Protest against Mushroom Farm
The Gharb Local Council on behalf of:
• The health and wellbeing of the residents of Gharb and St Lawrence
• The tenants of Ta’ Dbiegi Crafts Village
• The 150 employees, Baldacchino Company which invested in Gozo and the
operator of Kempinski San Lawrenz Hotel
• Restaurants in Gharb and San Lawrenz
• Farmhouse owners and all those involved in the tourist sector in this zone
• Others who in a way or another depend on this zone for their living
The Gharb Local Council is totally against the proposed mushroom factory
development in the area of ta’ Dbiegi for a number of reasons amongst which:
1. The proposed development is not 183 metres away from a residential area as
required by MEPA regulations.
2. The proposed site is near a residential area and this will create an
inconvenience to the residents with the foul smells of chicken manure that has to be
transported to site daily, around 22 tons per week as indicated in the EPS. A small
amount of manure in the nearby fields already creates an unsupportable smell let
alone the amounts mentioned above! It is a fact that the quantity of chicken manure
generated in Gozo is not enough to cater for the needs of the proposed mushroom
factory and so manure would have to be transported all the way from Malta to Gozo
passing all the way through the Gozo Channel and the main road from Mgarr through
Victoria to Gharb. Gozo produces around 22,000 kgs of Chicken manure a year and
so the rest from the total of 1.2 million kgs required for the farm has to be transported
from Malta. The same applies to the hay required in the factory.
3. The transportation of the hay to this zone can also destroy the agricultural
product. The farmer may prefer to start producing hay instead of the agrticultural
product. As already stated the Gotizan hay production will not be enough and so this
would have to be transported from Malta to Gozo too.
4. This will lead also to dirt in the streets all year round. During the period of the
hay transportation one could note the amount of hay that is left staggered along the
5. It will generate emissions, dust and traffic problems let alone the noise pollution
that to day the zone is free of.
6. The zone which to day was popular amongst tourists for its tranquility will no
7. It will destroy the countryside with a development in an ODZ zone, an industrial
zone and the unique Crafts Centre in Gozo. One has to mention that ta’ Dbiegi Crafts
Centre enjoyed EU funds for its embellishment and thanks to which the zone was
refurbished from its previous state of neglect.
8. The proposed development represents a serious health hazard with the
increase in hay-fever and will create a lot of insects attracted by the chicken manure
which will be transported to site as indicated in the EPS. All this when MEPA’s policies
state that farms should not be allocated in residential areas. Malta & Gozo already
experienced similar cases referring to the Qortin in Gozo and Maghtab in Malta and to
day these sites have been closed since this way necessary for the citizens well being.
9. Emissions will be generated during the process of the mushroom cultivation.
Mushrooms consume a large amount of oxygen from the air and throw back
10. The investments of Baldacchino and Kempinski groups are being endangered
and with them the employment of the 150 hotel employees not to mention others who’s
living is indirectly related with the hotel’s operations such as restaurant owners, car
hire, tourist operators, food suppliers and many others.
11. The living of 50 persons at Ta’ Dbiegi Crafts Centre would also be endangered.
With these one can add many other jobs indirectly related to this area.
12. The developer already acquired a permit at Hal-Qormi for the same project and
after committing this zone at Hal-Qormi is now proposing to do the same at Gharb.
13. We already had an unwelcome experience in the past, referring to the Villa on
Ghammar hill. That was an environmental disaster and the destruction of agricultural
land. Today with the approval of this project the same error will be repeated despite of
all the promises for the protection of the environment and the rural areas which Gozo
14. The Government has the ambitious aim to transform Gozo into an ecological
island. This project will threaten this goal even before it starts.
The Council emphasizes that the application was from the very beginning incorrect,
ambiguous and misleading.
There is no other way how one could describe this application except scandalous to
the way it is being treated by MEPA to build this factory on a stretch of 15600 sq mts of
agricultural land which fall outside the development zone (ODZ). It is very clear that
MEPA is not treating seriously the Gozitan environment.
This is another case where MEPA’s credibility is once more being obscured. All this is
being done just before the entering into force of the MEPA reform, a reform that should
aim to protect the environment of the Maltese Islands and to ensure transparency.
The Council believes that everyone has to be treated the same in front of the law and
that everyone has the right of protection by the law. We must say also that this is a
case where those involved have to be responsible for their acts and be transparent.
This is another case where the citizen’s voice is being put to the side when the reform
was done to protect the citizen’s rights.
The Council appeals for an absolute union against this shocking proposed
development and appeals that no one uses this matter as a means for political
The Council applies all Gozo politicians to declare publicly their position against the
distortion of Gozo environment and countryside with a development in an ODZ zone.
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