FAA warns against using ITS model to value public land

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Environmental NGO Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) said that basing the Corinitha deal on the ITS model would entrench sale of public land at a price far below its real estate value, describing the db Group concession as “very bad”. It warned that it would create dangerous imbalances in the market without providing tangible value for the public and for the Government.

It has been reported, that the Corinitha Group will be given a concession to build 100,000 square metres of commercial and residential real estate and offices which would include towers on the same model and conditions granted to the db Group when the latter acquired the ITS site.

The NGO noted how land which was given as a concession in favour of tourism was being turned into land for speculation, mentioning Fortina Hotel and St George’s Bay as an example. In September the Planning Authority had approved an application which proposed change of use from luxury apartments to offices in Fortina, Sliema

FAA remarked that St George’s Bay had been conceded to the Corinthia Group specifically for tourism purposes saying that it was supposedly to improve the tourism product, create long-term employment and benefit the public good.

In a statement the NGO observed that the tourism component in such land concessions was being reduced and the area rezoned and designated for real estate purposes. FAA slammed the method down describing it as giving preferential treatment to speculators saying that planning laws changed to enable private businesses.

The NGO asked why such treatment was not given to the public and asked for rezoning areas of environmental and recreational value.

Who will foot the infrastructural bill?

The NGO observed how traffic was a major concern when assessing the viability of the db Project for the ITS site.

FAA remarked that no details have been given as to who will be paying for the new roads, street lightning, drainage and utility supplies, saying that it may be well paid by the public.

The Malta Developers Association reacting to reports on St George’s Bay criticised the government’s move to sell public land valued at Deloitte’s lower than market value on Friday.