The issue of connectivity between Malta and Gozo has always been an issue yet currently, it has become the hottest topic in Gozo. Last Monday, the Maltese Parliament anonymously voted in favor of the proposed tunnel project between Malta and Gozo, in which the Green Party sent out an email this afternoon to comment on. The Green Party’s comment in their email which struck me the most was;
“L-iskop li tkun iffaċilitata l-mobilità bejn Malta u Għawdex jista’ jintlaħaq faċilment permezz ta’ servizz rapidu bil-baħar (fast ferry service) bejn l-Imġarr Għawdex u diversi partijiet mal-kosta ta’ Malta u dan mingħajr ma jinħolqu impatti ambjentali sostanzjali.”
Clearly, the Green Party has very few Gozitan residents in its party. The fast-ferry service and a fourth ferry are simply short-term methods; needed ones, yes, but short-term methods. The Gozo-Malta tunnel, or whatever other method of connectivity, will take years to complete, thus focusing on short-term methods is essential.
The Green Party continued in their email to say; “L-impatti ambjentali li se tiġġenera l-mina proposta bejn Malta u Għawdex mhux biss l-iskart tal-kostruzzjoni li jirriżulta mit-tħaffir u li bih ser tinħoloq pjaga oħra ta’ reklamazzjoni ta’ baħar f’lokalitajiet li s’issa għad ma tħabbrux imma. Il-mina, jekk issir, se żżid sostanzjalment il-moviment ta’ karozzi bejn il-gzejjer u dan kontra dak li jipprovdi l-pjan nazzjonali tat-trasport li jesiġi li l-karozzi fit-toroq jonqsu, mhux jiżdiedu.”
Gozo certainly is the “greener island” and Gozitans certainly do not want Gozo to end up becoming another St. Julian’s, however such fright of sky-rising buildings in Gozo can be easily controlled with the right planning strategies; strategies which were not taken into account with most of central Malta. Construction development needs to be controlled in Gozo; this is no joke. It is somewhat an atrocity that we should put financial interest first before a personal and economic need; connectivity between Gozo and Malta is a personal need.
Cars will still go to Gozo whether by ferry, tunnel or any other alternative method proposed for connectivity such as the metro-system. If going to Gozo is necessary, then people will use whatever method there is available to go to Gozo.
The connectivity issue is a personal issue for Gozitans. Simply stating that Gozitans are fine with just another ferry is truly not understanding. Such environmental impacts caused by any connectivity method need to be researched properly before any opinion of the Gozo-Malta tunnel can be made. With all due respect; the Green Party made a rash decision regarding the tunnel option. Any proposal for connectivity between Malta and Gozo is still yet far behind since little research has been done for such options.
Gozitans do not go to Malta for luxury, but because they are forced to since Gozo does not provide everything such as hospital services, education and employment, amongst other reasons. The few should not suffer due to the greedy construction planners. Furthermore, the construction waste generated to create the tunnel can certainly be used to create a small island off of Malta’s south coast in which that could become another St Julian’s.
Monday’s vote in favor of the proposed tunnel is a sign of progress; the Maltese Government is actually doing something regarding Gozo’s connectivity issue. However, what needs to be done now, is that of informing citizens of all of the methods which can be done regarding connectivity between Malta and Gozo; this being done with unbiased research and finalized proposals. There is also the metro-system option which people are not informed about enough since no research has been done and no one cares to discuss it. Even the tunnel option is being too highly discussed when there could be some disadvantages to it. Point is, everything needs to be put out on the table since this is a very big project and it needs to be done properly. It is only then that citizens can make an informed decision as to which project best fits Gozo to be fully connected to the main island.