PD calls for proposed St George’s Bay development to be halted, radically re-thought

The Democratic Party said the project would cause loss of the bay due to overdevelopment, says a National Masterplan for development is needed

The Democratic Party has called for the proposed St George's Bay development to be halted
The Democratic Party has called for the proposed St George's Bay development to be halted

The Democratic Party has called for the proposed St George’s Bay development - which would stretch from Cresta Quay to the former Institute for Tourism Studies and entail the construction of hotels, flats, commercial outlets, offices and a language school - to be halted immediately and radically re-thought to avoid the “impending loss of [the bay] to overdevelopment”.

PD said it was disappointment that the project, which has been given a green-light by the Planning Authority, was voted in favour of by both the Labour Party and Nationalist Party, as it reiterated that while it was not against development, it was strongly opposed projects which were “unbridled [and] poorly planned”.

“While the Paceville Masterplan was shelved, the piecemeal implementation of aspects of it betrays the strength of private interest groups. A similar approach was taken to divide up land elsewhere to dodge the necessary policies and studies, such a case was in Luqa, whereby separate applications were used to dodge obligations to provide open spaces and communal facilities, due to the size of the development,” the PD emphasised.

Highlighting its concerns that the development would have an impact on Malta’s largest underground cave, which lies close to the area, PD said that “it must urgently be noted that according to the study, "A land-cover appraisal of the St. George's Bay Area: with emphasis on the impact of development on the habitats and biota”, the measurements obtained by MEPA of Ghar Harq il-Hammiem may be dangerously inaccurate."

"The cave is also home to Malta's largest colony of a protected species of bats, and there is much scope for further study of this unique place both historically and ecologically."

A National Masterplan was needed, the party said, noting that it had proposed this in a Private Members Bill in 2017.

“If it is necessary to build highrise, then these [buildings] must not only adhere to policy, but also be zoned so as not to create infrastructure problems, ruin skylines and obliterate the character of entire areas - such as St. George's Bay and Paceville - for the gain of the few, at the expense of residents,” it said, remarking that a parliamentary question by PD MP Godfrey Farrugia had pointed out that 22 highrise buildings have been earmarked for construction.

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“Similarly, development must take into consideration the heritage of an area, and must be incorporated seamlessly into its local environment. It is selfish to destroy Moynihan House and Dolphin House, and replace ITS with a Hard Rock Hotel,” PD stressed.

The development would be an “imposition upon the way of life of the residents and their peace of mind,” it said, adding that all necessary studies should be in place before such development went ahead, and that the wellbeing and health of the Maltese people had to be taken into consideration.

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