IVA jew LE għall-iżvilupp?

The Towers Sliema

X’irridu?

Bini fil-għoli, iva jew le?

Bini fl-ODZ, ċertament li le.

Żvilupp mill-ġdid ta’ żoni dilapidati: hemm resistenza qawwja għar-riġenerazzjoni urbana.

Bini fuq il-baħar (land reclamation), ċertament li le.

X’irridu eżattament?

Ħaga li jeħtieġ li tinftiehem sewwa hi li l–art f’Malta hi limitata u allura kull binja żejda tagħmel il-ħsara bla bżonn. Ikun tajjeb kienu naqblu li ż-żoni żviluppati, jew li jistgħu jiġu żviluppati, huma diġa kbar wisq u li jeħtieġ li jibdew jonqsu mhux jiżdiedu.

L-unika ħaġa ċerta hi li hawn ftit iktar minn 70,000 post residenzjali vojt, inkluż dawk użati għall-villeġġatura, li b’mod ġenerali jagħmlu disa’ xhur tas-sena vojta. Din waħedha hi raġuni biżżejjed għal moratorium dwar proġetti kbar residenzjali. Tista’ min-naħa l-oħra tkun ukoll inċentiv għal proġetti ta’ riġenerazzjoni urbana li permezz tagħhom jinħolqu spazji miftuħa sostanzjali f’żoni residenzjali. Spazji li huma tant meħtieġa biex iż-żoni urbani tagħna li huma mitluqin jingħataw il-ħajja.

Il-bini għoli jista’ jkun aċċettabbli (jew le) skond il-kuntest li fih ikun propost. Importanti li jingħataw piz lill-impatti akkumulati fuq il-komunitajiet tagħna. Għax li jsir żvilupp ta’ bini għoli mingħajr ma jagħti każ bis-serjetà tar-residenti, bħad-diversi torrijiet li qed jinbtu qieshom simboli falliċi mxerrda mal-pajjiż, huwa ta’ ħsara kbira.

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F’Tal-Mirakli : theddid u twissija

rape

(ritratt ta’ Newsbook.com.mt)

 

Dalgħodu Alternattiva Demokratika indirizzat konferenza stampa dwar il-bini li beda fl-area tal-Mirakli ġewwa Ħ’Attard fuq art li sal-2006 kienet barra miż-żona tal-iżvilupp.

Il-krew tal-PBS x’ħin kienu fi triqithom għal din il-konferenza kienu mhedda minn persuni li kienu qed jaħdmu fuq is-sit ta’ kostruzzjoni li dwaru saret il-konferenza stampa. Ara r-rapport tal-PBS hawn.

L-istqarrija maħruġa minn Alternattiva Demokratika wara l-konferenza stampa intqal kif ġej :

Il-proprjeta’ vojta: sinjal ta’ twissija

L-ammont ta’ proprjetajiet residenzjali vojta hu sinjal ta’ twissija. Bi 72,150 unit residenzjali vojt ma nistgħux nibqgħu nibnu iżjed art li sa ftit ilu kienet barra miż-żona ta’ żvilupp. Hekk qal Carmel Cacopardo, Deputat Chairperson u kelliemi ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika għall-Iżvilupp Sostenibbli u l-Intern, fl-inħawi Tal-Mirakli f’Ħ’Attard huwa u jindirizza konferenza stampa dwar il-pjani lokali u r-razzjonalizzazzjoni tal-iskemi ta’ żvilupp.

Il-konferenza stampa saret quddiem medda art li saret skedata għall-bini bħala riżultat tal-proċess ta’ razzjonalizzazzjoni li l-Gvern immexxi mill-PN wettaq fl-2006. Din l-art sa dakinnhar kienet parti minn “green belt” . Fuq din l-art fit-18 ta’ Lulju 2013 il-MEPA ħarġet permess biex jinbnew 24 garage u store fil-basement u 19 il-unit residenzjali fil-ħames sulari l-oħra (6 maisonettes, 9 flats u 4 penthouses).

Cacopardo żied jgħid li “dan kollu qed isir minkejja li preżentement f’Malta hawn 72,150 unit residenzjali vojt. Żieda sostanzjali fuq it-53,136 proprjeta’ vojta fl-2005 u l-35,723 fl-1995.”

“Alternattiva Demokratika,” kompla jgħid Cacopardo “ma taqbilx li dawn l-artijiet jinbnew. Pajjiżna ma jistax jibqa’ jissagrifika iktar art biex fuqha jinbnew iktar residenzi meta fiċ-ċensiment ta’ sentejn ilu kienu identifikati 72,150 post residenzjali vojt. M’għandniex bżonn nibnu fuq skala kbira għal ħafna snin. Fil-kuntest tar-reviżjoni tal-pjani lokali Alternattiva Demokratika jidhrilha li għad baqa’ cans żgħir biex nirrimedjaw. Dan jista’jsir billi l-iskema tar-razzjonalizzazzjoni tispiċċa u l-art li kienet hekk identifikata ma tibqax tajba ghall-bini. Huwa importanti ukoll li nifhmu li ma jagħmilx sens li jkollna iktar proġetti massiċċi ta’ żvilupp residenzjali. Il-kwantita’ ta’ propjeta’ residenzjali vakanti għandha tkun fattur ewlieni u l-bażi ta’pjani lokali ġodda.”

