Moviment Graffitti urges PA to stop uglification of Gozo |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
22/09/2020

Moviment Graffitti urges PA to stop uglification of Gozo

We call on the Planning Authority to reject an application for a massive development that will see the construction of an eight-storey apartment block, towering over Xlendi bay and dwarfing the surrounding buildings. The hearing is due tomorrow, and despite numerous residents voicing their concern and objecting to this development, the case officer has recommended it for approval. If approved, this development will threaten to destroy forever the little that is left of the original, quaint character of Xlendi and turn the area into one big eyesore. This development is not the only one that is threatening to intensify the urbanification of the area. Indeed, another massive development adjacent to the proposed apartment block, which will see the construction of a four-star hotel, is also being considered for approval by the PA.


Xlendi, a popular tourist resort, is already besieged by a number of hotels and apartments overlooking the bay. If approved, this development will only exacerbate the situation. The development in question (PA 3818/20), the fate of which will be decided tomorrow, is an application for the construction of 3-level basement garages overlying 60 apartments and 6 penthouses. Considering that the construction of a hotel in the same area is also being eyed for approval and the construction of another massive block of apartments and garages is nearing completion, approving another huge development in the area will be tantamount to madness. Both developments are clearly excessive and out of proportion with the surroundings, and the Xlendi skyline and the traditional streetscape will be ruined forever. Excavation and construction works will have an adverse effect on the quality of life of the residents and will give rise to a number of other issues, including waste generation, traffic problems and possible sea contamination. These developments also lie in direct contradiction to the Gozo Comino Local Plan, which points out that a number of touristic zones in Gozo, including Xlendi, have already been ‘considerably mutilated’ by overdevelopment. It also stresses that the features that attract tourists in the first place should be safeguarded rather than destroyed by tourism-related development.


It is also worth noting that PA 4587/20, which will see the construction of a four-star hotel with 80 rooms and ancillary facilities together with 5 levels of parking by a company directed by none other than construction magnate Joseph Portelli, makes mention only of phase 1 of the development, i.e. the demolition and subsequent excavation of the site. Phase 2 of the development, i.e. the actual reconstruction and redevelopment of the site, does not feature anywhere. This piecemeal approach to planning has already been seen in other massive development projects.


Considering that the lack of integrated planning and overdevelopment are threatening to turn touristic and coastal areas in Gozo into a concrete jungle, condemning Gozo to follow in the steps of Malta, we urge the Planning Authority to treat this application with care and bear in mind that any further unsustainable development in the area can result in irreversible damage and change forever Xlendi as we know it.


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Il-Moviment Graffitti jappella lill-PA sabiex twaqqaf il-qerda ta’ Għawdex

L-attivisti jħeġġu lill-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar tagħraf tagħmel dak li hu xieraq fis-saga tal-iżvilupp fix-Xlendi


Qed nappellaw lill-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar biex tirrifjuta applikazzjoni għal żvilupp massiv li se jkun jikkonsisti fil-bini ta’ blokk ta’ appartamenti ta’ 8 sulari, u li se jkun qed jgħatti l-bajja tax-Xlendi u l-binjiet tal-madwar. Id-deċiżjoni se tinqata’ għada, u minkejja l-fatt li bosta residenti semmgħu t-tħassib tagħhom u oġġezzjonaw għal dan l-iżvilupp, il-case officer irrakkomanda li għandu jiġi approvat. Jekk jiġi approvat, dan l-iżvilupp se jkun qed jhedded li jeqred għalkollox il-ftit li fadal mill-karattru oriġinali tax-Xlendi u jkerrah iż-żona kollha. Dan l-iżvilupp mhuwiex l-uniku wieħed li qed jhedded li jwassal għal aktar urbanifikazzjoni taż-żona. Fil-fatt, żvilupp massiv ieħor biswit il-blokk ta’ appartamenti li qed jiġi propost, u li se jkun jikkonsisti f’lukanda ta’ erba’ stilel, qed jiġi wkoll ikkunsidrat mill-PA sabiex jiġi approvat.


Xlendi, post popolari mat-turisti, diġà safa assedjat minn numru ta’ lukandi u appartamenti li jagħtu għal fuq il-bajja. Jekk jiġi approvat, dan l-iżvilupp se jkompli jgħarraq is-sitwazzjoni. L-iżvilupp in kwistjoni (PA 3818/20), li se jiġi deċiż għada, huwa applikazzjoni għall-bini ta’ 3 livelli ta’ garaxxijiet, 60 appartament u 6 penthouses. Meta wieħed iqis li fl-istess waqt il-PA qed tikkunsidra tagħti permess għal żvilupp enormi ieħor fl-istess żona u li qed jinbena blokk ieħor ta’ appartamenti u garaxxijiet fl-istess inħawi wkoll, jekk jiġi approvat żvilupp enormi ieħor fl-istess żona nkunu verament missejna l-qiegħ. Iż-żewġ żviluppi huma ċarament kbar wisq u totalment sproporzjonati mal-bqija tal-bini tal-madwar, u l-pajsaġġ tradizzjonali tat-toroq u l-veduta tax-Xlendi se jiġu rvinati għalkollox. Ix-xogħlijiet ta’ skavar u kostruzzjoni se jkollhom effett negattiv fuq il-kwalità tal-ħajja tar-residenti, u se jwasslu wkoll għal diversi problemi oħra, fosthom il-ġenerazzjoni tal-iskart, problemi ta’ traffiku, u possibbilment kontaminazzjoni tal-baħar. Dawn l-iżviluppi jmorru wkoll kontra l-Pjan Lokali għal Għawdex u Kemmuna, li jgħid kif numru ta’ żoni turistiċi f’Għawdex, inkluż ix-Xlendi, diġà ġew ‘konsidirevolment sfreġjati’ mill-iżvilupp eċċessiv. Jenfasizza wkoll il-bżonn li karatteristiċi li jattiraw lit-turisti għandhom jiġu mħarsa u mhux meqruda minn żvilupp turistiku.


Ta’ min wieħed jinnota wkoll li PA 4587/20, li tikkonsisti fil-bini ta’ lukanda ta’ erba’ stilel bi 80 kamra u faċilitajiet anċillari flimkien ma’ 5 livelli ta’ parkeġġ minn kumpanija li d-direttur tagħha mhuwa ħadd ħlief Joseph Portelli, tagħmel referenza biss għall-ewwel fażi tal-iżvilupp, jiġifieri it-twaqqigħ u l-iskavar tas-sit. It-tieni fażi tal-iżvilupp, jiġifieri r-rikostruzzjoni u l-iżvilupp mill-ġdid tas-sit, ma tissemma’ mkien fl-applikazzjoni. Dan l-approċċ frammentat fl-applikazzjonijiet diġà deher fi proġetti ta’ żviluppi massivi oħra.


Meta wieħed iqis li n-nuqqas ta’ ppjanar u l-iżvilupp eċċessiv qed jheddu li jbiddlu liż-żoni turistiċi u kostali f’Għawdex f’ġungla tal-konkrit, u b’hekk jikkundannaw lil Għawdex biex jaqbad l-istess triq tan-niżla li qabdet Malta, ma jifdal xejn ħlief li nappellaw lill-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar biex titratta din l-applikazzjoni b’attenzjoni u żżomm f’moħħha li aktar żvilupp mhux sostenibbli fiż-żona jista’ jwassal għal ħsara irriversibbli u jibdel lix-Xlendi għalkollox minn kif nafuh.