Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar is extremely concerned about the fact that a concession that had been granted in favour of tourism and its benefits, is now being turned into speculation for the few on land that belongs to the public.
Similarly to the Fortina Hotel that had enjoyed concessions as a tourism venture which are now being used for real estate, the St George’s Bay site had been conceded to the Corinthia Group specifically for tourism purposes – supposedly to improve the tourism product, create long-term employment, and benefit the public good.
Now the tourism component is being reduced and the area will be rezoned and designated for real estate purposes, changing planning laws to enable private businesses. This is preferential treatment granted to speculators. Why isn’t the same treatment afforded to the public asking for rezoning of areas of environmental and recreational value? Why are such concessions are only made for commercial speculation purposes? On what basis can planning laws be changed to accommodate certain interests only? Where does the selling of public land stop?
The concession to the db Group in connection with the adjacent ITS site was already a very bad decision, however basing the Corinthia deal on the ITS model entrenches the sale of public land at a price far below its real estate value, giving others the expectation of similar treatment. This creates dangerous imbalances in the market without providing any tangible value for the public for Government, the guardian of OUR public land, is duty bound to seek the best market price or to use the land for public purposes – often a better deal because that way the public continues to benefit.
The FAA spokesperson stressed that another cause of concern is the increase in traffic highlighted as a major issue in assessing the db project, which did not even factor in the emissions to be generated by this other commercial venture. As in the db case, no details have been given as who will foot the costs for the new roads, street lighting, drainage and utility supplies, which may well be paid by the public, absorbing much of the €52 million to be earned from the lease of the site.
This deal is not just, does not make business sense and betrays public interest as it undermines the best use or gain of precious and very scarce public resources.
The FAA Committee 22.12.2018