Candidate Responses – Ryan Portelli

Image may contain: 1 person, glasses, suit and close-up

Development

  1. What is your stance on the Jerma proposal as it currently stands? Should the LC be asked to vote on this in the future, how would you vote if the residential apartments remain part of the proposal?

    It is the local council’s (hereinafter referred to as the “LC”) duty to duly inform the Community of Marsascala (hereinafter referred to as the “Community”) about the advantages and disadvantages of the development, especially considering that here we are speaking about a very large-scale project. In light of the aforesaid therefore, my primary suggestion to the LC would be that of creating a mechanism in order to facilitate communication with residents (for example, through a suggestion box and/or via social media) to ascertain that the resident’s views and wishes are always kept at the heart of all discussions and more importantly, at the core of each and every decision made in this regard. This would serve as the most relevant guideline for both the private developers and the LC (in representation of the community), to achieve the best possible outcome i.e. that of designing the project in such a way that the natural flora in general and the residents’ interests are safeguarded.

    On a personal level, I am in favour of having a commercial and touristic resort. I believe that Marsascala longs for such a type of activity. A negative consequence brought about by the non-operative Jerma Palace Hotel is that for the past years we have been witnessing a lack of dynamic and losing out on tourist potential of our locality. Thus, it is time that as representatives of the Community, the LC should collectively and actively strive to address this shortcoming in our locality.

    On the other hand, I am strongly against the development of residential apartments because in my opinion, the main issue for residents living in the Siberja area (hereinafter referred to as the “Area”) is being bypassed completely. During an Annual General Meeting when the public had the chance to meet the developers and raise its concerns, I had put forward the suggestion that the complex should provide adequate parking spaces most of which will be reserved for the residents of the Area so as to compensate for the lost parking spaces in the streets due to an increased number families inhabiting in the Area. We need to strike a balance between private commercial interests, and the interests of the local community.

    Should the majority of the local council members are granted another vote, and the majority vote in favour of this project as it is being proposed, I would strongly insist that the private developers and the LC enter into contractual agreement, wherein it would be stipulated that basic rights such as access to the sea and all public spaces are granted to the Community. Moreover, the private developer shall be contractually-bound to duly complete the public spaces around St. Thomas Tower by a stipulated date and in case of default, a penalty will be imposed on the said private developer.

  2. What are your thoughts on the takeup of public land to build the Żonqor branch of the AUM? If you had to vote again in the future, would you be in favour of, or against the irreversible destruction of that area of Żonqor?

    I categorically object to such a project where a large area of land with such a huge environmental potential would be destructed.

  3. What are your thoughts about excessive development in general in Marsaskala? Our infrastructure is struggling to cope – how will you ensure that Marsaskala remains a residential village for families, as opposed to becoming another Sliema?

    Since there is little control over private developments, the LC must at least monitor the developments’ heights and make sure that the local plans are adhered to. The LC must ensure that if the government brings to a discussion the possibility of raising the height limitations, it will oppose to such a proposal. The LC is obliged to tackle such

  4. What is your stance on the construction of an ODZ petrol station just opposite the Family Park?

    I am against the construction of a petrol station primarily because same is in an ODZ area. Moreover, I believe that such a project does not correspond to and address the locality’s present needs (especially when considering that there are five petrol stations within five minutes of Marsascala). While acknowledging the importance of petrol stations during our daily and economic life, we need to bear in mind that same may be regarded as a threat to the surrounding media i.e. the surrounding land (including the soil and any living organisms inhabiting therein) as well as users (i.e. particularly those individuals living close to the area and families visiting the Family Park). Research on this subject-matter clearly demonstrates that petrol stations are a source of soil, air and noise pollution. In turn, these may lead to very serious health and environmental issues. Due to the gravity of the risks imposed by virtue of this project, I believe that go-ahead cannot be granted in this respect.

