STOP THE GREED – page 2

September 3, 2016

WHY SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED?

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  1. These over-sized skyscrapers do not serve any public interest but are private, commercial ventures seeking to maximize profits for the few.
  1. These over-sized skyscrapers will jar with the Maltese skyline as we know it. Tourists and residents value the intrinsic traditional heritage of the island, and do not want a mini-Dubai or Singapore.
  1. The Town Square skyscraper will tower 30 storeys above the average height of the apartments on the Sliema front. At 38 storeys, it will be almost double the Portomaso tower which is 23 storeys.
  1. The traditional setting of the beautiful world heritage city of Valletta will be directly affected by a huge skyscraper of 38 storeys in Sliema. Town Square will also ruin the view of Valletta from the Three Cities as it will be visible from behind. With high-rise at Mriehel, the historic skyline from Mdina to Valletta will be ruined forever.
  1. It is shameful that the Planning Authority made no attempt to do its job properly – it did not even ensure the presentation of correct visual images for the high-rise buildings at Mriehel. The photomontages presented by the architect were deceptive. They used a lens making the distances look larger and the projects smaller than they would actually look to the naked eye.
  1. The infrastructure surrounding the skyscrapers cannot handle the additional Roads, sewerage and other services will all need to be upgraded. Who is going to pay for this? The taxpayer should not fork out the money for the benefit of a private profiteers.
  1. Allowing the Mriehel and Sliema skyscrapers to be built will create a precedent for more high-rise developments in these and other areas, with serious and negative effects on the whole population.
  1. Traffic congestion and parking in Sliema is already very difficult. With these skyscrapers Sliema and the surrounding towns will grind to a halt.
  1. Residents as well as visitors will be negatively affected by all the dust and the traffic caused by the skyscrapers projects.
  1. Residents will have less light in their homes. Moreover, surrounding rooftops will be partially in shadow thus negatively affecting any investment in solar panels.
  1. These high-rise developments will negatively affect the value of everyone else’s property.
  1. There are no mechanisms to ensure that these projects will be completed as proposed. Will we just end up with more blots on the landscape like the A3 Towers near the Addolorata Cemetery, which provide no public benefit whatsoever?
  1. The government slipped in Mriehel into its high-rise policy document by stealth, without consulting the public as required by law. The public was denied its right to participate in the decision.
  1. Maltese and EU law requires that all new plans and policies with an environmental impact – such as the new high-rise policy that allows the building of skyscrapers – should be subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment. Not only was this Assessment not carried out, but the government – again in breach of Maltese and EU law – did not even bother to consider whether such an Assessment should be carried out or not.
  1. Conflicts of interest? The time has come for Planning Board members to stop acting as consultants to any big developers while they hold this position. Two members of the Planning Authority board were engaged in their personal capacity as consultants to the controversial power station project. Gasan and Tumas Groups, the applicants for the skyscrapers, are shareholders in the power station project.
  1. It is unacceptable that members of the Planning Authority board are using bullying tactics at board meetings to intimidate environmental NGOs acting in the public interest.
  1. The demerger of MEPA has severely weakened the environmental voice in planning decisions, and strengthened the hand of the pro-construction planners.

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