db Group accuses Local Councils and NGOs of hiding the truth

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Arthur Gauci, CEO, db Group, in a statement Thursday morning accused three local councils and 10 NGOs of hiding from residents the truth about the changes the Group is proposing for its project in Pembroke. The development has been approved by the Planning Authority on the site previously occupied by the Institute of Tourism Studies. In the statement, Gauci describes as untrue five different points mentioned by the local councils and the NGOs. He said that the db Group made changes after listening to “genuine” concerns and that now “the only threat to these residents is not our project but those who want to hide the truth from them.”

The db Group’s statement was a reaction to one published Wednesday by the local councils of Pembroke, Swieqi and St Julians together with ten NGOs ranging from Din l-Art Helwa to Graffiti. These lobby groups gave thumbs down to the changes being proposed by db Group. They acknowledged that some changes have been made but clearly stated that these changes were not enough. For these organisations, the project is “monstrous and damaging.”

Not true – says db Group

While the local councils and the NGOs think that the reduction in the size of the tower is “slight”, db Group considers this as not true adding that the tower is now 7 floors less or 18% less than the original plans. The group claims that the proposed project is “now 19,000 sqm less than permissible by Local Plan” and that the developable area “has been reduced by 50,000sqm.”

The db Group refutes the claim of the three councils and the ten NGOs that the project will “throw into permanent darkness the thousands of residents living across the road”.

According to the db Group, the maximum daily increase in the shade created by the project on Pembroke varies from 90 minutes during some weeks in December to 30 minutes a typical day in June, and that this affects only “some residences”.

A barrier to Paceville

For the db Group the local councils’ and the NGOs’ claim that now “Paceville will still invade Pembroke and Swieqi” is not true as the group claims that the opposite will be the case. The Group states that its project will act as a barrier that “will effectively stop today’s existing incursion of Paceville and its activities into Pembroke.”

The db Group states that its project will not be a threat to the two adjacent Natura 2000 sites and that its claim is supported by various studies. Neither will the revised project, says db Group, pose a threat to Ħarq Ħamiem Cave. There will now be a 24m buffer of undisturbed rock separating the cave from the development, says the Group adding that only 0.5% of the project buildings overlap the cave.

The db Group also accuses the local councils and the NGOs of hiding several aspects from the residents. The Group says that public areas have been increased by almost 40% and that it has paid €1.5 million for planning gain, potentially benefitting the Pembroke community and those in the vicinity. It adds that the publicly-funded Paceville tunnel will ease the traffic in the area and thereby benefit all residents and businesses. It noted that the Pembroke Local Council is in favour of the tunnel.