“Blatant PR Stunt” - Moviment Graffitti denounces revised ITS-DB plans |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
16/12/2020

“Blatant PR Stunt” - Moviment Graffitti denounces revised ITS-DB plans

Moviment Graffitti has slammed the DB Group’s revised plans for their City Centre project, describing these plans as “a blatant PR stunt” and an attempt to increase the built-up area by stealth.


In a first reaction, a spokesperson for the activist group said that “DB’s new plans are essentially a trojan horse. What they are really doing is that they are increasing the built-up area by a total of three new residential floors, while at the same time reducing the available open spaces. It is clear that the widespread opposition to this project from residents forced DB back to the drawing board, but in spite of appearances the developers remain intent on further degrading our quality of life.”


Whilst acknowledging the new plans feature reduced heights, Moviment Graffitti pointed out that the project’s overall volume remains unchanged. This is due to the fact that DB have now opted to construct two towers instead of one, and this will certainly not reduce the large-scale, long-term inconveniences to be suffered by the localities of Pembroke, Swieqi, St Julians, Madliena, and by their residents.


“The project’s vertical impact wasn’t the only source of objections to the project. In addition to the height, residents are upset about the volume of activity it will generate in the area, with the spillover of Paceville into Pembroke. DB mistakenly believe residents will be conned into believing they’ve designed a solution for all these issues.”


The proposed development is completely out of context with the surroundings and would therefore nullify the new PA policy on scheduling and contexts, rendering the ITS building’s Schedule 2 status virtually useless.


The activist group also notes that are no restrictions on any future increase in height, a loophole which has also allowed developer Joseph Portelli to apply for an increase in the height of his Mercury House tower.


Besides the aggressive impact on the environment, particularly on Natura 2000 sites, concerns also persist with regard to the infrastructure in the area which is currently unsuitable for a development of that scale. Moviment Graffitti has also questioned the transparency behind the government’s gift of a tunnel leading to the project, which will be financed by the taxpayers and for which DB will not cough up a cent. Without this tunnel, as studies have already shown, the project will simply not be viable.


The ITS-DB project has amassed over 15,000 objections during the three representation periods held over the past three years, with widespread opposition voiced by residents, three local councils, the Local Councils’ Association and various NGOs. In a damning report published last year, the Auditor General found evidence of irregularities in the transfer of land to the DB Group.


“We believe the process, from the transfer of land to planning, is deeply flawed and designed to favour the developer. This latest twist in the saga makes us even more determined in our opposition to this monstrous project. The land given to DB should be returned to its rightful owner, the people of Malta, and not used to bury our citizens in dust, noise and greed.


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“Logħba ta’ Relazzjonijiet Pubbliċi”: Il-Moviment Graffitti jikkritika d-disinni l-ġodda għall-ITS-DB


Il-Moviment Graffitti kkritika bl-aħrax il-pjanijiet riveduti tad-DB Group għall-proġett ta’ City Centre, u ddeskriva dawn ir-reviżjonijiet bħala “logħba ovvja ta’ relazzjonijiet pubbliċi” u attentat sabiex iż-żona mibnija tiżdied bil-moħbi.


Kelliem għall-Moviment qal li “d-disinni l-ġodda tad-DB qed jippruvaw jaħbu l-fatt li l-iżviluppaturi jridu jżidu ż-żona mibnija ta’ madwar tliet sulari għal użu residenzjali, filwaqt li tnaqqsu l-ispazji miftuħa disponibbli. Huwa ċar li l-oppożizzjoni mifruxa għal dan il-proġett min-naħa tar-residenti ġiegħlet lid-DB ibiddlu l-pjanijiet tagħhom, iżda minkejja dak li qed jippruvaw juruna, l-iżviluppaturi baqgħu bl-intenzjoni li jkomplu jnaqqru l-kwalità tal-ħajja tagħna.


Filwaqt li l-attivisti jirrikonoxxu li l-pjanijiet il-ġodda jinvolvu bini inqas għoli, il-Moviment Graffitti ġibed l-attenzjoni għall-fatt li l-volum totali tal-proġett baqa’ ma nbidilx. Dan minħabba l-fatt li d-DB għażlu li jibnu żewġ torrijiet minflok wieħed, u dan ċertament mhux ser inaqqas l-inkonvenjenzi kbar u fit-tul li se jsofru l-lokalitajiet ta’ Pembroke, Swieqi, San Ġiljan, Madliena, u r-residenti tagħhom.


“L-impatt vertikali tal-proġett ma kienx l-uniku raġuni għall-oġġezzjonijiet li tressqu kontra l-proġett. Minbarra l-għoli, ir-residenti jinsabu mħassba dwar il-volum tal-attività li se jiġġenera fiż-żona, fejn l-attivitajiet ta’ Paceville se jiskonfinaw f’Pembroke. Id-DB mingħalihom li se jġiegħlu lir-residenti jemmnu li sabu s-soluzzjoni għal dawn il-kwistjonijiet kollha.”


L-iżvilupp propost huwa kompletament barrani għall-kuntest tal-inħawi tiegħu, tant li se jxejjen il-policy il-ġdida tal-PA fuq l-iskedar u l-kuntesti, u l-istatus tal-bini tal-ITS bħala “Schedule 2” ser isir prattikament inutli.


Il-Moviment jinnota wkoll li ma hemm ebda restrizzjonijiet dwar il-possibilità li fil-futur jiżdied l-għoli tal-bini, lakuna legali li ppermettiet lill-iżviluppatur Joseph Portelli japplika sabiex iżid l-għoli tat-torri tal-Mercuy House.


Minbarra l-impatt aggressiv fuq l-ambjent, b’mod partikolari fuq is-siti tan-Natura 2000, hemm tħassib persistenti dwar l-infrastruttura fiż-żona, li attwalment mhijiex xierqa għal żvilupp ta’ din is-sura. Il-Moviment qal li jinsab imħasseb ukoll dwar it-trasparenza tad-deċiżjoni tal-Gvern li jibni mina li twassal għall-iżvilupp, u li se tiġi ffinanzjata mill-kontribwenti bħala rigal lid-DB, li mhux se jonfqu ċenteżmu għal din il-biċċa infrastruttura. Mingħajr din il-mina, kif urew diġà l-istudji, dan il-proġett mhux se jkun viabbli.


Il-proġett ta’ ITS-DB ġabar ‘il fuq minn ħmistax-il elf oġġezzjoni tul it-tliet perjodi ta’ rappreżentazzjoni li nżammu tul l-aħħar tliet snin, b’oppożizzjoni kbira min-naħa ta’ residenti, tliet kunsilli lokali kif ukoll mill-Assoċjazzjoni tal-Kunsilli Lokali u bosta NGOs. F’rapport li ġie ppubblikat is-sena l-oħra, l-Awditur Ġenerali kkundanna u sab provi ta’ irregolaritajiet fit-trasferiment tal-art lil DB Group.


“Nemmnu li l-proċess, mit-trasferiment tal-art sal-Ippjanar, huwa skorett u maħsub biex jiffavorixxi lill-iżviluppaturi. Dal l-aħħar aġġornament tas-saga jagħmilna iżjed u iżjed determinati nopponu dan il-proġett mostruż. L-art li ngħatat lid-DB għandha tiġi rritornata lis-sid xieraq tiegħu, jiġifieri lill-poplu Malti, flok jintuża biex iċ-ċittadini tagħna jindifnu taħt it-trab, l-istorbju u r-regħba.”