Press Release 23rd January, 2016
Munxar development-a caricature of government’s rural policy
Front Harsien ODZ supported the stance of environmental, social and cultural NGOs opposed to the development of an argro tourism on Level 3 protected land which serves as a buffer zone to an Area of Ecological Importance.
Front Harsien ODZ also welcome the position of M’Scala local council against the proposed development but said that the local council, and not only its Labour Deputy Mayor and Nationalist councillors should also oppose the development of the non-American non-University of Sadeen at Zonqor, which, likewise will be developed on ODZ land. Otherwise, the pro-Sadeen councillors will not be consistent and the whole issue will resemble a theatre of the absurd.
“The development which includes a proposal of a pantoon for boats, refers to beach clubs and includes a conference hall and a spa, looks more like a hotel than an agro tourism.”Front Harsien ODZ described the development as a caricature of the rural policy approved in 2014. But in many ways the project is also a consequence of this policy.
“While we agree with MEPA’s director of planning that this development is a non starter, any project or policy allowing commercial development in the ODZ,particularly in designated national parks like the Sadeen development in Zonqor point or in Level 2 and Level 3 protected areas like Munxar should be considered a non starter. We expect the MEPA director of planning to pronounce himself against any such development.”
Moreover the policy as it stands does permit development on a floor space of 400 square meters on Level 3 land like that in Munxar where the newbuilding is being proposed on a 400 square meter footprint. Neither does the policy ban additional developments like retail shops and pools foreseen in the same policy.
Apart from the development foreseen in the rural policy, the development proposed in Munxar proposed also includes a semi basement level and a basement level, a 300 square meter animal farm, green houses over 1200 square meters of land and a pontoon in a Level 2 protected area.
“We strongly appeal to MEPA to immediately change its policies to forbid any tourist and other forms of accommodation on ODZ land and to grant greater protection of Level 3 buffer zones. Agro tourism should be restricted to existing farm buildings in the countryside.”