A vision buried at Nadur cemetery

April 6, 2013

times

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A vision buried at Nadur cemetery

Alfred E. Baldacchino

The Archpriest of Nadur applied for the development of a cemetery on May 20, 2002. An outline development permit was issued on January 28, 2004 and a full development permit, valid for five years, was granted by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority on May 31, 2007. An appeal was submitted by Nature Trust on July 16, 2007 and works on the cemetery started in summer of that same year.

2012.10.00 - works in progress while the appeal keeps being postponed

Work in progress on the cemetery while the appeal board deliberated

The following documented data was made available to the Appeals Board: The development is in an ODZ (outside development zone).

There never was any public consultation.

EU Water Framework Directive obligations regarding ground water were not taken in consideration.

The locality is designated as an area of high landscape sensitivity and a land of agricultural value according to the Gozo and Comino Local Plan.

Technical staff at Mepa repeatedly recommended a refusal for such development.

Refusal was also recommended by the planning authority’s Heritage Advisory Board.

The proposed cemetery lies within the catchment area of one tributary that feeds Wied Għajn Qasab, one of the most important in Gozo.

This 6,500-square-metre cemetery footprint is on upper coralline limestone (garigue), overlying blue clay that contributes to a perched aquifer covering 5.6 square kilometres, “filtering on a good rainy season 16,000 gallons (73,000 litres) of potable natural water daily at Għajn Qasab springs”.

It is estimated that the recharge of water through percolation or infiltration amounts to 785,109 cubic metres annually.

The water catchment area around the cemetery covers 33,000 square metres.

The rock formation contains various faults, crevices and fissures, which channel rainwater to the farmers’ cisterns.

The fields dependent on the aquifer have been used for agricultural purposes for hundreds of years.

The engineering works regarding water use and storage, including bell shaped wells, galleries, channels and cisterns, date back to the time of the Knights of St John. Such network has been physically destroyed or rendered nearly useless by the cemetery.

The report by the geologist appointed by the developer, indicated that the project is unlikely to have an adverse impact on the water resources.

No hydrologist’s report was ever submitted.

The precautionary principle, a guiding principle in the EPA 2011, was completely ignored. The developer reports that the cemetery plans to cater for 643 graves, despite the fact that only 50 persons die annually in Nadur, some of whom are buried in the old cemetery.

The commercial value of the cemetery’s footprint estimates each grave at €4,000 at the time of the submisison of the appeal in 2007, showing the commercial vision of the project.

A number of letters were officially, personally and publicly written to the Prime Minister and to the minister responsible for the environment.

A number of social entities, farmers and the public expressed disapproval both of this development and of the way it was being handled.

The appeal case was heard and postponed for 19 times and, finally, a decision date was appointed for September 27, 2012, only to be postponed again.

The legal representative of the farming community wrote to the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, emphasising that postponing the decision was jeopardising the interests of the farmers.

A hydrological report by Marco Cremona was eventually presented to the Appeals Tribunal. The study clearly states that there is no doubt about the direct hydraulic connection between the site of the cemetery and the farmers’ water source.

Affidavits by affected farmers show that, before the work on the cemetery, they had enough water for their fields. However, when the works got under way, they had to buy water for their fields and products decreased in quantity and quality.

On March 15, 2013 – the ides of March and six days after the last election – the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal informed the objectors that the original permit dated May 31, 2007 was superseded by another permit dated July 23, 2012, where the applicant presented an amended application to the original permit.

Since there was no appeal to the latter permit, the original one was now exhausted, having been superseded by the latter. Because of this, the tribunal abstained from taking further notice of the appeal.

Mepa’s vision “is to pass onto our children a better country than we inherited. It is for this very reason that we (Mepa) compare our environment to a treasure, something we dedicate our energies to, to protect, care for and improve. The environment encompasses all – nature, cultural and architectural heritage, towns and villages, the countryside, the seas and air. We (Mepa) believe that together we should carefully plan so that our heritage, this gem that we treasure, will not fade away.”

Who can possibly believe this when Mepa buried its vision at the Nadur cemetery?

2009.02.00 - The remains of a protected carob tree

The water catchment area of garigue which replenished the perched aquifer feeding and supplying water to the farming community and the valley ecosystem – BEFORE the approved rape of the ecosystem started.

