Ramla l-Hamra: Archeologists hit back! - maltastar.com
07 June 2007
Archeologists who worked on a preliminary report about cultural heritage on the Ulysses Lodge in Gozo said that they feel that “a general preliminary report about cultural heritage cannot be used to consider the impacts of any proposed development on cultural heritage.”
A press release signed by archeologists Marlene Borg, Joseph Calleja and Ernest Vella from Archeology Services Co-operative Ltd and ex-member Katja Stroud says that they were never informed that the report would be attacked to a development permit application.
On Wednesday, Mepa scandalously approved the development of 23 villas with pools in one of the most spectacular areas of Gozo, that is, Ramla l-Hamra, right beneath Calypso Caves.
But the archeologists involved in the study hit back: “The study did not deal with wither the impacts of any development in the area nor any mitigation measures that may be carried out to ensure the preservation of the culture heritage. In fact, the report focused on the proposal of a heritage trail through which the cultural heritage could be preserved and better presented to the general public.”
They also say that they had been commissioned to carry out a preliminary study aimed at compiling information pointing out archaeological remains in the vicinity of Ulysses Lodge, which, they were told, may be enhanced in the future.
“Hence the aims of this study are different from those of an EIA or any impact study on cultural heritage,” the archeologists maintained.
The Mepa board voted 10 votes in favour of the development to one against thus allowing the destruction of the slopes beneath Calypso Caves which are also 50 metres away from Natura 2000 project.
The waiver of an EIA also constitutes a breach of EU’s EIA directive.
During the hearing of the Mepa board, the chairman of the board said that an environmental impact assessment of the development was not sought by the authority, but that besides other studies, the developer had produced an archeological report, which claims that the area to be built has no archeological value.
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