    When dealing with particularly complex proposals as this, I believe that the LC should also carry out its own research and also, seek guidance from independent and impartial professionals and/or authorities on the subject prior to taking a position. Such decision-making should be fact-based and not politically oriented.

  5. What is your vision for the Sant’Antnin recycling plant once it is phased out? What would you wish to have instead of it?

    The present LC and voluntary organisations state that there is a lack of space for operating their duties. I believe that this could be one of the alternative solutions that I have mentioned in question four above.

    Given that here we are speaking about a very large area of available land, we will also have the opportunity to explore the possibility of embarking on an afforestation project.

    Something else that I envisage to have in the area under discussion is a cultural and social hub for local voluntary organisations. I believe this is lacking in our community and would like to give such organisations the space wherein civillians may cultivate their talents and work for the local community at large.

    The Sant’ Antnin area is a potential for the creation of a green sustainable communal-oriented hub. This means that it could also consist of the provision of a park-and ride facility, in which visitors (nonMarsascala residents) will be able to park their car and make us of a shuttle-service which will take them to the centre of Marsaskala.

    This would give us the opportunity to give back the parking spaces to the residents, by adopting a system in which only residents are allowed to park in the centre of Marsaskala; by using a system just like Valletta’s parking strategy. This strategy would keep cars from entering the village core, provide a good service to the visitors, and provide adequate parking facilities to the residents.

  6. Noise disturbance is an increasingly problematic issue. Would you consider fining contractors who disobey basic rules like working outside permitted hours?

    Firstly, I will do whatever is needed to limit noise disturbance as provided under the Maltese Code of Police Laws and any other relevant regulation. Moreover, in the event that any person who ever s/he may be, exceeds the rights granted to him/her by virtue of the law in this regard, then I would take the necessary actions to ensure public peace.

  7. How will your service as a councillor improve the health of residents?

    In addition to what I stated in previous questions, I believe that in order to promote a healthier lifestyle for citizens, we need to focus more on youths and sports. We need to establish fresher ideas and incentives to attract more children as well as youths to increase physical activity, sportsmanship and activism in general.

    Should I be granted the opportunity to serve in the LC, I would definitely work with national sport organisations and collaborate with same in order to organise sport activities for the community at large.

    Improving the quality of the air surrounding us is also vital. We need to look into the idea of carrying out infrastructural changes to the landscaping so as to plant more trees and bushes. Another issue which was not given its merited attention is the fact that the bicycle lane along parts of the promenade was removed to increase parking. While I do understand the rationale underlying such a decision, I believe that the parking issues should be addressed by adopting more permanent measures. One of my proposals would be that of re-introducing the cycle lane back to the promenade from Jerma to Zonqor and change the time of parking so that during the weekend (particularly in the evening), there will still be parking spaces available.

    I would also look into the possibility in collaborating with Inspire to offer residents the incentive (and also attract new guests), to use their facilities with a reduced price.

    We have a good number of elderly in our community. I would work with related organisations in promoting healthy lifestyles by organizing informative sessions and discussions on various topics of interest to this age group.

  8. Parking is increasingly a problem, yet measures to promote active means of transport such as cycling have thus far been actively discouraged. What are your thoughts about this?

    Further to the ideas provided in my answers above, as many touristic localities in Malta, I would also like to introduce the Rent-a-Bike facilities. There is no shame in adapting positive strategies which have already been tried and tested in other localities and establish same in our locality.

    Furthermore, we also need to encourage the use of public transport by educating the public about the positive outcomes of such usage and organising discussion-meetings (especially for students and the elderly citizens) in order to clarify any possible misconceptions and hear out concerns that civilians might have.

    Environment and litter

  9. Do you think there is a problem with rubbish and dog litter in Marsaskala? What do you plan to do about it?

    We definitely need more dog litter bins around our locality, not just the promenade. We also need to promote the family park facilities close by since it is more adequate for dogs. Having said that I understand that if not continuously taken care of, such an area may be a source of infection and disease for our pets. Consequently, it is the LC’s duty to ascertain that pet areas are cleaned and treated properly on a regular basis.

