• Corrine Zahra

How Gozo's Over Development Is Getting Extreme & Ruining Nature

📸 @sinkingsun_ & @juliet_bravo_uniform

A Call For Sustainability

Gozo is what the popular Maltese folk song called "djamant f'nofs il-Mediterran" (diamond of the Mediterranean) however, many locals are fired up by the rampant developments that are taking over the island by mega-developers.

Local council mayors have recently banded together to show the authorities that they want to discuss a sustainable development plan for Gozo, the Qala Local Council in particular standing up to local developers in court.

What's Going On?

There have been some wins. 2 years ago, the appeal for a farmhouse at Ta' Muxi in Qala was renounced as well as the Hondoq proposal for a yacht marina, villas, apartments & hotel.

The Qala development of 160-apartments may be Gozo's biggest controversy in which the local council mounted a full-out court legal challenge. The applications were approved although they were partially Outside Development Zone (ODZ) larger than 3 football pitches.

2 development proposals were submitted for apartments near Ggantija - raising concerns over the archaeological surroundings & view of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The conversion of Marsalforn Road from a 2-lane to 4-lane was approved with 10,693sqm of agricultural land being destroyed, 300 trees & protected species. The €9 million tender was given based on an analysis that the road created congested traffic conducted only during Gozo's busiest weekend of the Santa Marija feast.

The planned development in Qortin Street will destroy fertile land owned by the residents of the area, replaced by 71 apartments, 74 garages on 2 basement levels, & a communal pool. The development plans are 2/3 ODZ. The first application gained 1000+ objections, forcing the architect to reassess the plan.

Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola Speaks Out

Local activists started protesting in Victoria with signs, catching Roberta Metsola's eye as she too used her platform to raise awareness on Gozo's overdevelopment issues.

GOZO: An Island Under Attack

This is such a pressing issue that an entire video was made as a reaction to the Qortin Street issue, aiming to raise awareness for the entirety of the local Gozitan scene.

It was shot by Chelsea Muscat - @sinkingsun_ - and it encapsulates the problem briliantly.

eNGOs Speaking Up

Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar has stated:

"The call is out among Gozitan residents to stop mimicking Malta, already largely ruined, and instead foster what is truly Gozitan through incentives aimed at restoration and traditional architecture, rather than blanket incentives that reward unattractive mass-market construction."

Moviment Graffiti also stated:

"Hemm bilan totali bejn il-bonn li nħarsu l-ambjent naturali u l-kwalità tal-ħajja dienti minn naħa, u l-ekonomija u l-ivilupp minn naħa oħra, liema vilupp iktar qed iib rigress flok progress."

Do You Think Gozo's Development Rate Needs Better Planning?

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