Bulldozers pave the way for cemetery in Nadur - www.maltoday.com.mt
By James Debono
Bulldozers have begun the attack on Malta’s garigue landscape, paving the way for a massive 600 grave cemetery and an over sized chapel set in Triq Ghajn Qasab, the road leading to Ramla l-Hamra. Ramla l-Hamra, much like the garigue, is a pristine example of local geography; one of Gozo’s most picturesque and unspoilt areas.
Speaking to MaltaToday Martin Camilleri, secretary of the Nadur farmer’s cooperative, launched a passionate appeal to ecclesiastical authorities calling for an end to the development, voicing fears that natural springs used by farmers for irrigation could be contaminated by the construction.
“If the water supplies are contaminated we will lose our livelihood. Despite the threat we face we have been abandoned by the government, the Nadur local council and the church.”
Camilleri pointed out that rainwater, feeding the valuable natural springs in the area, will by necessity flow across the planned cemetery.
MEPA approved the development in November last year despite the Planning Directorate’s disparagement and MEPA’s own heritage committee sounding the alarm.
The development is currently being investigated by the European Commission following a complaint lodged by Alternattiva Demokratika.
However the cemetery is fully supported by some, including Nadur mayor Chris Said and parish priest Dun Salv Muscat. Despite appeals by the farmers the Curia did not intervene to stop the development or check its progress.
The farmers, backed by Alternattiva Demokratika’s claim that MEPA procedures have not been respected, is adamant that no Environmental Impact Assessment was ever conducted.
When MEPA issued an outline application for the cemetery’s development in 2003, the case officer argued that an environmental impact assessment was not required because the cemetery was “objectionable in principle” and entirely without merit. After ignoring the case officer’s advice to turn down the outline permit, MEPA never requested the developers to conduct an environmental impact assessment.
MEPA’s counter-claim is founded on a hydrological report that concludes development is “unlikely” to have any adverse impact on water sources; so long as sanitary effluents generated on site are discharged into the public sewage network and not carelessly into cesspits.
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