In a press conference in Gzira, Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party appealed for a revision of development plans in Manoel Island, in order that it can be transformed into an eco-island.
Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, said: “Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party is proud to announce the candidature of Leonard Schembri as candidate for the Gzira local elections. Indeed, we are proud to announce an increase in green local council candidates. The election of green candidates will ensure that residents, both Maltese and foreign, who want their quality of life safeguarded, will have a legitimate voice in their local council. Issues such as sustainable development, public transport, infrastructure, accessibility, public consultation and residents’ rights will be given priority by Green local councillors”.
Leonard Schembri, AD local council candidate in Gzira, said: “A main concern of Gzira residents is the development at Manoel Island. It is very unfortunate that Manoel Island is being turned into a building site for speculative purposes. With some planned development aimed to reach 5 storeys, AD urges a lowering of this, so as not to spoil the skyline and views of Valletta bastions. It is unfortunate that the old Lazaretto Hospital is also being sold and that government had waived the concession fee in return for the restoration of Fort Manoel. Government could have done more to ensure reasonable revenue from the developers.”
“Government and MEPA have failed completely in making Manoel Island an ecological island with a social dimension for example through renewable energy and water catchment measures. Government also failed in ensuring that the project has a social dimension. It is also unclear who will be responsible for the island. Does the Gzira Local Council have a say, at present, in this monstrous project?”
“We appeal to Midi Corporation to revisit their plans and grasp a unique once-in-a-lifetime chance to develop the island as an Eco island, for example through renewal energy and water catchment measures, lots of gardens, pleasant walkways, cycle lanes, and other attractions, the planning of which will be left to the imagination of Malta’s foremost landscape gardeners”.
Carmel Cacopardo AD spokesman for Sustainable Development and Home Affairs said that Manoel Island is one of the few under-developed areas in an area which has been subject to the forces of speculation for the past 40 years. With over 70,000 vacant residential units spread all over the islands the approval by MEPA of development permits recently proves that government and its appointed authorities have no idea of what sustainable development signifies. This contrasts starkly with all the fine words uttered in Parliament this week when the debate on the Sustainable Development Bill was launched.