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Three NGOs have said that they are refusing to accept the fate of old boathouses in Xlendi that were recently demolished to make way for a block of apartments.

The boathouses were demolished earlier this month, despite objections from residents and activists, who described the latest development as having dealt the final blow to the once-idyllic seaside village. 

“Coalition for Gozo is speaking out to demand that the government and the Planning Authority recognise the gravity of the situation and address it with the utmost urgency.” 

“The coalition is strongly recommending that the present construction work in Xlendi be stopped immediately. It demands a full and independent investigation be launched into the manner in which the permits for the demolition and re-development of these old boathouses was granted.” 

In a statement over the weekend, NGOs Din L-Art Helwa, Ghawdex and Wirt Ghawdex, said they could not understand the logic underpinning the approval of the plans. 

“No heed is being taken of the extremely negative impact on the once pretty fishing village, and the harm being wrought on the picturesque cliffs and protected garigue, let alone the enjoyment and wellbeing of the public,” the NGOs said. 

“This latest act of madness, in the saga of Gozo’s over-development hit the international news last week, with a prominent article published in the UK’s The Telegraph.”

The article described the present state of play in Malta as an “orgy of development”, with the NGOs adding that it was the latest in a series of articles in the international press shining a spotlight on over-development in Malta. 

In addition to having a negative impact on the country’s image and it’s tourism sector, the unbridled development is also having serious detrimental effects on the wellbeing of Gozitan residents who are being forced to suffer incessant noise and further “uglification” of their beloved island, the NGOs said.  

The approval of the demolition and re-development of the boathouses was taken with blatant disregard for “any sense of aesthetic, scale or content”. 

“This development was approved despite the fact that the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage strongly recommended it be refused,” the NGOs said. 

They added that it was difficult to understand how the project remained under the radar until it was too late for action to be taken, urging the PA to examine videos of the demolition to determine whether the process was carried out in accordance with the relevant planning regulations. 

“The coalition is demanding accountability from the government , the PA and the members of the PA board, who approved these developments,” the coalition said. 

“The future of the country’s economy must not be held ransom by such outrageously inappropriate developments, and the right thing must be done.” 

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