Leave the bays alone (letters) - http://www.timesofmalta.com/
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Mr Adrian Gatt, Sliema
It seems that no part of the Maltese Islands is safe from the developers' grasp. And now Ramla l-Hamra is next on the list, a picturesque bay at the end of an astounding basin, one of a kind out of the half dozen beaches that we have on these tiny islands.
Yet, preservation of the few assets we have is still unheard of. Do we have to urbanise Gozo? What will tourists come over for? Does it have to be an Italian environment minister to tell us that we should preserve Gozo and promote it for agro-tourism? Aren't we capable of coming to these conclusions ourselves and acting on them?
Three of the accessible beaches in this archipelago - Ramla l-Hamra, Golden Bay and Hondoq ir-Rummien Bay are, to a high extent, still in a pristine condition with the only exception of a derelict building overlooking each of these bays, namely Ulysses Lodge, the Riviera Martinique and a rather huge building blocking the valley opening of the latter. What is even worse is that for each of these premises there are building applications for redevelopment and beyond into functional commercial and touristic facilities.
Are these premises really considered necessary to improve the Maltese package both for us locals and for tourism, or would it be much more beneficial if these areas were left in their natural state for the benefit of all? Don't we have enough bays with hotels and tourist facilities overlooking them? Can't we have the option of choosing to go to unspoilt beaches? After all, we do not have kilometres of sandy beaches to choose from. All together, they might add up to a few hundred metres to cater for 400,000 inhabitants, plus tourists.
When the government takes a private property (the property of Mr Nobody, a decent taxpayer) for the interest of the country to build a road (of which we have more than enough) or public amenity, can't this same procedure be emulated and these three premises in question be demolished and the areas reinstated to their former natural glory?
The only problem with these is that the owners are Mr Money! Does the government have enough courage? The majority are waiting for this move. As the Sliema residents were elated when the Jumbo Lido at Qui-si-Sana was demolished and the area returned to citizens, the Maltese people and tourists alike would welcome such a courageous move, if someone up there were up to the challenge. MEPA are you up to it?
The only drawback to this is that there is no monetary gain in this one!
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