    With reference to domestic waste, in my opinion the LC had every chance promote the new collection days and times by distributing literature in households and via social media. I believe that such campaigning should remain constant. Enforcement should commence with immediate effect and the LC must cooperate with the authorities to fine whoever breaks the law. In this regard, the LC members must work together as one and avoid exonerating persons from the aforementioned fines (as a political favour).

    The local council can also work with the authorities such as the Cleansing Authority, to clear major rubbish from our locality. Some voluntary organisations organize cleanups around the year. The local council needs to endorse these organisations and promote their work, in order to engage more people in working for the benefit of this community.

  10. Will you be willing to speak to restaurant owners and require a bin outside their premises?

    The collection of rubbish from restaurants must essentially be more efficient. I would suggest increasing the frequency of rubbish collection, especially during the weekends. The promenade can also have designated areas in which the restaurants have their rubbish gathered together in such a way that the aesthetic impact of same on the surroundings will be kept at a minimum.

  11. What effective enforcement strategies would you put in place for those who do not follow rules?

    I will work thoroughly with the enforcement authority to firstly educate when needed and fine if and whenever deemed necessary. I will give priority to enforce environmental laws and construction laws.

    Citizen Involvement

  12. Currently, groups of residents are only allowed to speak at local council meetings once a year. Will you consider the possibility of engaging more publicly with groups of citizens during local council meetings once in office? How would you do this?

    In the past, LC members had sub-committees to consult on different topics. It is of utmost importance to not only restart these sub-committees but give them the authority to inject new ideas and work in achieving better communication and work. As an example, the LC can get the youths LC involved in applying for funds in relation to youth projects and exchanges.

    Another sub-committee could take charge of the organization of cultural and social events.

    Another strategy could be that of organising independent focus groups to be requested to provide their feedback regarding ongoing and long-term projects. This not only gives residents more chance to speak but also, to actively participate and contribute towards the embetterment of the community. We cannot have only politicians running the locality. We have a lot of valuable people in our community whose input would greatly help us to make the most of our locality’s potential.

  13. Will you make an effort to regularly notify citizens of important council matters via the (thus far) rarely updated website, official FaceBook page, and any other means?

    It is of utmost importance to relaunch the website and keep it as informative as possible. This is one of the ways in which voluntary people can engage in (as mentioned in question 13), with the help of technical support. We need to create an interactive and user-friendly website to attract users from each and every age-group.

    We need a system in which forms are easily downloadable and the public can monitor what is being done in the local council. Live streaming of the LC meetings was a good start, but it is not enough. While I do acknowledge the great impact of Facebook and similar social media, I believe that these do not give the website its deserved prominence.

    When the website is launched, the Facebook page has to promote the website. Having the mayor using his personal Facebook account to publicize what is being done in the local council is not the right strategy in notifying the community. We need to standardize this approach by having the local council website and official Facebook page to circulate information, and the councilors would have the duty to share and promote the said pages.

    This would reduce partisan opportunities for politicians and citizens would be given the adequate knowledge regarding what is going on in Marsascala.

    The LC magazine cannot be published whenever the LC members decide to. The issuance of same must be streamlined (for instance, on a quarterly basis) and distributed in every household. This would also give the opportunity to both the LC as well as communal voluntary organisations to promote their activities, work and upcoming projects to the community at large.

    Generic

  14. Give me one good reason why you deserve the vote and the trust of the residents of Marsaskala

    As I will be outlining in question 18, for the past three years I have been working closely with the local community through various voluntary organisations. From my experience, I have learnt that people deserve to be heard. This is my primary goal: that of being a true and genuine representative of the residents. People’s concerns, opinions and ideas are key to unlocking the full potential of our locality.

