13 NOVEMBER 2002
By David Lindsay
The proposed Qala Creek development is perhaps the most controversial project on the books today, having generated strong reactions from many of Maltas environmental NGOs, member of the clergy and the Qala Local Council.
However, architect Edward Bencini speaking in todays Malta Financial and Business Times interview, affirms that a number of misconceptions abound over the project, particularly over the beach at Hondoq ir-Rummien, which, despite the protestations that have arisen of late, is not included in the development plan. In fact, Bencini insists, the beach in question will only be included in a wide-ranging clean-up operation of the surrounding area, which has fallen into a dilapidated state over the years.
But as residents of Qala head toward a referendum on the heated issue, Bencini criticises the practices of the anti-development lobby. Bencini also responds to the environmental concerns raised.
Bencini and his team are, giving minute attention to the visual impacts of the project, which will be minimal, given the projects placement against the quarry wall.
Bencini adds, "The project isnt just about putting in a beautiful village, but its about doing it properly and in a way that is going to be beneficial to the Maltese and Gozitan economy.
"We will be creating 400 jobs and the multiplier effect it will have is probably immeasurable. When you think about it, its not just about the jobs that will be generated, but its also about the kind of first class tourism that will be generated for Gozo, over and above what is happening today. This goes hand in hand with the lifting of the standards of tourism and the satisfying of the niche market. The positive impact is immeasurable and the multiplier effect will be far, far more than the Lm35 to Lm40 million being spent on the project, since after development people will be spending additional millions at the site and in Gozo. This counts much more than the jobs created or our investment."
Qala Creek - a visionary yet controversial project
Interview with architect Edward Bencini