Ramla project to use disturbed footprint - developers - http://www.timesofmalta.com/
Joanna Ripard

One of the directors of the development company behind the Ramla l-Hamra tourist villa complex started off his week defending his project.

And after six days - during which MEPA and the Environment Minister defended the permit granted to the developers on June 6, NGOs sticking to their guns in opposition, the MEPA chairman weathering the stormy pressure of his office, and on-line petition signatures topping 5,000 - Mario Grech ends his week in the same way.

Soft-spoken and unassuming, Mr Grech on Friday reiterated that only disturbed land is earmarked for the development of 23 self-catering villas each with a pool, pool deck and roof garden, occupying around 17 per cent of the overall land holdings in the Gozo beauty spot.

To support his stand - and in an attempt to dispel misinformation about the nature of the project - Mr Grech has released a graphic to The Sunday Times indicating the outline of the development area against the existing area occupied by the Ulysees Lodge property built in the early Seventies.

Accompanied by fellow Ulysees Lodge Company director Emidio Azzopardi, he told The Sunday Times on Friday that the Lm3 million project targets a niche market in Gozo's tourism sector, offering top quality accommodation for domestic and foreign holidaymakers. The villas will be mostly three-bedroomed, occupying between 75 to 100 square metres each.

The complex will occupy around 7,000 square metres of the total 40,000-square-metre site and will be surrounded by terraced fields and unspoilt land. The development of the site will see the foundations removed to existing levels with no further excavation into the blue clay slope.

The complex area will be completely pedestrianised as the project includes underground parking. A modern sewerage system will pump to the public sewer system northwards, away from Ramla Bay below the complex. Besides, the developers point out, the project will be environment-friendly and energy saving measures will be employed in its management.

They promise that the extensive landscaping of the complex ensures that it will be visually pleasing, camouflaged with mature trees. The elevation of the new structures, in some areas, will be around two storeys lower than the current derelict property.

"The Construction Management Plan is very specific and dictates the methods to be employed," Mr Grech insisted.

"There has been much controversy over the waivering of the Environment Impact Assessment for the project. That only happened because the information the EIA would have gathered was already available and was included in the Project Description Statement.

"We will be working under the supervision of a MEPA-appointed architect and we have every intention to stick to the provisions and parameters of the permit we have been granted. There is no way that we would risk the revocation of the permit we have been waiting five years for."
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17 Jun 2007 by Saveramla.com