Pembroke, Swieqi and St Julian’s residents have come together in a final call to the planning board to reject the db Pembroke project.

“We are fed up and scared of the monster we will have in front of us,” Pembroke resident Rita Zammit said. 

She was speaking during a joint press conference held by Pembroke residents, several NGOs and the councils of St Julian’s and Swieqi.

Although also an objector, the Pembroke council could not attend the conference because it will be voting at the Planning Authority's board meeting. 

The board will decide on the db's City Centre project during a hearing on Thursday.

The €250 million project, already approved by the PA in 2018, was sent back to the drawing board in 2019 after a court found that Matthew Pace, one of the authority's members who voted in favour of the project, had a potential financial interest in it being approved. 

The project will see the construction of a 12-storey hotel and two 17- and 18-storey residential towers. 

Video Chris Sant Fournier

Eight organisations and several Pembroke residents have joined forces and filed an appeal against the Environment and Resources Authority’s (ERA) approval of a final assessment for the group’s proposal. 

“We are angry because we know that the Planning Authority will approve the project, ruin the area and cause a huge inconvenience to all the residents,” Zammit said. 

“No one listens to us, we have no rights and no voice. The two main political parties stay quiet despite our cries. Not only will they destroy the area, but they also want to pay for the development of a tunnel from our taxes for db’s dream to become reality,” she added.

Nataliano, who has been living in Swieqi for over 30 years, said that Malta has become one of the heaviest constructed countries, yet the authorities insisted to continue building. 

“We are a like a Babel trying to reach the sky, but how will we fill all these new apartments? How will we get people for these offices? We have a limit to how many people can live on this island, and we reached that limit a long time ago,” he told Times of Malta.

Worst project ever proposed in our country  

Moviment Graffitti activist Andre Callus the project is "one of the worst" to have ever been proposed in Malta. 

“We have been fighting against the project for four years, and we will continue to fight because it (the project) symbolises what our future could become - a future where Maltese and Gozitans’ lives are in the hands of the rich.”

Another member of Graffitti said db's plans continued to ignore crucial and essential issues to the surrounding environment, the infrastructure as a whole, and above all, the residents of Pembroke, St Julian’s and Swieqi.

Callus appealed to the PA to consider the true damage and destruction the project will have on residential areas. 

“We appeal to PA board members to listen to their conscience. If they do so, they will not have any reason to accept such a monstrous project,” he said.

The mayors of Swieqi and St Julian's, Noel Muscat and Albert Buttigieg respectively, also highlighted the damage such a project can cause to surrounding areas. 

“We push residents to be active, to not accept everything that is thrown at them, but to stand up for such projects not to happen,” Buttigieg said.

“We need to understand that the mistakes made now, will remain with us for years to come and affect future generations. The PA board must understand this,” he said.

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