Smart City was proposed by the government of the time as a strategic investment which would transform the country and bring it into the world of high-tech development. It was trumpeted as a significant success which would bring some 5,600 jobs to Malta. In view of the fact that much of the land formed part of a derelict industrial estate and the stated importance of the project, Din l-Art Helwa’s concern was muted and restricted to the impact and architectural merit of the project.
We now are given to understand that the jobs have failed to materialize and the project may be reduced to a speculative land grab, where the speculators may make huge financial gains to the detriment of the exchequer – read the people of Malta who are the ultimate owners of the land. It is reported that, as is the latest trend, apartments are being sold without title or even development permits.
Din l-Art Helwa calls on the government to either ensure that Smart City fulfils the obligations of the contract or that permits to build are revoked. Should a change of use be required then the huge area of seafront land be re-tendered after due planning process as to what the best use of the land should be and whether the footprint should be reduced. The principle of using government land for speculative purposes should be stopped.