  15. If you were granted three personal wishes for Marsaskala – no limits, everything is possible. What would those wishes be? What is your vision for Marsaskala?

     A green locality, where infrastructure is also given environmental priority;
     A touristic get-away having a balance between commercial and residential sustainable
    development;
     An active community having voluntary groups working together in synergy.

  16. What result do you want to achieve, if elected for the coming five years for Marsaskala residents?

    After gathering feedback from residents during past door-to–door meetups, I will publish 20 proposals in the coming days, and if elected, I will work to achieve what I will promise. These results, together with ongoing support to the residents’ needs, is the result I want to achieve.

  17. What can we hold you accountable for?

    I do not hold a political track record since I will be contesting the election for the first time.

    However, in the past years I have been involved in various voluntary organisations. I was a member of the cultural subcommittee in the LC through which we used to organize frequent events such as Arti filBeraħ, Iljieli Skalin and the Chinese Festival.

    I have also been a member of the Douzelage (a town-twinning organization between twenty-eight localities i.e. one from each European Member State), as a Vice-President of the youth committee, where I actively applied for Erasmus+ projects and hosted youths from the European Union.

    For the past three years, I have served as the secretary of Saint Anne’s Band Club, during which years we have increased popularity amongst members, improved teaching practices and applied for various cultural funds.

Candidates and their responses

Following up on our previous post with the questions asked to prospective new councillors, we approached the candidates via e-mail on 18th April. This page will list the candidates we approached. Those whose name is a link will point to a post showing the answers given by that candidate. The order of the candidates’ names is indicative of when each candidate replied with his / her answers:

Respondents

Image may contain: 1 person, glasses, suit and close-up

Ryan Portelli
Daniel Desira
Janice Falzon
Patrick Camilleri
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, suit and close-up
John Baptist Camilleri
Errol Cutajar

Not replied

Mario Calleja

Carmel (Charlot) Mifsud

Sandro Gatt

John Schembri

Mary Rose Mifsud

Questions for Marsaskala Local Council Candidates – Elections 2019

Development

  1. What is your stance on the Jerma proposal as it currently stands? Should the LC be asked to vote on this in the future, how would you vote if the residential apartments remain part of the proposal?
  2. What are your thoughts on the takeup of public land to build the Żonqor branch of the AUM? If you had to vote again in the future, would you be in favour of, or against the irreversible destruction of that area of Żonqor?
  3. What are your thoughts about excessive development in general in Marsaskala? Our infrastructure is struggling to cope – how will you ensure that Marsaskala remains a residential village for families, as opposed to becoming another Sliema?
  4. What is your opinion on the preservation and creation of public open spaces in Marsaskala? What do you think about the building of new LC premises in Ġnien Sant’ Anna in the face of residents’ opposition?
  5. What is your stance on the construction of an ODZ petrol station just opposite the Family Park?
  6. What is your vision for the Sant’Antnin recycling plant once it it phased out? What would you wish to have instead of it?
  7. Noise disturbance is an increasingly problematic issue. Would you consider fining contractors who disobey basic rules like working outside permitted hours?
  8. How will your service as a councillor improve the health of residents?
  9. Parking is increasingly a problem, yet measures to promote active means of transport such as cycling have thus far been actively discouraged (e.g. removal of the cycle lane along Triq is-Salini). Will you actively encourage cycling and walking in Marsaskala? How?

Environment and litter

  1. Do you think there is a problem with rubbish and dog litter in Marsaskala? What do you plan to do about it?
  2. Will you be willing to speak to restaurant owners and require a bin outside their premises?
  3. What effective enforcement strategies would you put in place for those who do not follow rules?

Citizen Involvement

  1. Currently, groups of residents are only allowed to speak at local council meetings once a year. Will you consider the possibility of engaging more publicly with groups of citizens during local council meetings once in office? How would you do this?
  2. Will you make an effort to regularly notify citizens of important council matters via the (thus far) rarely updated website, offical FaceBook page, and any other means?

