News

MDA insists its Budget proposals as agreed before general election

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

The Malta Developers Association presented a substantial document with concrete proposals for Budget 2018, some of which can be implemented immediately.

MDA President Sandro Chetcuti, who headed a delegation of Council members, augured that the Prime Minister and his Government would continue to achieve further progress and success in its endeavours to take the country to the next level. He praised Government’s initiatives that have truly brought the best of times in terms of employment and a booming economy.

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Both PN leadership contenders request meeting with MDA

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

The two Nationalist Party leadership contenders, Dr Adrian Delia and Dr Chris Said, held separate meetings with the Malta Developers Association Council. The meetings, held at the request of the two candidates, turned out to be two long, fruitful discussions.

Both Dr Delia and Dr Said acknowledged the good work of the MDA and its highly valid contribution to the country.

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older news

The environment and business development: compatible bedfellows

Malta Developers Association President Sandro Chetcuti took part in a roundtable debate on 16 September, 2015, at the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in Valletta.

The debate on the compatibility of business development and the protection of the environment was organised by Din l-Art Ħelwa and the Chamber with the support of the Times of Malta.

Also taking part in the debate were: Simon Molesworth, a leading environmental lawyer; Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association President Tony Zahra; architect Ivan Cachia; Petra Bianchi of DLĦ, and Alan Deidun.

MDA President Sandro Chetcuti (right) during the debate at the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in Valletta

MDA President Sandro Chetcuti (right) during the debate at the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in Valletta

The following is the full text of Mr Chetcuti’s address at the debate:

Every human activity effects the environment – more negatively than positively. Today we are more conscious of the effect of human activity on the environment because we have come to realise that we need to be more careful to avoid humanity from permanently ruining the environment of the world.

I am talking about everyday human activity without which business development is not possible. In principle we have to ensure that this activity does not ruin the environment for ever. All kinds of business activity must be sustainable to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the world as it was created, more than as it was developed by man.

Man is ambitious and this ambition has driven him to so much scientific and technical progress that for some time we concentrated on this progress while forgetting the environment.

The building of the city of Valletta of which we are so proud must have certainly made a negative impact on the environment. So did our population growth and the tourist industry.

I come from the physical development sector – a sector that in Malta is popularly considered as the one most harming the environment. This is a perception more than the truth. I am sure that electricity generation, ship repairing activities, transport and the packaging of consumer goods, for example, did more damage to the environment than development. But I am not here to defend the indefensible. Yes physical development has had a negative effect on our environment, mostly by the increase in building footprint in Malta over the last sixty years or so. As a result we feel the need to upgrade our infrastructure practically all the time. This is, of course, also a business opportunity. Even here we have to be careful and wise to ensure that environment and business development can be compatible bedfellows.

It is no use crying over spilt milk now. But it would be very wise if we look at the future, determined to avoid the mistakes of the past. One of the most important aspects of the relationship between the environment and development is the question of land use. Too many mistakes leading to waste of land have been made in the past and therefore we must be more careful on how to use our land in the future.

Better planning than what we experienced in the past is a necessity if we are to avoid past mistakes. Regeneration of areas already committed to building should be considered a priority and MEPA should adopt a more friendly attitude to such applications.

Unfortunately MEPA has turned the processing of small development applications into a box ticking exercise while ignoring the big picture – the overall impact of a project. As a result many look at MEPA as some monster always seeking how to put applicants in a straightjacket. Then somehow these little diktats of policy are ignored when large projects are processed. Good design and a positive attitude towards the environment indicate that MEPA has to reform this attitude.

As a lobby group for developers, the Malta Developers Association recognises that our land resources are limited and has more than once expressed the view that land outside development zones (so called ODZ) should never be used for development that can be accommodated within existing development zones. This includes such uses as residential units and holiday apartments, warehouses, offices, supermarkets and other amenities that are considered acceptable in residential or industrial areas.

We also believe that there is room for re-development within existing development zones to ensure better land use. The positive socio-economic impact of proposed developments should be a factor to be considered by MEPA when dealing with applications for re-development of abandoned properties. Land in Malta is precious because of its scarcity and wasting land is something that we should avoid at all costs.

Having said that, I do not think that it is impossible for Malta to become a top EU developed state while taking care of the environment. We must be able to think of ways how to minimise the negative impact of business development – not just physical development – on the environment. We need to think of positive impacts on the environment to make up for the negative effects that cannot be avoided.

I can assure you that the idea that the estate developer is some crazy person who builds for the sake of building all over the place is a perception that does not reflect reality. This does not mean that we do not need to keep educating developers to realise how their activity impinges on the environment.

I am sure that with more effort and goodwill environment and business development can become compatible bedfellows.

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