Parliament: Ramla l-Hamra in danger
by Noel Grima

The scenic bay of Ramla l-Hamra in Gozo may be in danger of losing its pristine ambience and becoming full of villas overlooking it, Parliament was told last night.

Evarist Bartolo was reacting after having a question regarding development permits for Ramla l-Hamra replied.

He asked the Rural Affairs Minister (who is responsible for MEPA) what environmental impact studies were carried out before the permits were issued to permit the building of villas near Ulysses Lodge overlooking Ramla l-Hamra.

Mr Pullicino replied that regarding application 5138/02 – re-development of an existing fully licenced commercial complex at Triq Ghajn Qamar, Xaghra, the following studies were carried out:

• Geology, geomorphology, water level and hydrology.

• An analysis regarding the stability of the ground.

• A geotechnical study of the foundations.

• Archaeology and cultural heritage.

• Ecology.

Rising on a supplementary question, Mr Bartolo said that this permit would mean the destruction of the pristine beauty of Ramla l-Hamra as the permit regards the construction of 21 villas overlooking the bay. To permit this is madness, Mr Bartolo said.

Mr Pullicino was not in the House for question time. Replying in his stead, Minister Ninu Zammit, who emphasised he was speaking as an architect, said that the fact that an application is submitted does not mean that it will be approved. One can even submit an application for the building of a skyscraper in Mdina’s square, Mr Zammit said. It is only after the studies are completed that a permit is issued or not issued.

Government planning a Property Court

The government is planning the setting up of a Property Court, on the lines of the Family Court, Parliamentary Secretary Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici said yesterday.

Replying to questions by Jason Azzopardi, Dr Mifsud Bonnici said that the cases that last the longest are the ones regarding property issues, especially those regarding inheritance.

This is why one or two judges will be assigned to this court and the process will thus be a much more focused one.

Indications of an indicator

The number of people given a ticket for not using their indicators totalled 1,024 last year and 476 so far this year, Justice Minister Tonio Borg told Jason Azzopardi.

More tourists in Gozo

The number of tourists who used accommodation in Gozo rose from 36,560 between January and September last year to 47,620 this year, Tourism Minister Francis Zammit Dimech told Evarist Bartolo.

Maltacom to be privatised wholly

The government will be selling all its shares in Maltacom to the strategic partner, Investments Minister Austin Gatt told Charles Buhagiar.

Russian prostitutes

The police will be investigating information passed on by Adrian Vassallo who stated that information collected over the internet informs that clubs, privees and brothels exist in Malta and that one can find Russian prostitutes in bars in Paceville or Bugibba and also that striptease shows take place, Justice Minister Tonio Borg told Dr Vassallo.

Single mothers

The number of single mothers who are on social assistance totals 1,755, Social Solidarity Minister Dolores Cristina told Adrian Vassallo. The department does not have information regarding single mothers with children from an unknown father, the minister said.

No hoaxes, just smoke

The new system whereby people can call or SMS the number of a vehicle that is emitting smoke, has resulted in 29,186 messages regarding 13,497 vehicles, up till 26 October, Transport Minister Jesmond Mugliett told Adrian Vassallo.

742 vehicles have been tested and 30 per cent of them were found to be faulty. The owners have been ordered to get repairs done after which they will be tested again. 525 other vehicles will be tested in the coming weeks.

No hoax calls were reported.

Italian expert for St John’s lighting

An Italian expert has been chosen to do the lighting in St John’s co-Cathedral.

Lighting designer, Stefano Dall’Orso was chosen after a call for expressions of interest which was contested by three other companies – ITC – Metalspot Spa, FRAU 18-08 and Elektra Ltd.

The choice of the Italian expert was made after taking into consideration the previous work he did in some of the most important churches in Italy and Europe.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi was replying to Charles Buhagiar.
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09 Jun 2007 by