News | Sunday, 12 April 2009

Mosta council to back NGO ‘all out’ to save valley

The Mosta local council has quelled endless speculation that it was not intending to renew its objector status on a controversial development abutting the Mosta valley.
In a recent meeting, the council unanimously opposed a permit granted by MEPA for the construction of 24 apartments and 26 garages taking up part of the picturesque valley of Wied il-Ghasel, a World Conversation 3rd Category site.
Also a tree reserve, the area earmarked for development also includes the last remaining corbelled stone hut (Girna) in close proximity to a Maltese town core.
The council’s reactions were eagerly awaited by concerned residents, whose complaints have been extensively backed by several heritage organisations including Harsien Patrimonju Mosti (HPM), Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA), Nature Trust, Moviment Graffitti and also the Labour party.
But when contacted by telephone yesterday, Labour mayor Paul Chetcuti Caruana abruptly hung up after saying: “I’m not in the mood for you this morning.”
Instead, a more obliging Josette Agius Decelis, the deputy mayor, told MaltaToday the council will tomorrow file its official objections to MEPA. “We back the complaints made by HPM completely and unanimously. The Mosta council is all out against this development,” the Labour councillor said.
Correspondence sent by HPM describes the development as one which would “abut and severely deface a natural monument.”
Spokespersons for the heritage organisation said the development permit should be withdrawn “due to several glaring irregularities concerning its issue, including the immediate removal of the application notice before neighbours were aware of it.”
Mosta residents presented MEPA with 24 affidavits, calling on the authority to “revoke the permit by means of article 39A of the Development Planning Act”.
MEPA’s appeals board is scheduled to hear a complaint lodged by Nature Trust on 15 May, but HPM said the date set was “far too late to save the valley ridge and its rich ecological, cultural, rural and aesthetic features.”

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