Following the latest statement by the Prime Minister asking for alternative sites for the proposed American University, we from ADŻ Malta Green Youth would like to suggest some alternatives to the area at Żonqor Point.
Some alternative sites are Fort Ricasoli at Kalkara and the old Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsaskala. These sites are currently in a derelict state and are not being utilised. This means that land, which is so scarce in Malta is being wasted. Therefore, if these sites will be used, no substantial environmental damage will be caused, since the sites are already built up.
These locations are ideal since they are close to the proposed site at Żonqor Point and in the South of Malta. Fort Ricasoli was built in the 17th Century and is located at the end of the Grand Harbour. It is currently falling apart and is in great need of restoration. Proposing this site would be a great opportunity to restore our cultural heritage. Considering Fort Ricasoli is also close to Smart City, it would also serve to revive this area, especially the vacant parts, which could additionally also be used for the university. Alternatively, a better location would be the old Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsaskala. This hotel, like Fort Ricasoli is abandoned and restoring this large building would improve the scenery since it is an eyesore. It is an ideal site since it is close to the sea, in front of an old fort and located within Marsaskala, therefore making it an attractive site for development.
We urge the Government to consider these proposed sites, since these buildings are already abandoned and by using these sites, the scenery would be improved. Since this project is said to be sustainable, we must also consider the social aspects and by using the abandoned places mentioned, the land which is used by farmers and hunters at Żonqor Point would be saved from development, thus eliminating the negative social impacts. Keeping in mind that these four places are abandoned and already built up, this could eventually also reduce costs, when compared to developing rural land. Additionally, no agricultural or semi-natural land will be used, therefore reducing substantially the environmental damage.
Using any of these sites would be more sustainable than using ODZ land since the environmental, social, economic and cultural impacts will be significantly reduced, when compared to all the cons that arise if the ODZ land had to be developed.
Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)