The site of the former Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsaskala should either be developed back into a hotel or be returned to the people as an open space, ADPA candidate Brian Decelis said this afternoon.
Addressing a press conference outside the former hotel site, ADPD described what was happening in Marsaskala as a “prime example of the contradictions” in the planning policies put forward by the Labour and Nationalist parties.
“Here we have the former Jerma Palace Hotel, which for many years used to bring tourists to the south of the country. It used to be enjoyed by locals and foreigners alike and, despite covering views of Saint Thomas Tower, it was an acceptable development for the time,” Decelis said.
Sadly, Decelis said, the site had now been “given over for land speculation, mainly for residential apartments in a monster development”.
Decelis said that on the other hand, just a few metres away, a marina was being proposed in a bay used by the local population. “It will engulf and suffocate this locality. The two massive projects together will undoubtedly bring massive traffic, pollution and litter – which are already a challenge – to this locality.”
He said that while the marina project should be “forgotten once and for all”, the government should also ensure that the Jerma site is only used for touristic purposes, and should return it to the people as a public open space if this is not possible.
Party chairperson Carmel Cacopardo called on decision-makers to revise the country’s 2006 local plans.
“The development will more than double its current footprint, with half of that being allocated to residential and commercial facilities.”
“The Greens have since 2006 been highlighting the negative consequences of this decision. Most of what our party predicted has occurred or is occurring. Whole areas all around Malta are being developed as evidenced by the protests of residents in all localities.”
In addition to an increase in the developable land, the country has also seen a relaxation of the permissible height which can be developed, Cacopardo said, adding that this was impacting various residences’ access to direct sunlight. “As a result, we are now witnessing various attempts to transform agricultural holdings into solar farms as a result laying to waste more agricultural land.”
“It is not possible to keep developing further land,” Cacopardo continued.
“A sizable portion of the two million square metres ear-marked for development in 2006 is still undeveloped and can still be saved. In land-use planning, environmental protection and improvement in the quality of life should be the primary objectives to be attained, even before any economic considerations. This is the only way we can address the negative accumulated impacts of speculation and speculators on the whole country.”
What do you make of the Greens’ proposal?