By way of reply to the recent announcement by the Prime Minister on the Zonqor project, Friends of the Earth Malta (FoE Malta) reiterates its stand against any development on ODZ land and the use of 18,000m2 of such land for development in Zonqor.
FoE Malta notes however the improvement from the original plans which are now taking into consideration the use of the disused Dock 1 buildings. This kind of approach whereby old dilapidated buildings are made to good use instead of using up more land is something that FoE Malta and other NGOs have been harping on for the past decades.
FoE Malta continues to insist on measures towards enacting specific clauses and legal boundaries in local legislation and the need for professional and good standards of public sector governance to protect our remaining natural heritage from exploitation. To ensure transparency, FoE Malta requests the publication of agreements, due diligence assurance and all studies carried out on alternative site use for the development of this development, including that of Dock 1. This will give the general public the opportunity to scrutinise for themselves the decision making processes that were involved.
FoE Malta reiterates the benefits of protecting open spaces and land; public assets with economic, social, ecological and environmental value. Martin Galea De Giovanni Director of Friends of the Earth Malta said that “It is high time that no further development occurs in ODZs. We believe that this land should be protected and serve as heritage to the Maltese people. We understand that this generation has the obligation to protect these sites, respecting our past, acknowledging the present needs and passing on this heritage to future generations.”
Martin Galea De Giovanni emphasised that fact that “should the authorities continue to allow building in ODZs, it will inevitably lead to a complete urbanisation of these islands; it is our children who will bear the brunt of the current onslaught on our green spaces.”
FoE Malta continues to extend its full support to Front Harsien ODZ, whose volunteers from all sectors of society have been tirelessly working to voice the concerns of civil society against further exploitation of ODZ land.