Developers of a proposed boutique hotel at Kalanka Bay in Delimara have responded to environmental critics with a slick video to promote the project as an extremely eco-friendly one.
They have also set up a Facebook page called ‘Delimara: The Truth‘ as a response to the #SaveDelimara campaign objecting the development.
Environmental critics have warned the hotel is the latest in a long line of projects by “greedy developers that ruin Maltese natural landscapes and coastlines”.
However, the five-minute video challenges that perception, claiming the project will actually improve the natural environment by reducing the footprint currently occupied by the dilapidated building from 1,050 metre squared to 951.89 metre squared.
The developers, led by Kenneth Abela, will convert the dilapidated hotel into an ecological boutique hotel, with all of the energy for its operations coming from renewable sources and the food served to its guests sourced organically from farmers in the area.
They also promise to install more public facilities at the bay (which will remain public), to render it fully accessible to people with disabilities, and to ensure it becomes the first bay in the south of Malta to be granted the Blue Flag for sustainable tourism.
They have also enlisted the expertise of geologist Saviour Grech, who dismissed concerns that the proposed excavation of a tunnel through the cliff to connect the hotel to the beach will undermine the cliff’s stability.
What are environmentalists saying?
If this project is so eco-friendly, then why are environmentalists so adamantly opposed to it? Well, their argument is that it is the latest in a long line of projects on the Maltese coastline and that not everything that glitters is gold.
The #SaveDelimara website lists nine reasons to oppose the site, including that the project is being proposed on land outside development zones and on a site officially declared as an area of ecological and scientific importance.
They are warning that the coastal footpath that is currently used by ramblers will be replaced by a private pool and that the bay won’t be able to support the influx of tourists.
But perhaps their most powerful argument is the ‘once bitten, twice shy’ one, noting that other projects had in the past morphed into something much different than what had been promised, invoking Radisson Golden Sands as an example.