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Illegal Excavation Works Being Carried Out By Joseph Portelli On ODZ Land In Qala

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Illegal excavation works are currently being carried out by construction magnate Joseph Portelli, on land outside the development zone in Qala, Gozo.

No permit has been issued for the works being carried out, which are taking place next to his massive controversial apartment block project in Ta’ Kassja.

“This is another shocking situation in which the developer is being allowed to do whatever he wants,” said Moviment Graffitti in a Facebook post.

The pressure group criticised Portelli for his blatant disregard for planning laws, as well as the authorities for turning a blind eye to it.

“How long will the authorities be servile to Portelli’s arrogance?” it questioned. 

The development is being opposed by a large number of residents, as well as civil society groups, all of whom have expressed their despair at the fact that nobody appears to be able, or willing, to enforce the law with Portelli. The 64 flat-project has been opposed by the Qala Local Council and two environmental NGOs, Moviment Graffitti and Din L-Art Helwa, for which they filed an appeal.

“The whole project in Ta’ Kassja is an irregular one because, due to false statements, it has been divided into four different stages in order to evade the scrutiny that applies to large projects,” the NGO said.

Moviment Graffitti also deemed the project to be totally unacceptable, saying that they expect immediate action to be taken.

An Environmental Impact Assessment was never carried out for the proposed development prior to issuing the permit, even though the site exceeds 30,000 sqm of land. 

The Environment and Planning tribunal had also rejected the organisations’ and residents’ requests to suspend the works until the appeal hearing is decided.

The disputed project is part of an entire saga involving Carravan Company Limited, which has been serving as a medium in the transfer and reselling of land. The company was set up back in 2017, making €1.5 million from last May’s sales alone.

Check out Lovin Malta’s Planning Web, the country’s first transparent and open platform letting you look at the ins and outs of Malta’s urban planning sector.

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's either shooting film or out at sea. She's passionate about society and the culture that made her. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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