Large-scale development plans for St George's Bay will dilute Paceville's boundaries and negatively impact quality of life in Pembroke, residents have warned.

This concern was expressed at a public meeting organised at Pembroke primary school on Friday evening by residents in collaboration with Moviment Graffitti and Kamp Emergenza Ambjent. 

The proposed project would see public land currently occupied by the Institute of Tourism Studies turned into a 37-storey residential tower, a 17-storey Hard Rock Hotel with 455 rooms, a casino and shopping mall.

While it has not yet been approved by the Planning Authority, earlier plans featuring a second tower have since been dropped.

The development has been embroiled in major controversy concerning the €60 million developers db Group paid for the public land.

Pembroke resident Adrian Grima delivered a presentation on the project, which he said was based on information divulged by the developer and studies carried out so far.

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He said that according to Environment Resources Authority the project would not be subject to an official public hearing.

Mr Grima claimed that construction would take around four years and would generate 336,000 tones of waste, which he said would be equivalent to almost a quarter of all waste generate nationwide in 2015. Only 14 per cent would be re-used or recycled, he pointed out.

The project would on so large that developers were considering setting up an onsite batching plant, Mr Grima said. While this would mitigate negative effects of heavy vehicles transporting concrete through residential areas, the plant itself could pose a dust pollution hazard, he pointed out.

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Concerns were also raised that the development could threaten G─žar Harq Hammiem, which is Malta's largest fresh water sea-level cave.

Apart from concerns about visual impact, residents also fear a drastic reduction in the amount of sunlight hitting their neighbourhoods. This would reach its peak in December, when the proposed tower’s shadow could reach as far as the town's reverse osmosis plant, it was claimed.

From an infrastructural perspective, Mr Grima said the project would increase traffic congestion. Moreover, concerns were raised on the cumulative effect of other tall buildings which have already been approved, such as the Mercury Towers in Paceville and Villa Rosa in St George’s Bay.

“The ITS project might also trigger a domino effect whereby it would impact the quality of life of Pembroke residents as it would dilute further the boundaries between this locality and Malta’s night life hub at Paceville,” he warned.

A render of what the proposed project would look like from St George's Bay.A render of what the proposed project would look like from St George's Bay.

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