Bird Hunting
TOP NEWS | Sunday, 02 September 2007

Nature Trust appeals against Danish Village bungalows

James Debono

Nature Trust has presented an appeal against the proposed construction of 30 bungalows in a special protection area next to the Mellieha Bird Sanctuary.
MEPA approved the outline permit for this development without requesting an Environment Impact Assessment in May, a few days before approving the controversial Ramla l-Hamra development.
The project attracted public attention after MaltaToday revealed that the General Workers Union, which has an interest in the Mellieha holiday village, had lobbied with the Prime Minister’s office to hasten the approval of an application for 30 bungalows in a Special Area of Conservation.
Nature Trust is opposing the development as it lies within a proposed Natura 2000 site and close to a bird sanctuary.
“If anything, this should definitely require an appropriate assessment before it is even considered, and such assessment was not noticed in the brief Project Development Statement,” Nature Trust spokesperson Annalise Falzon tole MaltaToday.
Speaking to MaltaToday in June, Saviour Sammut, a director of the company, claimed that he had only intervened in his role as “a trade unionist, so that the country does not lose this opportunity to create work.”
But the project development statement, presented before the approval of the project, states that the only new jobs to be created are those of two pool boys, six gardeners, six maids and a supervisor. The PDS claims that currently, the complex attracts more than 17,000 tourists each year, and that the 30 new bungalows will serve to boost these numbers.
The General Workers Union only owns a nominal share in the Danish company which possesses 99 per cent of the shares in the Mellieha Holiday Complex. Saviour Sammut and Tony Zarb, in their respective roles of president and secretary-general of the GWU, are directors of the company, but are not paid for their post in the company.
The PDS reveals that the new development will involve the removal of a number of protected trees which are to be relocated elsewhere. It also acknowledges that the visual impact of the development will be “widespread and adverse”, but proposes the planting of native trees as a mitigation measure.

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