Generic

  1. Give me one good reason why you deserve the vote and the trust of the residents of Marsaskala
  2. If you were granted three personal wishes for Marsaskala – no limits, everything is possible. What would those wishes be? What is your vision for Marsaskala?
  3. What result do you want to achieve, if elected for the coming five years for Marsaskala residents?
  4. What can we hold you accountable for?

Concert and exhibition organized by St. Anne’s Band Club

St. Anne’s Band Club will be organizing 2 events this April 2019 to mark Easter festivities.

The first one is a concert, Sanguis Amoris, to be held on 7 April, 19:00, with details as per below:


A second event is In hoc Signo Vinces, an exhibition of various statues, paintings and works of art related to the sufferings, death and resurrection of Christ, starting 11 April, 19:00. The exhibition is going to be in the hall beneath the parish church. More details in the official poster below:

Get to know your candidates: Marsaskala Local Council Elections 2019

A little bit of perspective…
Did you know that voter turnout for local council (LC) elections in Marsaskala has ranged between a low of 56% in 1997 and a high of 84.9% in 2003? The last LC elections, held in 2013, saw almost 80% of MSK’s 9,371 registered residents turn out to vote. On Saturday the 25th May 2019, thousands of Skalin will once again make their way to the local Primary School to exercise their right to vote for their favourite LC candidates.

Local elections are often dismissed as being “irrelevant” elections with little at stake. This is not helped by the perception that local councils have relatively little power, or when it becomes apparent that many LCs are effectively dominated by the same political party, year after year. Turnout can often be low, although holding LC elections alongside European elections probably guarantees that this won’t happen in 2019.

Marsaskala Voter turnout, 1994 – 2013

Why Bother Voting?
In our increasingly materialistic and individualistic world, duty and service are unpopular words. But little in public life would get done without them. People should be proud of where they live and take an interest in their community. Elections provide voters with a choice of competing candidates, platforms, and parties. They provide a mechanism for holding representatives to account for their performance in office and allow residents a degree of control over their elected representatives. If you don’t like what they are doing, don’t just stay at home, get out there and vote for a candidate who may do a better job.
In Malta, people may know their councillor personally, and despite all its harms, social media has proven to be a boon when it comes to putting residents in direct contact with their elected representatives. Political parties care about who controls local councils: this is why they spend time and money standing for election to them. Holding them accountable for their performance is vital, as the control and leadership of a council can lead to very different public policies being pursued. Think about what is happening elsewhere on our islands – LCs in towns and villages across Malta and Gozo – from Żejtun to Pembroke to Gżira have been instrumental in helping to defend towns and villages from rampant overdevelopment and destruction of the natural environment; in mitigating negative effects of poor planning and policy; in the provision of services, the organization of cultural events, the embellishment of village cores etc. In Marsaskala, the track record is rather mixed. Without going into too much detail about who voted for what, the council has at various times asked for a holistic plan to curb overdevelopment in our village, fought to prevent restaurants from taking up valuable parking spaces, opposed an ODZ petrol station extension, objected to ODZ greenhouses in Munxar, came out against a car park proposed in St. Anne’s Garden and insisted that the abandoned Jerma Hotel be demolished…. yet a majority of councillors voted in favour of building new offices within a public open space in St. Anne’s Garden (a move opposed by many residents as it will remove precious open space in the centre of the village), voted against a motion asking the government to give back Żonqor land to the public (instead voting in favour of the infamous AUM project), removed a cycle lane in Triq is-Salini… there’s quite a lot going on in Marsaskala!

It’s just one vote…what difference will I make?
Councils respond to policy demands expressed during elections. Public pressure matters, and voting in elections is a key part of that. Local elections also provide voters with a chance to pursue change. Fed up with how one party runs the council? Then vote for something different. Unfortunately, voting in Malta has always been along party lines, but we’re hopeful that there will be an independent candidate or two running for the Marsaskala LC election. Failing that, we look foward to seeing a healthy mix of fresh and experienced, young and old, female and male councillors from all parties. More detailed information on the results of past elections can be found here.

