Din l-Art Helwa Press Release 13 May 2010

Din l-Art Helwa does not agree with the construction of a large new tourist complex at Hondoq ir-Rummien bay in Gozo.

Din l-Art Helwa is against the construction of new yachting facilities along stretches of undeveloped coastline, as this inevitably leads to the urbanization of the natural coast through the construction of facilities to service the marinas. Apart from the marina, the proposed development at Hondoq features a 5-star hotel and almost 300 other units including villas, as well as shops and restaurants and 1,200 underground parking spaces.

Last year the government identified sites in Malta and Gozo which will accommodate around 1,000 new permanent and temporary yachting berths, while stating that the development of new yacht marinas should not be accompanied by large real estate projects, and that “any new yacht marinas should function in a commercially viable way without the dependency for revenue from associated property”. The Hondoq development, on the other hand, proposes to develop an entire ‘destination village’ to support the marina.

Din l-Art Helwa believes that before allowing a large new complex to be built outside the development zone, the authorities should encourage the continued use or redevelopment of existing tourism sites. Hotels in Malta and Gozo have recently been closed to create residences, such as Mistra Village and the Mgarr hotel.

The government has clearly stated that it will not tolerate new development in the countryside, and that Gozo should be turned into an ‘eco-island’ with emphasis on its rural attractions and environmentally-friendly initiatives.

For these reasons, Din l-Art Helwa is of the opinion that the construction of a new yacht marina with a large supporting tourist development at Hondoq ir-Rummien bay in Gozo is not acceptable. The area lies outside the development zone and is designated as both a Rural Conservation Area and an Area of High Landscape Value, with pristine water quality.