Was this cemetery, to be run on a time­share basis, really needed in Nadur? Why was the precautionary principle not applied in such a sensitive and delicate ecological area with such a rare natural resource? Why where the above social and ecological negative impacts all cast aside, importance being given only to economic aspects? Was ‘the hand of god’ coerced to give the green light for such an injustice?

Jesus once entered the temple area and drove out all traders and shoppers. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. What would He have done had He found the selling of graves in His name? It is easier to deliver 10 sermons than to live one.

“Our lives end the day we become silent about things that really matter”…“and, in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends” (Martin Luther King).

2009.06.01 water from the acquifer

The murky water feeding the farmers’ cisterns after the work started – definitely not the clear pure potable water they were used to use before.

The dead at Nadur cemetery will haunt and curse the living.

For God’s sake, remove environmental matters from Mepa before the social and ecological fabric of these islands is completely destroyed.

aebaldacchino@gmail.com

alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com

The original article in The Times, with comments posted by readers, can be seen at the following link:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130406/opinion/A-vision-buried-at-Nadur-cemetery.464394

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Iċ-Cimiterju f’Għajn Qasab, in-Nadur Għawdex

November 1, 2012

Iċ-Cimiterju f’Għajn Qasab, in-Nadur Għawdex

Alfred E. Baldacchino

L-Erbgħa, 31 ta’ Ottubru, 2012

Il-kontroversja taċ-ċimiterju f’Għajn Qasab, in-Nadur Għawdex ilha għaddejja issa mhux ħażin. Saħansitra sar appell lill-MEPA dwar il-permess li din ħarġet lill-Arċipriet tal-Knisja tan-Nadur. Il-MEPA ilha issa mhux ħażin tistudja u tistudja, u tistudja u tistudja dan l-appell u tipposponi u tipposponi d-deċiżjoni tagħha minn xahar għal xahar.  Sadanittant, ix-xogħol fuq dan iċ-ċimiterju għadu għaddej. Forsi xi ħadd għandu xi pjan biex ix-xogħol fuq dan iċ-ċimiterju jilħaq jispiċċa u d-deċiżjoni tal-Bord tal-Appell tal-MEPA tkun tista’, mal-ftuħ uffiċjali ta’ dan iċ-ċimiterju, tagħmel l-ewwel difna fih billi tidfen id-deċiżjoni tal-appell.

Għelieqi u x-xagħri jinbidlu f’ċimiterju waqt li x-xogħol u l-appell għaddejin id f’id!

Sadanittant, il-bdiewa li jiddependu mill-ilma li kienet tilqa’ l-art li tħaffret biex jinbena dan iċ-ċimiterju, u lil kien jintua biex isaqqu l-uċuħ tar-raba’ tagħhom, fejn hemm mijiet tas-siġar taċ-ċitru, għadhom imħassba għal dan id-dewmien ta’ deċiżjoni li qed taffettwalhom xogħolhom u l-għixien tagħhom.

Illum deher artiklu fuq il-blog tal-Perit Carmel Cacopardo dwar dan iċ-ċimiterju, liema rapport qiegħed ninkludu hawn, flimkien ma’ xi kummenti li dehru.

Il-Kappillan jagħtiha għall-business

Carmel Cacopardo – 31 10 2012

F’Għajn Qasab limiti tan-Nadur Għawdex l-inkwiet għadu għaddej. L-Kappillan tan-Nadur qed jagħmel biċċa business bl-oqbra. Business li wiret mill-Kappillan ta’ qablu. Qaluli li hu speċi ta’ timeshare bl-oqbra.

Ix-xogħol ta’ kostruzzjoni għaddej u l-ħsara lill-biedja fl-inħawi m’hiex żgħira. Is-sistema ta’ irrigazzjoni li ilha taħdem minn żmien il-kavallieri ġiet imħarbta biex il-Kappillan jagħmel il-business bl-oqbra. Sa minn żmien il-kavallieri missierijietna kienu għaqlin biżżejjed biex fasslu sistema li iżżomm l-ilma u titilqgħu ftit ftit. Hekk li meta tagħmel ix-xita l-ilma jinħażen u matul is-sena sa Awwissu u anke Settembru titlaq dan l-ilma ftit ftit. Dan l-ilma għal dawn l-aħħar tlett mitt sena intuża biex f’Għajn Qasab hemm qasam kbir mimli siġar taċ-ċitru. Issa l-ilma naqas. Jiġi f’daqqa malli tagħmel ix-xita u wara ftit li xejn.

