A Six Senses Comino hotel will ‘put the area out of reach to all but the wealthy’

A group of seven NGOs this morning staged a counter exhibition outside the Mediterranean Conference Centre in response to another exhibition being held on the inside by the Hili Group on its controversial plans for the redevelopment of the Comino hotel.

Apart from the proposed project’s environmental impact, the NGOs also raised concerns over the area’s future accessibility by locals.

“The proposed hotel and villa complex is to be managed, it has been discovered, by the luxury hotel group Six Senses, which will likely put the hotel well out of the reach of all but the very wealthiest locals and tourists,” they said this morning.

Seven organisations – Moviment Graffitti, Din l-Art Ħelwa, BirdLife Malta, Nature Trust Malta-FEE, Friends of the Earth, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, and the Ramblers’ Association – joined forces to stage the joint counter-exhibition in response to Hili Group’s presentation of its plans to redevelop the old Comino Hotel site along with a complex of villas at Santa Marija Bay.

The counter-exhibition highlighted what they said were discrepancies between the “sustainable vision” presented by the developers and the reality of the impact such a development would have on Comino, particularly in the peaceful sanctuary of Santa Marija Bay.

Environmental scientist Dr John Paul Cauchi cited several ways the proposed development would impact the peaceful Comino landscape, using Hili Group’s own figures and architectural plans to demonstrate the extent of the problem.

Environmental scientist Dr John Paul Cauchi

Environmental scientist John Paul Cauchi making a point at this morning’s exhibition.

The organisations have accused the Hili Group of “juggling words and numbers to make their project appear less impactful than it really is, especially in Santa Marija Bay”.

They say that in Santa Marija Bay alone, the construction of 19 villas with pools and amenity buildings would see an increase of 49% in building volume, along with a new pier servicing the increase in visiting boats in the bay.

Part of the complex is to be built on untouched natural land, resulting in a 13% increase in its footprint. The intensified use of this area, compared to the previous hotel bungalows and especially the current tranquil state, would see Santa Marija Bay transformed into an elite village with year-round occupancy.

A graphic from this morning’s counter exhibition showing the proposed development’s increased footprint.

On the project’s sustainability, Cauchi said, “The only way this proposed project can be sustainable is by not building it.”

The organisations noted how they have been stressing that developers such as the Hili Group “are not God’s gift to the nation.

“These entities exploit our common heritage for their personal profits and elbow the public out in the process.”

The counter-exhibition also contained information about the rich biodiversity they say stands to be threatened by the proposed development.

A render comparing Santa Marija Bay as it is now (top) with what the project is proposing (shaded in red).

The proposed development is still being considered by the Planning Authority, “and has been the subject of massive public anger already” the NGOs noted, adding, “The Hili Group’s attempts to greenwash the project are unlikely to improve public opinion.”


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1 month ago

If this goes ahead, someone somewhere has had a massive kickback to put this through, let’s see which government minister has a villa …

Paul Sullican
Paul Sullican
1 month ago

Don’t these people ever get enough?Enjoy what you already have and let others enjoy what is left.

Josephine Grima
Josephine Grima
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Sullican

Please stop them!!! Enough is enough. So so sad and horrible! It is just going to be for the wealthy. We lost Malta, were losing Gozo and now Comino. I cry each time I think of my childhood Gozo and Comino. There is a limit on everything, even development. These monsters must be stopped!!!

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