Save the splendid bay (letters) -
Monday, July 2, 2007

Jacob Rizzo, Qawra.

Will some kind Latin scholar translate the following: "I am determined - to ride roughshod"? Also, another expression I have encountered frequently in The Times: "Weak with the strong, strong with the weak".

As soon I have seen these Latin translations I intend to hold an online poll among the readers for a choice of which of these two mottos to propose to Mepa to adopt beneath either an image of an enlarged horse hoof about to tread on a small doll-like figure of a man, or an image of an anvil and a huge hammer. Either of these will, of course, be part of the poll.

Oh, incidentally, the motto must be succinct. The men that matter do not have time for verbose submissions.

Also if any reader has any other ideas for an appropriate motto/image, let him come forth. I am not too dogmatic about limiting to just two alternatives and I am always prepared to listen to and consider constructive ideas.

The decision of the online poll will then be forwarded to the Mepa PRO in the (faint) hope that all her press releases will bear the motto/image at the top left hand corner so that readers will immediately focus on these statements and read them avidly, before turning to more mundane letters.

Romano Cassar, Naxxar.

Mepa's PRO Sylvana Debono, writing about the Ulysses Lodge re-development (June 18), shows us a photomontage with a "before and after" view from the bay.

According to Mepa, once these 23 villas are built, they will be practically invisible from the bay.

Mepa is expecting us to believe that the future tenants/owners of these villas will be happy to have their view of the bay totally obstructed by trees.

Ms Debono finishes her letter by stating: "In brief: No more of our precious countryside will be destroyed". Need I say more?

Ian Meli, Zabbar.

Unique is the beauty of Ramla l-Hamra. Its development is now the latest of the PN government's treacheries against the Maltese people and our children.

Top Mepa management is appointed by the government and is accountable, contradictorily enough, to the Minister for Rural Affairs and the Environment. Is this what was fought for in the 1980s? Did the PN fight for a better quality of life for the privileged few? The reddish colour of Ramla's sand gives it its name. After the devastation of the development the name should be changed to Ramla il-Bluna (blue) so that people will remember who the culprit was.

Stanley Farrugia Randon, Attard.

The photomontage published by Mepa show that the structures which are going to be built at Ramla l-Hamra will be surrounded by trees. Would this mean that the owners of the eventual villas will have their views obstructed by these trees?

The Blue party seems to want to change places which are green but are named Red (Xaghra l-Hamra and Ramla l-Hamra).

The archaeological aspect is also important, with Calypso Cave above and The Roman Villa below.

The public was only allowed a week of fresh air to celebrate the good news that Xaghra l-Hamra will not be developed. Give us a break.

Frank Mercieca, New South Wales, Australia.

The Ramla l-Hamra development permit decision is another example of how much the current administration cares about Malta's heritage and the environment.

I say to the people, forget about Mepa and all other bodies. Protest directly to the member of Parliament whose constituency include Ramla and make it quite clear that the vote will go to the candidate that opposes this development.

People should also complain to the local government so that such a pristine site would be safeguarded and is not lost, as was the case with Xaghra Qortin, with that ugly structure behind the Cornucopia Hotel, built on the edge of the cliff and blocking such a beautiful view of Marsalforn Bay.

I also hope the media does its bit and keeps this issue in the forefront so that the government would over-rule the decision taken by Mepa. The media should also remind the Administration that complacency and arrogance cost votes.

I hope next time I visit Ramla l-Hamra it would still be the same as I always knew it when I used to go swimming there and find that the old stone (Roman-built) steps still exist.

Save the splendid bay (6)
Petra Bianchi, director, Din l-Art Helwa Valletta. Rudolf Ragonesi, executive director, Gaia Foundation, Ghajn Tuffieha.

We refer to Sylvana Debono's letter (June 27) on behalf of Mepa, in reply to our previous statement that almost one third of the area approved for redevelopment at Ramla Bay consists of structures built without a permit and that these cannot qualify for redevelopment.

These structures consist of storage rooms, large elevated terraces used as car parks and an elevated road with supporting walls.

Ms Debono replied in her letter that there was no need for a permit to build these rooms and other structures as they were considered "ancillary" to the development Ulysses Lodge, which was built in the 1970s. To corroborate this statement, she uses the fact that no legal action was ever taken on these rooms and structures.

Din l-Art Helwa and the Gaia Foundation fear that a dangerous precedent is being set by this case.

We strongly disagree with these statements made by Ms Debono, and request clarification in detail on each of these points: Does this mean that any rooms or terraces built in the 1970s without a permit as "ancillary" to another building, in an area outside the development zone, and on which legal action was not previously taken, can be considered as a legal footprint that qualifies for redevelopment?

Ms Debono states that once a permit had been granted for the original Ulysses Lodge building, the Mepa board concluded that the surrounding area was considered to be "committed". Does this mean that the undeveloped area around any permitted structure outside the development zone can be considered as "committed"?

Peter P. Camilleri, Swieqi.

I refer to the letter by Sylvana Debono under the heading Ramla Development Less Intrusive (June 18).

May I point out that the landscaping of the villas looks great from the photomontage. But I ask for what reason do you build a villa on one of the most panoramic sea and country views in Malta and Gozo and then plant trees and cover up one's views. I come to the conclusion that this will not happen!

Perhaps a few low laying shrubs will be planted for the sole enjoyment of the residents and, well, you can imagine what an eyesore the whole complex will be.

First the PAPB and now Mepa have systematically done what the Germans and the Italians fail to do during World War II, that is destroy our architectural heritage - and, soon, our morale too. What will be left then?

Mepa, please listen to us populace. We have had enough!
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04 Jul 2007 by