’ – were interlinking concepts. “You can’t have one without the other,” he told a packed hall of construction entrepreneurs and realtors, who this year presided over €2 billion in property sales.

“We want to work within the development boundaries,” Chetcuti said, who also called for less bureaucracy and for businessman to be given straight answers in as short a time as possible over building applications.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat lauded his government’s economic performance in being on track to wipe out the increase in national debt over the past three years.

He also mentioned the setting up of a corporation for the massive development that is expected in St George’s Bay and also in Mriehel through a public private partnership.

The meeting was also addressed by Carmel Cacopardo from Alternattiva Demokratika and David Curmi from Trade Malta.

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