Where does Marsaskala Community & Friends come in?
Following our last blog post on how to register to vote, we believe that all Skalin should be able to make an informed decision about their preferred candidates. With this in mind, over the coming weeks each candidate, from all parties, will be sent the same list of questions related to their vision for Marsaskala. The final list of candidates will be available on the 15th April, but in the meantime we will be sending this list of 18 questions to those candidates who have already come forward. Some questions are generic. Others are hot topics. All are important, because they help residents hold their representatives accountable, now and in the future. They are designed to lead to candid, straightforward answers as much as possible, rather than politikspeak. Candidates will be asked the following:

Development

  1. What is your stance on the Jerma proposal as it currently stands? Should the LC be asked to vote on this in the future, how would you vote if the residential apartments remain part of the proposal?
  2. What are your thoughts on the takeup of public land to build the Żonqor branch of the AUM? If you had to vote again in the future, would you be in favour of, or against the irreversible destruction of that area of Żonqor?
  3. What are your thoughts about excessive development in general in Marsaskala? Our infrastructure is struggling to cope – how will you ensure that Marsaskala remains a residential village for families, as opposed to becoming another Sliema?
  4. What is your opinion on the preservation and creation of public open spaces in Marsaskala? What do you think about the building of new LC premises in Ġnien Sant’ Anna in the face of residents’ opposition?
  5. What is your stance on the construction of an ODZ petrol station just opposite the Family Park?
  6. What is your vision for the Sant’Antnin recycling plant once it it phased out? What would you wish to have instead of it?
  7. Noise disturbance is an increasingly problematic issue. Would you consider fining contractors who disobey basic rules like working outside permitted hours?
  8. How will your service as a councillor improve the health of residents?
  9. Parking is increasingly a problem, yet measures to promote active means of transport such as cycling have thus far been actively discouraged (e.g. removal of the cycle lane along Triq is-Salini). Will you actively encourage cycling and walking in Marsaskala? How?

Environment and litter

  1. Do you think there is a problem with rubbish and dog litter in Marsaskala? What do you plan to do about it?
  2. Will you be willing to speak to restaurant owners and require a bin outside their premises?
  3. What effective enforcement strategies would you put in place for those who do not follow rules?

Citizen Involvement

  1. Currently, groups of residents are only allowed to speak at local council meetings once a year. Will you consider the possibility of engaging more publicly with groups of citizens during local council meetings once in office? How would you do this?
  2. Will you make an effort to regularly notify citizens of important council matters via the (thus far) rarely updated website, offical FaceBook page, and any other means?

Generic

  1. Give me one good reason why you deserve the vote and the trust of the residents of Marsaskala
  2. If you were granted three personal wishes for Marsaskala – no limits, everything is possible. What would those wishes be? What is your vision for Marsaskala?
  3. What result do you want to achieve, if elected for the coming five years for Marsaskala residents?
  4. What can we hold you accountable for?

One last thing…
Getting out to vote shows an appreciation of what representatives do – which is mostly unpaid and on our behalf. It confers legitimacy on the local council and shows how much residents care about what goes on in their local area. Voting can be habit forming. It can also make a difference. Be that difference.

Marsaskala Local Council Elections 2019: your right to vote.

A recent Times of Malta article stated that over 18,000 EU nationals are registered to vote during the European Parliament (EP) elections in Malta. What does that have to do with Marsaskala, you might ask? Well,  Local Council (LC) elections are due to be held on the 25th May 2019, at the same time as the EP elections . Anybody residing in our locality (be they Maltese or non-Maltese) who has an ID or eResidency card with a Marsaskala address is eligible to exercise their democratic right to vote for one or more of the candidates and have a say in determining the future of our beautiful village.