L-effetti fuq il-bdiewa ġja bdew. Raba’ mingħajr ilma matul is-sena bil-fors tnaqqas il-frott li trodd.

Il-Kappillan inkwetat. Mhux għall-bdiewa u l-għixien tagħhom li hu mhedded. Hu inkwetat li l-appell fil-MEPA kontra l-bini taċ-ċimiterju għadu għaddej u ma jafx meta ser ilesti. Min tah il-flus għall-oqbra qed igorr.

Jiena infurmat li din il-ġimgħa dawk viċin il-kappillan bdew jiġbru l-firem. Lin-nies qalulhom li dwar il-permessi għad hemm il-problemi. Imma li l-business tal-Kappillan qed jagħmel il-ħsara lill-bdiewa ħadd ma qalilhom xejn dwaru.

Dwar dan messu jitkellem Dun Mario!

http://carmelcacopardo.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/il-kappillan-jaghtiha-ghall-business/?replytocom=1779#respond

2 responses

 Mario Xerri 31 10 2012 (19:21:05) :

Din hija s-sena tal-FIDI ghalina l-INSARA. Din il-fidi f’ALLA qieghda tigi mtappna b’hafna skandli madwar id-dinja specjalment gewwa l-EWROPA. Il-hasra hi li l-knisja kattolika kellha sehem ukoll. Dan li qieghed jigri go GHAWDEX ma jghinx! Il-bniedem jitwieled b’xejn minn guf ommu……fl-ahhar ta’ hajtu ma jiehu xejn mieghu.

Baldacchino Alfred E.    31 10 2012 (20:16:01) :

APPARTMENTI GĦALL-MEJTIN

Prosit Carm, tajba ħafna.

Immisna nibdew petizzjoni aħna wkoll u niġbru l-firem biex nibgħatuhom kemm lill-Knisja, lill-Gvern, lill-Opposizzjoni u anki lill-Vatikan. Jidher li fejn jidħlu l-flus hawn Malta mhemm l-ebda kuxjneza soċjali u ekoloġika, sfortunatament lanqas fil-Knisja. It-twemmin nisrani jiġi wara.

Darba kont ktibt li għad jiġi żmien meta l-mejtin għad jisħtu l-ħajjin dwar iċ-ċimiterju tan-Nadur f’Għawdex. Nixtieq nara minn sejjer inaqqax ismu fuq l-irħama meta jinfetaħ dan iċ-ċimiterju. Naħseb li jrid ikun hemm irħana kbira mhux ħażin għaliex dawk li taw sehomhom huma ħafna bħal ngħidu aħna, id-djoċesi ta’ Għawdex, Il-Gvern, l-Oppożizzjoni, il-Mepa, dawk li tħallsu biex għamlu r-rappport li jiġġustifika dan l-isfreġju tal-ambjent. U mhux biss l-isem tal-entitajiet fejn warajhom jinħbew in-nies responsabbli, imma ismijiet ta’ minn huma dawn in-nies. Il-Kappillan tan-Nadur naħseb li jikkwalifika biex ikun fuq ras il-lista.

Wasalna fi stat redikolu issa li qed nibnu appartamenti għall-mejtin u l-ħsara ta’ deċiżjonijiet bħal dawn iħallsuhom is-socjetà u l-ambjent.

Lapida li tixraq lil dan iċ-ċimiterju f’Wied il-Qasab, in-Nadur Għawdex.

Ara l-artiklu tiegħi hawn

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/the-nadur-cemetery-%E2%80%93-where-the-dead-will-haunt-and-curse-the-living/


Behold, the promised Eco-Gozo

December 14, 2010

Tuesday, 14th December 2010

Behold, the promised Eco-Gozo

Alfred E. Baldacchino

I  must admit that Eco-Gozo was a brilliant idea. The launching of this bright idea, however, lacked adequate communication, education and public awareness and cannot be said to be that brilliant.  Stakeholders did not have enough chance to meet to discuss, to suggest and to feel part of this concept. Public consultations lacked any brilliancy. All subsequent development, in its widest sense, does not necessarily dovetail in this concept and is indeed bizarre, to say the least.

