Decision to allow commercial use of Dwejra boathouse could spoil pristine area, NGO warns
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Decision to allow commercial use of Dwejra boathouse could spoil pristine area, NGO warns

'Development would threaten this unspoiled protected area'

The site is designated as an area of high landscape value.

The site is designated as an area of high landscape value.

Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar has filed an appeal against the Planning Commission’s decision to permit the commercialisation of a boathouse at Dwejra in San Lawrenz, Gozo.

It said in a statement the approved development would threaten this unspoiled protected area of unparalleled natural beauty.

Encouraging such "an incompatible use" would lead to the piecemeal degradation of Dwejra’s ODZ, setting a precedent for future commercial development in this remote pristine rural area, the NGO said. 

The site is designated as an area of high landscape value and also listed as a special area conservation of international importance falling within the San Lawrenz Natura 2000 site.

As such, it should have been protected against such damaging uses, the e-NGO said.

FAA said that the Environment and Resources Authority, in its official capacity as consultant to the Planning Authority, had stated that the development was of "environmental concern": “The introduction of commercial uses within a site that is outside the development zone and in an ecologically protected site is unacceptable. ERA considers that the proposed use for commercial purposes is inappropriate given the site context and cannot be justified in view of its genuine need.”

But ERA’s concerns were completely ignored by the Planning Commission, FAA said.

It added that the decision went contrary to the Planning Commission’s stance against a similar application in Ħondoq, where it had refused a request to convert an agricultural store into a souvenir shop.

FAA maintained that the same logic should have been applied to Dwejra, even more so given its designation as a Natura 2000 site.

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