Gzira residents oppose the Midi masterplan for Manoel Island

Gzira residents have come together to oppose the Midi masterplan for Manoel Island and Gzira promenade, saying the plan requires the transformation of a large part of the popular seaside promenade into an access road or bridge to Manoel Island.

Pressure group ‘Inhobbu l-Gzira’ said it aims to propose modifications to the Midi masterplan. “A large part of Gzira promenade is proposed for elimination,” the residents said.

They stressed that views across Marsamxett Harbour would be lost because of two “enormous” apartment blocks to be built on reclaimed land right opposite Triq ix-Xatt.

“Not only is the sea channel being halved, these blocks will rise to 29.75m above sea level blocking all views of the Valletta skyline, the bastions, views of Pieta and even Ta’ Xbiex. The views are a priceless public good. They belong to every one of us,” they said in a statement.

Read: Manoel Island – another monster in the making?

“It must be borne in mind that Gzira is a town of just one square kilometre with 11,000 residents, three schools and 150 building sites. The town does not have any squares or open spaces for people to enjoy except the seafront,” the residents said.

Views and landscapes are protected by European Convention, but they belong to every member of the public – facts that are “being ignored with the blessing of the Environment Resources Authority in a biased and unrepresentative report”.

Questions on whether the Manoel Island ‘deal’ was a bitter pill sugar-coated with the guardianship’s ‘watchdog role’ have already been raised after the Planning Directorate, in its praise of amendments to the Manoel Island master plan, confirmed that the unused floorspace was eligible for future development, undermining assurances against mega development on the Island.

The present master plan, coupled with an unstable policy in high rise development, offers no security that Manoel Island won’t become another monster.

Concerned citizens and business owners are encouraged to contact the group on [email protected]

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