Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) is appealing the Planning Authority’s decision on MIDI’s development of Manoel Island. The master-plan approved on 7th March includes the development of 650 luxury apartments, a five-star hotel, an imposing new vehicle bridge and roundabout, an expanded marina for super yachts and extensive land reclamation works.
The project, according to FAA, will result in:
- 650 new apartments generating more people and traffic in a highly congested area;
- Hugely increased building heights which will ruin iconic views across Marsamxett Harbour to Valletta;
- The loss of a large section of the Gzira promenade, the only public open space and year-round recreational meeting place remaining in the area which will be taken up by a massive new bridge and roundabout on Triq Ix-Xatt;
- The removal of the only slipway and ancillary facilities in the Harbour. This slipway is used by many fishing enthusiasts, hobbyists and small boat owners;
- The narrowing of the sea channel through land reclamation between Gzira and Manoel Island will increase the risk of flooding of Triq ix-Xatt and bring the noise and pollution of the yacht-yard industrial activity closer to a residential area.
FAA stated that all this will negatively impact the well-being of residents and further erode Malta’s tourism appeal. EU studies show that Malta’s air pollution causes more extra deaths a year than tobacco smoking, due to the combined effect of vehicle and construction air pollution and population density on residents’ health. Trees are our only way to reduce air pollution and time spent in green areas is essential to physical and mental health. Malta is desperately lacking green spaces for leisure and recreation in urban areas – more building and traffic affects us all on our tiny, overpopulated and polluted island.
The appeal by FAA follows a campaign by the citizens’ group Inħobbu l-Gżira which has worked relentlessly against the project, launching a petition calling on Malta’s Parliament to turn Manoel Island into a National Heritage Park. Over 8,000 signed the petition offline and online, the highest number of signatures for an environment related parliamentary petition in this legislature.
L-artikolu oriġinali jinstab fuq is-sit Net News