The Planning Authority on Thursday decided in favour of the db Group’s controversial proposed 38-storey tower and 17-storey hotel at the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) site in St George’s Bay.

The project was approved despite unprecedented opposition from local councils, residents and environmental groups. 

Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar has said that it is exploring the possibility of an appeal.

The project was approved by 10 votes to 4. 

Those who voted against the project: Chairman Vince Cassar, Pembroke mayor Dean Hili, NGO representative Annick Bonello, PN representative Marthese Portelli

Those who voted in favour: Government representative Clayton Bartolo, ERA chairman Victor Axiak, deputy chair Elizabeth Ellul, Desiree Cassar, Timothy Gambin, Matthew Pace, Simone Mousu’,  Jacqueline Gili, Ivan Tabone, Joseph Brincat.

Noel Muscat - Swieqi mayor

Dean Hili - Pembroke mayor

Claire Bonello - FAA

Anthony Buttigieg: chairman Partit Demokratiku:

"Today for 5 hours in sweltering heat I witnessed what may have seemed like an exercise in futility. Despite thousands of objections, despite no obvious economic benefit for the nation, despite land being gifted to the DB group at a net loss to the tax payer, despite there yet to be an application for the road tunnel (to be built at government expense) that is crucial to make the project viable, despite completely altering the nature of residential areas nearby, despite all this the project was approved.

"Tonight and tomorrow Malta celebrates its independence. Malta may be independent on paper but its people have never been less so and are completely under the thrall of the powers that really run this country. Rather than celebrate I will mourn a dream begun in 1964 that is rapidly turning sour."

Carmel Cacopardo: chairman Alternattiva Demokratika:

"AD is not surprised at the decision to approve the application."

The government had made it clear it supported db group’s project since when it agreed to give them the land for a miserable sum of money.

It had now also promised to take responsibility for the tunnel without which the project could not be viable.

The PA board as it was currently constituted had long shown its insensitivity to the impact of development on the people and in this sense, the decision was one of a series and could be foreseen.

It was a shame that in view of such large projects the authorities had repeatedly shown they were not capable of defending the people’s interests and quality of life.

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