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‘PA Keeps Allowing This Destruction’: Qala Mayor As Local Council Files Appeal Against ODZ Permit

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The Qala Local Council has filed an appeal against yet another development that is threatening ODZ land next to a valley, calling for the suspension of the permit.

While the permit itself does not appear to be entirely within ODZ, the PA is allowing the fact that the permit extends into Outside Development Zone. Apart from that, the site appears to be very close to a valley, known as Tal-Marga, that is extremely prone to flooding.

“The PA seems to find every way to allow them to do this. At the end of the day the developers get their concrete monsters, the PA keeps allowing this destruction and Gozo and the people who genuinely love it are the losers,” Qala Mayor Paul Buttigieg lamented. 

“What we are seeing in Gozo is development engulfing our countryside, our skylines, our traditional buildings and our village cores. Visitors used to comment that Gozo was greener because of the undisturbed countryside. This has changed,” he explained.

“Developers are moving into ODZ under different “excuses”, such as paving ODZ and digging up swimming pools, claiming that a pile of stones are actually a building, or even simply not stating that a site is ODZ,” he continued.

“Despite the fact that there is no justification for taking up land in ODZ, despite the fact that both ERA and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage objected to the extension into Odz and despite the fact that the volume of the development is not in keeping with the context of the area, the PA still approved it,” Buttigieg said. 

Buttigieg also promised that the local council will continue pushing tirelessly to leave these parts of our countryside untouched.

“The Qala Local Council will continue doing all it can to reverse decisions such as these which are turning Qala and Gozo into a built-up nightmare,” he concluded.

Buttigieg has also been an instrumental voice in the fight against the marina in Ħondoq bay, which has been going on for around 20 years now.

As specified in the appeal submitted by lawyer Claire Bonello on behalf of the Qala Local Council, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and ERA had previously objected to the take-up and formalisation of ODZ, but this was not taken under consideration. 

“Moreover, the development approved is not in accordance with plans and policies that incorrect information has formed the basis of the Planning Commission’s decision,” the appeal reads.

“If the permit is not suspended, the appellant Local Council and the locality it represents will suffer disproportionate inconvenience and prejudice during this time as the development will be completed and it is likely and improbable, if not impossible for it to be reversed,” it read.

The Local Council is therefore requesting the Tribunal to suspend the permit granted.

Do you agree with the Local Council’s appeal? 

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. 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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