A good proportion of Marsaskala’s growing population was not born in Malta, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also vote in the LC elections. Indeed, we were always taught that it is one’s duty – as well as one’s right – to vote.  Just follow these three easy steps:

1. Visit the Electoral Registry website and enter your personal identifier details (see screenshot). These should match those on your ID/eResidence card. Click ‘Submit’

Insert your personal information in the fields as requested

2. If you are eligible, you should see a statement like this:
[Name], holder of ID Card Number [1234567M], is registered to vote in the following electoral register/s: LOCAL COUNCILS ELECTORAL REGISTER  published in OCTOBER 2018. You may also be eligible to vote in other elections, as in the example below.

Ensure that you are eligible to vote in the LC elections

3. If you see the above statement and your name is on the register, then all you need to do is wait. Police Officers will attempt to deliver your voting documents to your registered address starting from Sunday 14th April 2019. If no one is at home when the Police Officer calls, you will be able to collect your voting document/s by calling personally at the Police Station (or Local Council in certain localities) of the town or village where you are registered, on presentation of a valid Identity Document (Identity Card or Residence Card) issued by Identity Malta, between Thursday 9th May and Sunday 19th May 2019 (last day till noon). You may also personally collect your voting document/s from the Electoral Commission at the Counting Complex (ex-Trade Fair grounds) in Naxxar between Monday 20th and Thursday 23rd May 2019 (last day till midnight), if you are registered in Malta.

If you do not see the above statement, then have a look at the Electoral Commissions FAQ section. You may also wish to see this list of FAQs for the MEP elections. When one applies for either the e-Identity Card or the eResidence Card, one is automatically applying to be registered as a voter when one completes the relevant application forms.

Happy voting!

Jerma Public Consultation: will you have your say?

** Deadline 15th March **

Will you take a minute to object to the Jerma proposal in its current form? ALL of us are clearly in favour of demolition of the current dangerous structure – there is no question about that. The point of this objection is to influence what is done with the space left AFTER the demolition.

The monstrous 15-storey development being planned will likely bring some low-paid jobs to the area, which is positive, but it will also harm many who reside in Marsaskala. For those of you who may not be aware, this is proposal PA/04710/18:

Proposed demolition of existing hotel and excavation of site. Proposed construction of two levels of below ground car parking facilities, a chapel, a beach lido with pool consisting of catering facilities (Class 4D) , and a mixed use development consisting of commercial spaces at ground floor (mix of Class 4C, Class 4B and Class 3C) with 12 storeys of overlying residential units (Class 1A) and a 13 storeys high hotel (Class 3B) with roof top restaurant (Class 4D) at penthouse level and outdoors pools. Extension of the landscaped area around Torri San Tumas to create a public park and construction of a Public Open space at ground floor above the proposed parking as an extension of the existing promenade.

Some additional info: there will be a mix of 128 self-catering apartments and 250 5-star rooms. In addition, there will be another 166 residential units. It has been alleged that the residential units have been added to generate money to finance construction of the hotel, because otherwise the development would not be “financially viable”. In other words, it has been said that the owners do not currently have enough capital to independently finance the hotel itself, so the prime waterfront residential units will be sold at (presumably) sky-high prices, in an area originally meant for tourist purposes only.

We now have the opportunity to participate in the Environmental Impact Assessment being carried out. Taking part in this consultation process is important, and quick. Some points you may wish to submit are outlined below. You can do so UP TO THE 15th March, by doing the following:
1) Open a new email
2) Email address: eia.malta@era.org.mt
3) Subject line: Public Consultation re. PA/04710/18
4) Copy some or all of the text underneath the line below
5) Add your name and ID number just underneath

Thank you! The more comments, the better. Feel free to edit the text as you deem fit.