Ralph Cassar, Segretarju Generali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika u Kunsillier fil-Lokalita ta’ Ħ’Attard qal li “l-bini bla rażan li għaddej kif ukoll il-fatt illi hawn numru kbir ta’ proprjetajiet vojta qed joħloq pressjoni żejda fuq l-infrastruttura tal-lokalitajiet. Ħ’Attard mhux eċċezzjoni għal dan. Il-flejjes li ser ikunu meħtiega għall-izvilupp u ż-żamma f’kundizzjoni tajba tal-infrastruttura li taqdi dawn it-72,150 post residenzjali vojt setgħu faċilment intużaw biex titjieb l-infrastruttura eżistenti. Iż-żieda fin-numru ta’ propjetajiet residenzjali vojta,” ikkonkluda Cassar, “barra milli toħloq impatti ambjentali inaċċettabbli, hi ukoll ħela ta’ fondi pubbliċi.”

Ic-Chairperson ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika, il-Prof  Arnold Cassola, ikkonkluda  billi qal: “Bil-konċessjoni ta’ żieda ta’ żewg sulari lil-lukandi, bit-tiġdid awtomatiku sa Marzu 2014 tal-permessi ta’ żvilupp li l-MEPA ħarget minn Awwissu 2006 lil hawn, kif ukoll bil-ħrug ta’ diversi permessi għal żvilupp insostenibbli bħal dak ta’ Sqaq Żbibu f’San Gwann, il-MEPA għan-nom tal-gvern qed turi bil-fatti li ma jimpurtahiex mid-drittijiet tar-residenti. Jidher li issa huwa ż-żmien tal-ħlas lura ta’ dak dovut lill-industrija tal-bini talli għenet lill-partit illum fil-gvern qabel l-elezzjoni.”

Environmental Governance

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Having over 70,000 vacant residential properties is a very serious matter which both the Nationalist and the Labour parties have ignored in their electoral manifestos. Rather than being ignored this fact ought to serve as the launching pad for a different way of looking at land use planning issues.

The Housing Authority in the past months has opted not to build new social housing units but instead decided to tap the stock of vacant dwellings held by the private sector. It was a very positive decision pushed forward by Minister Chris Said on taking up his Ministerial responsibilities early in 2012.

In its electoral manifesto Alternattiva Demokratika has listed a number of specific proposals which would go a long way to address the land use planning chaos which will be inherited by the government that takes office after the 9 March general elections.

As a first step Malta requires a moratorium on large scale residential development. The building industry cannot keep constructing flats and maisonettes in hundreds, adding to the stock of vacant dwellings. The number of vacant residential properties is equivalent to 9 times the size of the residential parts of B’Kara.

While the Malta Environment and Planning Authority has issued development permits, the State has, through our taxes, been paying up for the development of the infrastructure (roads, public sewer, water and electricity distribution networks………) which is underutilised. These funds could have been put to better use than to service vacant dwellings.

The boundaries of the development zone have to be rolled back. Those lands which, in August 2006, were included as land suitable for development as part of the so-called rationalisation exercise and have not yet been committed to development should return forthwith outside the development zone where they belong.

The construction industry, aided by a myopic MEPA, has made a havoc of our towns and villages through encouraging overdevelopment. In 2006, when the final decisions on most of the Local Plans were being considered,  the Government had access to the 2005 census results which determined the existence of 53,136 vacant dwellings. This was a substantial increase over the 17,413 vacant dwellings identified 10 years earlier as part of the 1995 census.

Publication of the 2011 census results on property is long overdue, but it is expected that the numbers this time will exceed the 70,000 mark substantially.

Faced with these numbers, a responsible government would never have proposed extending the development zones. The 2005 census result provided the evidence for their curtailment not for their extension. In addition to extending the development zones, the PN-led government increased the permissible building heights practically all over Malta, the end result being a further substantial increase in the number of vacant dwellings.

In addition, the height relaxation policy put in place in 2006 had another serious impact. It placed a number of dwellings in the shade of new buildings surrounding them, these being built in line with the new permissible heights. As a result, the residents in these dwellings cannot make use of solar energy. Not only the use of photovoltaic panels is out of the question but also their solar water heaters are in most cases no longer of any use!

Faced with this situation, it is political madness to propose considering the construction industry as an important and fundamental component of the economy, as the PL is proposing. The construction industry must shrink rather than expand. It must be assisted to manage its essential and unavoidable restructuring.

The construction industry can be directed towards three specific areas of activity: rehabilitation of old properties, road construction/maintenance and marine construction works. Each of these three areas of activity requires training in construction skills. Rehabilitation works require old building trades on the verge of disappearance. Roadworks, though improving in quality, still require a more skilled labourforce. We also need to take stock of our marine infrastructure which requires substantial improvement as well as regular maintenance.

The Government can assist the construction industry to change through providing training facilties for its labour force, thereby reducing the social impacts of change. Funds from the European Social Fund are available to assist in this exercise.

Land use planning should be subject to environmental governance rules. It is for this reason that AD considers it essential that rather then splitting up MEPA, the Government should go for a defragmentation, consolidating all environmental functions in one authority through the amalgamation of MEPA with the Resources Authority.

In such a consolidated authority, environmental considerations should be overriding and, in particular, land use planning should be put in its proper place: under the continuous supervision of a properly staffed Environment Directorate.

This is the basic change required in environmental governance. Placing the land use planning and the construction industry in their proper place and ensuring that environmental governance is defragmented.

published in The Times, Saturday 23rd February 2013