Archive for October, 2007

Some sites more equal than others

October 9, 2007

Ralph Cassar, Local Councillor (AD), Attard.

So now we have it. Basic common sense regulations regarding construction site management will come into force in November, but some long suffering residents are in for a nasty surprise; they are in for a longer wait because these regulations will come into force in only nine localities.

I will speak about the place I know best, Attard. Like most other places around the country Attard has become a building site because of the infamous changes in zoning, allowing buildings to be demolished left right and centre, for the construction of apartments. Recently the government also illegally extended the building development zones. This is happening in a country with 40,000 plus empty properties. Incidentally, when is the part of the 2005 census regarding the situation in housing going to be published? Why is the government withholding information?

Why can’t such simple regulations be implemented all around the country at once? Anyone who knows how things work knows that it is only central government and its agencies which have the resources for proper enforcement.

Will this piecemeal exercise mean that because some areas will have stricter regulations than others, the junk machinery and equipment which produces more noise, dust and smoke will be sent to the non-regulated areas?

In the same report in The Times announcing the new regulations, Minister George Pullicino also said that the recent law governing the boundary walls at vacant plots is a success. Only up to a point. There are quite a number of plots whose owners are not even bothering. I recently wrote to Mepa PRO Sylvana Debono by e-mail asking when enforcement action will be taken against those who after more than six months have not cleared up their property, all to the detriment of neighbours and the aesthetics of the locality. Action should be taken immediately. Looking at the problem from another angle, it is not fair on those who were conscientious enough to abide by the law immediately to let the careless few have their own way. I would appreciate it if Mepa can enlighten us about the progress in enforcing the boundary wall regulations.

Finally, I am asking Attard council to write to the Minister to ask him to put Attard immediately on the list of localities in which the new regulations will come into force this November. I hope that I find the support of all other councillors on this matter.