The Planning Authority has postponed a decision on an application for the construction of a garage on ODZ land in Nadur, Gozo, by Ronnie Camilleri, the driver of Gozo and Planning Minister Clint Camilleri, asking for more information on the controversial proposal.
The application has faced strong objections from residents, NGOs, and the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), who described the application as a “non-starter” and questioned the motives of the proposed ‘garage’.
“Reference is made to the unbuilt area, which will be tiled/covered, a small section is to be turned into a garden, and a reservoir is to be built, with a boundary wall proposed along the perimeter of the designated site. It is being noted that the rather irregular combination of these features for such a site puts to question the motives behind the development of this garage,” the ERA noted.
But despite this and the application breaching a number of rules, the Planning Authority’s Planning Commission, including Chair Martin Camilleri and members Frank Ivan Caruana Catania and Perit Joel Fenech, did not agree with a “refuse recommendation” and instead decided to postpone the decision by two months while asking for clarifications.
The decision on the application was taken just two days after the Gozo minister was handed the planning portfolio.
Describing the commission’s decision as “very odd”, Planning Authority sources told The Shift that Camilleri’s application could not proceed as it infringes all policies and laws related to ODZ developments.
The applicant, Ronnie Camilleri, who also happens to be Minister Clint Camilleri’s cousin and driver, applied through another relative of the minister, Perit Alex Bigeni, to develop a 200-square metre ‘garage’ on a ridge overlooking spectacular views of Ramla Bay.
Apart from a large garage on virgin agricultural land, with many windows and doors, Camilleri also asked to uproot a number of trees and put down paving, which leads to a large ‘reservoir’ which bears a striking similarity to a swimming pool.
Since the Gozo minister took the Planning Authority’s helm, he put several canvassers into key positions. In addition, sources from within the authority said a number of manoeuvres are being orchestrated on various pending and controversial applications, particularly related to Gozo.
These include a pending large project by Francesco Grima, known as Il-Gigu, related to the years-long dormant project at Fort Chambray. Il-Gigu is known as a very close associate of Minister Clint Camilleri.