Marsaskala residents and Moviment Graffitti appeal PA approval of Waterpolo Pitch |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
14/11/2020

Marsaskala residents and Moviment Graffitti appeal PA approval of Waterpolo Pitch

Several residents and Moviment Graffitti have appealed the PA’s decision to approve a Waterpolo Pitch, clubhouse and restaurant next to Triq is-Salini in Marsaskala. The development would involve extensive excavation of the seabed and dredging, limit the public’s access and enjoyment of the coast and create multiple inconveniences through the commercialisation of a residential area in Marsaskala. The appellants have also requested the suspension of works for the duration of the appeal.


In their appeal grounds, the objectors highlight the development’s non-conformity with numerous planning policies. The Local Plan clearly outlines the types of development allowed in that area and waterpolo pitches are not one of them. The applicants have tried to justify their development as “maritime based”, when in reality the waterpolo pitch will contain freshwater, not saltwater. A pool using freshwater does not have to be built in the sea, so much so that Malta’s National Pool, which uses freshwater, is situated inland. The building of a huge structure in Marsaskala Bay would also be in breach of SPED provisions concerning aesthetics and the public’s accessibility to the shoreline.


Alternative places, such as the redevelopment of the already existing pitch in Żonqor, were not considered by the applicants.


The appellants argue that the harm done by this structure cannot in any way be justified by its benefits, especially in view of the fact that this waterpolo pitch will be used only during the summer months. The Tal-Qroqq National Pool will be used during the rest of the year. The appellants also note that there are attempts to change the zoning of the area to allow the public open space on the shore adjacent to the site to be changed into a zone where buildings and hotels are allowed. If this had to come about then the Marsaskala pitch would easily become the hotel lido - another example of privatising public land for private gain and turning the natural coast into concrete.


The appeal presents several arguments underlining the deleterious impact of this massive concrete structure on both people and the environment. Protected flora, including Posidonia beds, would be obliterated in order to reclaim the seabed for the construction of the pitch. Moreover, a huge concrete slab in the small Marsaskala Bay is clearly out of place and will result in a very negative visual impact. The project would also increase traffic and noise pollution, as well as reduce parking spaces, in an already congested residential area. The PA report recommending approval had falsely given the impression that the pitch would be situated in an entertainment area, not a predominantly residential one. 


This appeal was filed thanks to many residents and concerned citizens that contributed financially to covering the legal and professional fees. People are clearly fed up of having to continually fight against development projects that threaten their environment and quality of life.

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Residenti ta’ Wied il-Għajn u l-Moviment Graffitti jappellaw il-permess tal-PA għall-Piċċ tal-Waterpolo


Bosta residenti flimkien mal-Moviment Graffitti appellaw mid-deċiżjoni tal-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar (PA) li jkunu approvati Piċċ tal-Waterpolo, clubhouse u ristorant qrib Triq is-Salini f’Wied il-Għajn. L-iżvilupp se jkun jinvolvi skavar estensiv ta’ qiegħ il-baħar u dredging kif ukoll se jkun qiegħed jillimita lill-pubbliku milli jaċċessa u jgawdi l-kosta, u se jkun qed joħloq diversi inkonvenjenzi permezz tal-kummerċjalizzazzjoni ta’ żona residenzjali f’Wied il-Għajn. L-appallanti talbu wkoll li x-xogħlijiet jiġu sospiżi sakemm jinqata’ l-appell.


Fost il-punti li ssemmew mill-objetturi fl-appell hemm in-nuqqas ta’ konformità tal-iżvilupp ma’ diversi policies tal-ippjanar. Il-Pjan Lokali jelenka b’mod ċar it-tipi ta’ żvilupp li huma permessi f’din iż-żona u piċċ tal-waterpolo mhux wieħed minnhom. L-applikanti ppruvaw jiġġustifikaw l-iżvilupp billi ppreżentawh bħala proġett “marittimu”, meta fil-fatt il-piċċ tal-waterpolo se jimtela’ bl-ilma ħelu, mhux bl-ilma baħar. Pixxina li tuża ilma ħelu m’għandhiex għalfejn tinbena fejn il-baħar. Tant hu hekk li l-Pixxina Nazzjonali ta’ Malta, li tuża ilma ħelu, qiegħda qalb il-bini. Il-bini ta’ struttura enormi f’Wied il-Għajn se tkun qed tikser ukoll ir-regoli tal-iSPED dwar l-estetika u l-aċċess tal-pubbliku għall-kosta. Postijiet alternattivi, bħal per eżempju li jkompli jsir żvilupp fuq il-piċċ ġa eżistenti fiż-Żonqor, lanqas biss ġew ikkunsidrati mill-applikanti.


L-argument tal-appellanti huwa li l-ħsara li se ssir minn din l-istruttura ma tista’ bl-ebda mod tkun ġustifikata bil-benefiċċji tagħha, speċjalment meta tqis li dan il-piċċ tal-waterpolo se jiġi użat biss fix-xhur tas-sajf. Għall-kumplament tas-sena se tkun qed tintuża l-Pixxina Nazzjonali f’Tal-Qroqq. L-appellanti jinnutaw ukoll li hemm xi attentati biex jinbidel l-użu taż-żona biex spazju pubbliku miftuħ fuq il-kosta qrib is-sit ikun permess li fuqu jsir żvilupp ta’ bini u lukandi. Kieku dan kellu jseħħ, il-piċċ ta’ Wied il-Għajn ikun jista’ faċilment isir lido ta’ lukanda – eżempju ieħor ta’ kif art pubblika tiġi privatizzata għal skopijiet ta’ qliegħ privat u ta’ kif tibdel kosta naturali f’konkrit.


L-appell jippreżenta ħafna argumenti li jenfasizzaw l-impatt negattiv enormi li din l-istruttura massiċċa tal-konkrit se jkollha kemm fuq in-nies kif ukoll fuq l-ambjent. Flora protetta bħal Posidonia, se tiġi meqruda biex qiegħ il-baħar jiġi reklamat għall-kostruzzjoni tal-piċċ. Barra minn hekkk, planka enormi tal-konkrit ġol-bajja żgħira ta’ Wied il-Għajn hija bla dubju barra minn lokha u se tħalli impatt ikraħ ħafna fuq id-dehra tal-post. Il-proġett se jżid ukoll it-traffiku, it-tniġġiż tal-istorbju, kif ukoll se jnaqqas il-postijiet tal-parkeġġ, f’żona residenzjali li hija diġa konġestjonata. Ir-rapport tal-PA li jirrakkomanda li jkun approvat il-proġett kien ta l-impressjoni falza li l-piċċ se jkun qed jinbena f’żona ta’ divertiment, mhux f’żona li hija primarjament residenzjali.


L-appell ġie ppreżentat grazzi għall-ħafna residenti u ċittadini imħassbin li kkontribwew finanzjarjament biex jagħmlu tajjeb għall-ispejjeż legali u professjonali. Huwa ċar li n-nies xebgħu jiġġieldu kontra proġetti ta’ żvilupp li qegħdin kontinwament jheddu l-ambjent li jgħixu fih u l-kwalità ta’ ħajjithom.