Save Ramla l-Hamra

Source: AD Gozo Regional Committee

"Gozo's most picturesque bay, ir-Ramla l-Hamra, which besides its geomorphologiocal features also harbours Roman archaeological remains and is home to endangered fauna, flora and sand dunes, is under threat from a proposed development which will ruin what is left of the unique character of this bay and the surrounding Gozo skyline," said Dr Harry Vassallo, Chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party.

The Gozo Regional Committee of Alternattiva Demokratika is voicing its concern and forcefully objecting to the proposed development PA 07947/05 which is an application for the construction of apartments and local shops with underlying garages in the Calypso Cave area . If such development is given the green light it will not only cause irreparable damage to the area but will be in violation of several MEPA (Malta Environment and Planning Authority) planning policies which legally safeguard such an environment.

The proposed development will violate Policy RCO 4 and Policies Ben1 and Ben2 because it will adversely affect the scenic value of the area, since it will visually dominate and disrupt its surroundings due to its mass and location and also affecting existing trees and shrubs.

The development being proposed will occupy a larger area than the structures currently present on site. The Xaghra residents are always hoping that the latter structures (otherwise known as the Ulysses Lodge) will someday be demolished, never to be replaced again. Moreover Policy UCO 6 and UCO 10 also bind MEPA to safeguard an old farmhouse to be found in this locality.

Uncontrolled sewage outflow resulting from the operation of the Ulysses Lodge have lead to the pollution of Ramla L-Hamra. Ever since the Lodge ceased operating, the bay has recovered and is a potential candidate as a Blue Flag bay. In addition, Ramla Bay is also listed as a protected area under a UNESCO project.

Ramla l-Hamra is also unique in that it is free of light pollution and is therefore an ideal place for astronomical observations especially during the summer months. AD Gozo is also asking MEPA to take into consideration other policies when processing application PA 07947/05, namely Ben 7, Ben 10, AHF 4, AHF 7, RCO 29 and RCO 32.

Victor Galea Spokesperson for the AD Gozo Regional Committee said: "We trust that MEPA will abide by its policies and guidelines and conserve this unique bay which is so vital not only as a tourist attraction but also as a place where locals can relax their mind, body and spirit."

"Are the two major political parties expecting us to sit back and allow a select few to gradually destroy all Gozo just for political expediency? This island does not belong to you or me or them - it belongs to all the people of Gozo and their future progeny. We only have it on loan and it is our duty to safeguard it for future generations," concluded Mr Galea.
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12 Jun 2007 by