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In the Media

The Malta Independent
21st June, 2006

Ramla l-Ħamra development: ‘Threat to long-term employment’

Alternattiva Demokratika said the proposed development at Ramla l-Ħamra posed a danger not only to the traditional character associated with Gozo but also to long-term employment in the tourism sector there.

It was commenting on the proposal, to welcome the statements by various environmental non-governmental organisations, such as Din l-Art Ħelwa, the Ramblers’ Association, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Wirt Għawdex and others.

“We encourage all citizens concerned who believe that we should safeguard our country for future generations to actively participate in the national protest organised by a number of NGOs next Monday at 6.30pm in Valletta,” it said. It added that Gozo could not afford to lose one single tourist, and the closing up of tourist lodgings, hotels and people working in the catering industry being reduced to occasional part-timers from full-timers should concern not only the Green Party but all citizens who also believed that political parties should work towards the interest of the country and not for their party.

In another statement, Din l-Art Ħelwa and Gaia Foundation yesterday again questioned the Malta Environment and Planning Authority’s decision to issue a permit to redevelop Ulysses Lodge in Ramla Bay, Gozo on the requested footprint.

On 6 May, the Mepa board granted a permit for the construction of 23 self-catering units, garages and swimming pools on 8,000m2 of land on and around the existing complex known as “Ulysses Lodge”.

The NGOs stated that the permit granted to Ulysses Lodge in 1973 only allowed a development of around 2,600m2. The terraced car parks and storage areas surrounding the lodge, together with the built-up road leading to these car parks and storage areas, which together comprise around 2,300m2, do not appear to be covered by a permit, nor were they ever regularised.

Without a permit, these constructions, which Mepa is describing as “disturbed land”, are illegal, the NGOs said.

The NGOs stated that the existing planning laws do not allow the redevelopment of illegal construction outside the development zone.

Illegal developments which are not sanctioned should be demolished and the site reinstated.

In view of this, the Ulysses Lodge permit should be revoked as it should never have been granted in the first place.

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