Seven environmental organisations are urging the public to oppose plans for a complex of villas on Comino as part of the proposed plans for the new Comino Hotel filed by Hili Group.

Objections to this development application (PA/4777/20) can be submitted to the Planning Authority here.

The plans, currently being considered by the Planning Authority, would see the site of the former Comino Hotel redeveloped. This would include the replacement of the nine derelict bungalows at Santa Marija Bay by a much larger complex of 19 villas complete with a convenience store and amenities, in what could become a “Comino village” of permanent residences through the use of legal loopholes, the organisations said.

Comino is designated a rural conservation area, a nature reserve, a special area of conservation, a special protection area, an important bird area of international and EU importance, a Natura 2000 site, a bird sanctuary, and a dark sky heritage site.

The proposed development, they said, is not compatible with any of these designations and has been described as “monstrous” and an “occupation by stealth” of this island which should be held in trust for all Maltese and Gozitan residents to enjoy.

"The influx of heavy equipment, construction materials and workforce would cause massive environmental impact, as well as the irreversible destruction of areas of natural habitat for the complex itself and the greater area of disturbance around it.

"There are also grave concerns about increased traffic introduced to the area, and the handling and treatment of supplies and waste leading to an increase in vermin and litter which are directly harmful to the delicate local ecosystem, including populations of protected vulnerable Yelkouan Shearwaters in the direct vicinity," they said.

The organisations continued that the Environmental Resources Authority’s approval of the project is currently being appealed with the Planning Tribunal (EPRT) by several organisations.

"It is shocking that such a development is even being considered. The public should take the opportunity to express their frustration at this proposed development, and remind the Planning Authority that their duty does not lie with developers and big business, but towards the greater good on behalf of the community to provide a balanced and sustainable environment, as per their mission statement," they said.

The organisations filing the objection are BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta - FEE, and Ramblers’ Association of Malta.

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