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NGOs meet with Govt on Eastside reclamation

Eyleen Gomez

GONHS, ESG and the Gibraltar Heritage Trust held a “very open and frank discussion” with the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia and Minster for Environment Dr John Cortes on the subject of the Government’s recent invitation for expressions of interest for the development of Gibraltar’s Eastside reclamation.

The groups requested the meeting with the Government to specifically discuss the points released in their press release of July 22 and expressed they were grateful for the swift response and facilitation of a meeting.

The meeting, was held on Tuesday and lasted over an hour. The discussions worked through the concerns and points that the NGOs had on the development of theland and the manner in which Government would like to see it developed.

“Emphasis was placed on the need for a holistic vision for the area,” said a statement from the NGOs.

“The practicalities of clearing the site and protecting its coast were covered, as well as the many possibilities of the area to provide for Gibraltar on many levels. The NGOs expressed particular concern on where else rubble will be deposited once the east side begins to undergo development.”

“Guarantees were given by the Government with regard to the processes involved in selection of any eventual developments and the application of the Planning Process to any schemes that emerge for this area. These would need to consider any Environmental and Landscape impact studies and assessments that are carried out as part of the planning process,” the statement added.

The NGOs underlined that their concerns stemmed from the fact that this is a very large area of real estate and that it is crucial that it be developed in the best possible way for Gibraltar and its community, particularly against the backdrop of Brexit and a worldwide slump as world economies recover from Covid-19. They added they will continue to work and monitor within their respective areas, but all parties left the meeting determined to work to strike the right balance that will leave future generations with a valuable legacy.