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Letters | Wednesday, 26 May 2010 Issue. 165

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The death knell for Gozo, or the Hondoq-ir-Rummien Project

It seems that there is a certain bunch of Gozitan thugs who are intent on destroying this wonderful island and will stop at nothing to gain their blood money in the process.
These thugs have already destroyed Fort Chambray and the harbour. They are in the process of trying to ruin Dwejra, Ta’ Dbiegi – the highest point on Gozo – was almost turned into a mushroom farm by one of them and Marsalforn will soon have its own high rise buildings to add hundreds of new apartments to the already thousands of derelict ones. The list is endless.
What is happening to the Gozo so many of us love and cherish and care for? Who is trying to destroy it? Who is backing them? How do they get permits to build the unimaginable? Who is paying them, and more important, who are they paying? I leave the answers to these questions to your own imagination.
The argument that the marina project in Hondoq-ir-Rummien will create numerous jobs for Gozitans is totally unrealistic and untrue. Several construction jobs may be created for a couple of years. However, we all know that the construction industry now uses foreigners whenever possible, so the number of new jobs created for Gozitans will be minimal. On completion, the complex will also employ foreigners, as is the case in the Kempinski hotel in San Lawrenz for example, and the upmarket hotels in Malta. This is unfortunate, but true.
Among other things, what this project will do is destroy one of the last unspoilt sandy bays on the island – forever. The resulting pollution from the yachts/boats, hotel and apartments will cause irreparable damage to the marine ecology of the area, including the channel and the Island of Comino. The construction phase will cause air and noise pollution, not only in Qala, but across the whole island as construction waste and quarry stone is transported to and from the area. The need for additional stone will most likely result in permission being given for yet another stretch of arable or virgin land to be quarried.
Yes, there are many improvements that need to be implemented to make Hondoq more welcoming, however, remember that if the application for this unrealistic development project is approved, Ramla will be next, followed by Dwejra, and maybe St. Blas, Dahlet Qorrot and Mgarr ix-Xini as well.
It is time that ALL Gozitans realize that their island is very special and that they must do their utmost to save what little is left of it. The tourist industry is still the main source of income for the island, but hundreds of new tourist destinations have opened up all over the Mediterranean in the last few years creating fierce competition. Tourists no longer need to visit a polluted, noisy, concrete jungle filled with derelict buildings and surrounded by polluted water, to enjoy a bit of sun.
Wake up and stop the destruction, before this description really fits Gozo and there is nobody left to perform its Last Rites!



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