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Joseph Portelli’s Qala Mega-Development Faces Legal Challenge From NGOs And Local Council

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Moviment Graffitti and the Qala Local Council have filed an appeal against a mega-development in the Gozitan locality.

In a statement, the NGO announced that legal proceedings have been initiated with the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal to revoke the permit

The plans include the development of a 63-apartment block in Ta’ Kassja, Qala. It is the latest phase of one of the largest developments ever on the island, with more than 100 apartments already constructed.

Spearheaded by Joe Portelli and his two partners Mark Agius and Daniel Refalo, the massive project has been able to obtain approval after several piecemeal permits were issued over a two-year period. 

“This was done to fool people into thinking that these were separate, unrelated development applications filed under four different applicant names,” Moviment Graffitti said.

“This piecemeal approach enabled J Portelli Projects, the brains behind the massive residential project, to circumvent and evade the scrutiny that a project of such dimensions requires to assess its cumulative impact.”

❗Moviment Graffitti and Qala Local Council file appeal against Qala development after strong public response to call for…

Posted by Moviment Graffitti on Monday, April 19, 2021

The entire residential project is spread over an area called Ta’ Għar Boffa that is larger than three football grounds. The land was acquired by the people behind an infamous medieval foundation, Beneficcju ta Sant Antonio DelliNavarra. These include retired magistrate Dennis Montebello, lawyer Carmelo Galea and the Stagno Navarra family.

The foundation was the focus of a joint investigation by Lovin Malta and The Shift into an attempt to force residents on land in Nadur to fork out sizeable fees. The foundation, called Beneficcju ta Sant Antonio delli Navarra, was set up by noblewoman Cosmana Navarra in 1675 to raise money for religious deeds from leases of these lands in Gozo.

The issue first kicked off two years ago when Gozitan lawyer Carmelo Galea registered two plots of land amounting to almost four football pitches, on which about four dozen houses sit, under the ownership of the Benefiċċju ta’ Sant Antonio delli Navarra.

“Many Gozitan families are being threatened with eviction from their homes unless they fork out substantial amounts of money. Several demands asking for the Gozo landgrab saga to be investigated and demanding justice for affected residents have so far fallen on deaf ears and have been ignored by the authorities,” Graffitti said.

What do you think of the project? 

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Julian doesn’t like to talk about himself. But if he did, he would let you know that he’s into anything that has got to do with politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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