It took the Planning Commission less than two minutes to approve the sanctioning of long stretches of illegal rubble walls and the construction of an agricultural store on unspoilt arable land in the outskirts of Nadur.
The Shift reported yesterday that Chloe Portelli, daughter of Gozitan construction magnate Joseph Portelli, would get her way during the hearing today despite objections by the Environment and Resources Authority and all major NGOs.
This news portal has documented the illegalities on the site, which include rubble walls built along 18 tumoli of land. The government allocated €200,000 EU funds for the project despite the illegalities. The permit sanctioning the illegalities, against a fine of a mere €2,000 granted today, allows the Portellis to cash in on the project.
Chloe Portelli, 24, who is employed as the General Manager of her father’s chain of hotels in Gozo, also got the permit for an ‘agricultural store’ she wants to build on the same land enjoying unobstructed sea and country views. She recently registered herself as a ‘farmer’ – a common move to acquire development permits in ODZ.
In fact, the Environment and Resources Authority also expressed concern that her ‘agricultural store’ might be the beginning of something larger – possibly a new residence – built in a piecemeal fashion, as already happened in many ODZ areas using ‘farming’ as an excuse.
Known as Ġebel l-Aħmar, situated just underneath the iconic Kenuna Tower in Nadur, the large stretch of farmland was originally bought by Joseph Portelli some years ago and then transferred to his children, including Chloe.
Before any planning application was filed, residents confirmed that truckloads of stones and building material were transferred onto the farmland, and an army of migrants built long stretches of ‘rubble walls’ that changed the landscape of the area.
The Planning Commission’s green light has now settled the issue, despite public anger at a dubious process.