Whilst welcoming the pending demolition of the existing dangerous structure previously known as the Jerma Palace Hotel, I would like to register my concerns regarding the proposal PA/04710/18 as it currently stands, for the following reasons:

  • The proposal is misleading from the start, since the application refers to 12 and 13 storeys, whereas the text in the EIA refers to thirteen storeys (residential units) and 15 storeys (hotel).
  • Residential units: The Jerma area was granted by the Government through an act of parliament to Lafico for tourism purposes only. The inclusion of residential units in the plans, in an area supposedly reserved for tourism-related development only, is a betrayal of the original agreement and will irrevocably harm the area.
  • The site should be rehabilitated to its original natural state – the land should be given back to the public to enjoy, the tower restored and rehabilitated to continue generating sustainable economic activity, and the Jerma area embellished so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come
  • It is unclear whether the tunnel underneath the proposed open space between Jerma and St. Thomas Tower is still being considered. Digging a tunnel may cause structural damage to the tower itself and requires an impact assessment, whereas if a tunnel is no longer an option, the Tower will be transformed into a glorified roundabout. As the PDS itself states: “The presence of St. Thomas Tower and the proximity to the existing residential areas may also cause adverse impacts that hinder their ‘key strategic, long distance views and important vistas at a national and local level’. “
  • Marsaskala was not among the localities identified in the policy regulating high buildings of over 10 storeys. The development should be scaled down to 10 stories or less.
  • Impact assessments:
    No Transport Impact assessment has been carried out (as noted by Transport Malta on the 5th June 2018, who reserved its right to require consultation at a later stage)
    No Social Impact Assessment has been carried out
  • No consultation with residents in the area has been carried out. The Local Council have been asked to vote on very preliminary plans, with no real understanding of the impact that such a huge development will have on the fabric of the area, and on Marsaskala as a whole. They are against the inclusion of residential units, and the proposal has been visibly changed since the last consultation period.
  • Increase in traffic and pollution in the area: This development will severely exacerbate residential traffic in the area, to the detriment of Marsaskala as a whole.
  • St. Thomas Tower will effectively be incorporated into the development and mostly hidden behind the hotel when views from sea level
  • It is not clear from the site plans whether access to the foreshore will be retained, or whether it will be physically possible to access parts of the foreshore where the rubble boundaries seem to touch the shoreline. This is unacceptable; the foreshore belongs to the public, and the boulders currently blocking access (which were placed illegally when Jerma was in operation) should be removed and not retained in the proposal.
  • It is unclear whether the land owners will take responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the public open space in the area – this is not mentioned in the PDS.
  • There will be a substantial shadowing effect on nearby residential properties, depriving residents of sunshine during the morning, affecting both mental health. This may also have an economic impact as investments in solar PV panels or solar heaters will no longer be worthwhile.

Thank you for your time,
Regards































Jerma – what’s in it for you?

This post is the first in a multi-part series about the abandoned, dilapidated Jerma Palace Hotel, and applicant Mr. Charles Cammileri’s proposals to redevelop the site from a 5-storey, 4-star hotel into a massive highrise with residential units spread over 13 floors and the hotel rising to 15 floors.

Throughout the series, we will be extensively referring to official documents available from the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate change’s request for public consultation, which closes on the 15th March. These include the Project Description Statement, and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening report, both publicly available as pdf documents.

This is an opportunity to make an informed choice about the proposal, ensuring that you have your say while basing your actions and opinions on facts. It is also a chance to engage with other residents in a spirit of amicable discussion.

Stay tuned to Marsaskala.org for more.

Jerma site, with St. Thomas Tower in the background


Next meeting by the Support Group for people having a disability and their carers

The next meeting is going to be held on Monday, 25th February, 2019 at 6.00 pm at the Educational Center at 59 Triq il-Kappara, Marsaskala. The Agenda is going to be as follows:

  • A short introduction by the President regarding information of various activities that are being held/or that were held regarding disability issues
  • Discuss together ‘What are the Responsibilities and Rights of the carer who is responsible of a person with disability?’ carers of persons with disability.