Gozo is a small island, endowed with a topography and a geology that make it a unique ecological gem. But, because of its smallness, every mismanaged and short-sighted development has drastic effects on its ecosystem, defying the whole Eco-Gozo concept.

Just a few examples would suffice to show how this concept is unfortunately being torpedoed, with the official blessing of the same authority that should be in the forefront to stop them.

Wied il-Qasab, meandering from Nadur to Ramla l-Ħamra, is fed by natural springs, originating from the upper garigue. The water percolates down through the strata to the valley bed, sustaining both the valley ecosystem and cultivated fields. A short-sighted permit issued against all technical advice saw the excavation of the water source, devastating historical planning techniques dating back to the times of the Knights, shattering bell-shaped wells that stored precious water resources, eventually cutting off one of the valley springs, while negatively impacting the others. All for the sake of a cemetery, where the dead, directly and indirectly, will now contribute to the destruction of this part of Eco- Gozo.

Dwejra is one of the landmarks of Eco-Gozo.  Looking through the azure window reveals the Mediterranean culture, biodiversity and history. Dwejra is a special area of conservation, part of the EU Natura 2000 network, also proposed as an International Heritage Site. A few weeks ago, Dwejra was made to play prostitute in exchange for economic gain. Tom, Dick and Harry were officially assured that there was no ecosystem in this part of the SAC. They were also lectured on the fact that if the economy does well, the environment usually does better. A couple of horses were eventually filmed trotting on the quarry-sand covering the fossil-rich rocks, with the azure window in the background. The covering of sand sent the eco-sensitive public in a rage, seeing the authority who should have ensured that this did not happen, giving its official blessings. Another under-the-belt blow for Eco-Gozo.

This is the International Year of Biodiversity. Someone, a few weeks back, had another “brilliant” idea for this eco-island – to clean the valleys. With myopic ingenuity, devoid of any ecological sensitivity, and of any environmental management, the Marsalforn Valley was bulldozed.  By all means, let the valleys be cleaned to be in a better position to hold more water, as they used to do in the distant past. But for heaven’s sake this is not the way: descending on valleys and destroying all ecosystems in the bulldozers’ path. The end does not justify the means. The valleys have been neglected, abused and mismanaged for so long.

The bottom line again was the economic gain – time-wise at the expense of social and ecological expense. Who would think of using a bulldozer in St John’s Co-Cathedral to clean the accumulated dust in every nook and cranny and so save on time and expense?

eco-scars and eco-wounds

The extant indigenous protected mature trees in the said valley show the scars and wounds left behind, some with exposed and mutilated roots, in a bed now devoid of species that once flourished in the valley ecosystem. The saplings are all gone. Once, there was an authority that used to protect the environment and would have issued permits with conditions regarding such work in delicate ecosystems.  It also used to monitor the works to ensure no damage was done.

It would not be surprising if Tom, Dick and Harry are again informed that, if the economy does well, the environment will do better and there was no ecosystem in the path of bulldozers.  From the economic short-term point of view, the aim might have been achieved but the social and environmental accounts now show an alarming deficit. Another Eco-Gozo concept sunk beneath the waves. Another case of missing the wood for the trees.

The next step towards the concept of Eco-Gozo now seems to be the proposed development of that idyllic place Ħondoq ir-Rummien. Will the authority that used to protect the environment be taken in by the great financial glitter and dismiss the fragile, little understood and uncared for social and environmental unique values?  Will Tom Dick and Harry be told again such a financial economic weight will raise the social and environmental (deficit) sky-high, which will definitely contribute to the Eco-Gozo myth?

The brilliant idea of an ecological island seems to be slowly but surely fading away into extinction, like so many indigenous species. Eco-Gozo can only bear fruit if the entities that cannot and do not want to take into consideration the social and environmental wealth keep their hands off Gozo.

One is now bound to ask:  Is it Eco-Gozo … or Ecce Gozo?

aebaldacchino@gmail.