Developers have pushed back against calls to ban all demolition and excavation works in Gozo throughout summer months, saying that would financially ruin many employers and their workers.
Instead, the Malta Development Association is open to extending the proposed summertime ban to all construction-related activities – not just demolition and construction – in areas designated as ‘entertainment priority areas’ in Gozo’s local plan.
It also suggested having transparent criteria to determine which roads the summertime ban will apply to, and for the list of those roads to be publicly disclosed more than six months in advance, to allow investors and contractors to plan their schedules and transition to non-affected areas.
The MDA’s proposals come after Gozitan tourism stakeholders said that the entire island should be free of demolition and excavation works during the busy summer months.
Currently, the Building and Construction Authority bans such activities in specific streets and areas between mid-June and the end of September. Last summer, the ban applied to Xlendi and Marsalforn as well as certain streets in Mġarr, Għajnsielem, Għasri, Ramla l-Ħamra, Xagħra, Qala, Sannat, San Lawrenz and Victoria.
Gozo Tourism Association CEO Joe Muscat told Times of Malta earlier this week that since Gozo is a tourist area, the ban should apply all across the island.
The MDA says that sort of blanket measure would ruin many developers, harming their workers and workers’ families in the process.
“Expecting businesses to remain idle for three months is economically untenable,” it said on Saturday. “The financial strain includes the inability to cover employee salaries, interest payments, licensing fees for trucks and equipment, and rent during the downtime.”
It said that its alternative proposals would alleviate the impact on Gozo tourism while ensuring developers remained financially viable.
“MDA intends to engage in discussions with the Minister and relevant stakeholders to ensure that an adequate balance is met, fostering a collaborative resolution that accommodates the concerns of all parties involved,” it said.