Malta Today has reported that “the Garden of Eden wedding hall within the protected Wied Babu valley is set to transform into 12 one-storey bungalows with pool,” a project which is “being recommended for approval by the Planning Authority’s development management directorate.”
The reasons it gives you to accept this yet another atrocity, is that the “PA’s rural policy permits the redevelopment of permitted buildings even outside the development zones (ODZ), if the replacement is deemed to be an environmental improvement over the existing situation,” adding that “the proposed redevelopment was acceptable because of its minimal visual impact and because the Environment and Resources Authority had concluded it was unlikely to affect the integrity of the protected Natura 2000 site.”
You are being told, dear Maltese nation, that this new development has a rural design which is of much higher quality, is respectful of its surroundings and will ‘blend better’ with the surroundings.
Is this PA/06673/20 by any chance, the application to demolish the venue, a venue which should never have been there in the first place, so to construct the 14 luxury bungalows of 170 sq.m each with pools?
Is the current building, the wedding venue, legal? Can we have documents that show its legality, published? There can be no reason at all for a “redevelopment” of the site in question if the current building is, in fact, illegal. Additionally, the ERA had stated that further development should not be justified by the illegal parking lot where a portion of the proposed structures will be erected: “The disturbed state of the site is not considered as a valid commitment justifying further development.” Instead, the car park should be restored to its pristine state.
It is what it is. A development. It is another rape of Malta’s land. It is another rape of yet another valley. It is another rape of the whole Maltese nation, more specifically, of those in the ‘lower’ scale, who will not have the luxury to enjoy this valley but those who will afford those luxury dwellings in Wied Babu, will.
Excuse me, but didn’t the article state that Wied Babu is protected? Isn’t it ODZ anymore? Won’t this development lead to the unwarranted take-up of ODZ land in pristine area of great natural beauty?
And then the Labour government tells you that we must go green, to save the environment. It has, for example, lined you up in front of the ugly BCRS, so that you do your duty, and recycle your bottles, on which it has charged you 10c tax, for the environment. But here comes the Planning Authority and gives a shit about greenery, the greenery which you, as a Maltese native, have a right to enjoy in its natural state as mother earth gave it to you.
But let us clap for the environment, and do our duty, while the Destroying Authority destroys your environment, because the rural policy permits it. What about the negative impact this will have on the adjoining virgin land? What about the irreparable damage this will cause to the Special Area of Conservation, Natura 2000 site? Oh, don’t sell us bullshit and tell us that nothing will be harmed. We are not stupid!
Isn’t Wied Babu a valley of great ecological important? Is it owned by the Garden of Eden developers or does it belong to the Maltese nation!
This is yet another urban sprawl which will destroy a site which is within a scheduled area of level 3 Degree of Protection, that is, the buffer zone to protect coastal cliffs, featuring views of Wied iż-Żurrieq, Filfla, and the surrounding seascape!
One of the island’s most picturesque and environmentally sensitive locations cannot be allowed to be divided up for tourism in order to serve private business interests. This is especially true given that the site’s current development appears to be mostly illegal and that the Planning Authority has neglected to address this egregious abuse despite the fact that enforcement is present.
As for the reason that the Planning Authority is trying to sell you so to make you believe that it is doing nothing wrong in accepting such a development, the proposed redevelopment will undoubtedly not improve the site or the surrounding area overall, and it will create a precedent for the commercialization and development of a location that, at all costs, ought to remain undeveloped land. Additionally, it will cause traffic to increase and disturb the rural environment and routes. It’s important to take into account additional concerns as well, like the development’s visual impact on a region of exceptional natural beauty and the dearth of infrastructure services required to support it. Furthermore, it is blatantly against SPED T. O.1 to build a tourist complex on pristine, highly ecologically valuable ODZ land when it is easily accommodated within the development zone. SPED T. 0.1 states:
“Thematic Objective 1: To manage the available potential space and environmental resources on land and sea sustainably to ensure that socioeconomic development needs are met whilst protecting the environment and limiting land take up within the Rural Area by: 10. Socio-economic development should ensure that rural areas are not exploited by uses which are not legitimate and necessary.”
Won’t this development lead to soil sealing of an ODZ land, which goes against policy 1.2D of the RPDG which states that “proposed developments which would have an unacceptable adverse environment, landscape, cultural or archaeological impact will not be permitted.”
Shouldn’t then this development be rejected outright by the Planning Authority?
Dear Maltese nation, keep on arguing and fighting on your blue and red pilled parties. Let us not forget that a lot of projects that were undertaken were built on land that was granted development rights during the PN, in 2006. Then the Labour government did not bring any change to it. Isn’t it possible that this government cannot stop all this? Is it true that if the government tries to stop this, the taxpayer would have to fork out billions in compensation for the withdrawal of rights?
Isn’t it possible that nothing can be done for the Maltese to have the little left greenery back and for the environment to be respected and protected?