A part of Mgarr Ix-Xini valley in Gozo, is being used as a dumping ground for construction waste deposited by trucks bearing the name of J.Portelli Projects and his associate Anthony Bugeja, known as Ix-Xrik, with the Planning Authority taking over six months to take action.
The illegal activity has been going on since at least August 2023, with tens of trucks dumping waste into the area every day, causing significant damage to the rural and previously untouched area.
After sending pictures to the Planning Authority and asking why it had not taken action to stop them, the Planning Authority told The Shift that it had just issued an enforcement action against the contraveners.
According to the Planning Authority, an inspection of the area by its officers was only carried out after The Shift’s questions.
“Further to your query, kindly note that last week, the Authority investigated the case and identified the contravener. The Authority is issuing an Enforcement Notice which requires the contravener for the illegally dumped material to be removed,” the Planning Authority said,
According to the stop and enforcement order now in place (EC0002/24), the Planning Authority listed the contravener as Paul Galea, accusing him of turning his fields into a dumping ground for inert waste.
However, The Shift is informed that while Galea is the title holder of the land, pictures of the illegal activity and sources familiar with the area said the trucks dumping waste belong to J.Portelli Projects, Bugeja and other Portelli associates.
The Shift is informed that the illegal activity is continuing despite the enforcement order.
PA takes six months to act
Pictures and videos published on social media by independent candidate Arnold Cassola last August showed the illegal activity taking place. Despite it being public knowledge, the Planning Authority did not act.
The trio, Joseph Portelli and his associates, Mark Agius, known as Ta’ Dirjanu and Daniel Refalo – a Comino beach concessionaire turned developer – already operate another illegal former quarry in San Lawrenz, which they have been using for dumping construction waste for years without a permit.
It is unknown why they have now decided to start dumping waste at Mgarr ix-Xini as well.
Despite a stop and enforcement notice issued on their Tal-Misrah quarry in San Lawrenz in 2019, the illegal activity continues. The Randu brothers and Joseph Zammit officially own the quarry, however, its ‘management’ was passed on to Portelli and his associates.
No action has been taken by the Planning Authority or other authorities to shut down the San Lawrenz site.
Next to Tal-Misrah, Portelli and associates also installed an illegal concrete batching plant in another disused quarry known as Ta’ Qasam San Pawl. The quarry is owned by the Lands Authority.
Again, a stop and enforcement order issued by the Planning Authority was ignored, and the illegal plant continues to operate.
The Gozo Ministry regularly buys its concrete from Portelli’s illegal plant for public works.