(SDA) supports action on Public Safety Issues

March 30, 2006 at 3:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South District Association (SDA) supports action on Public Safety Issues

The SDA has taken note of the recent letters and reports that have appeared in the media regarding public safety issues.  In particular, the issue that has received the greatest coverage is that of the overhead cranes operating in close proximity to St. Anne’s School.  The Association wholeheartedly supports the action parents have taken to highlight their concerns.  On one occasion, at least, following an incident during a windy day their children were evacuated from the school playground.  Their requests for further reassurances, which are entirely justified, seem to have been met by official indifference and standardised replies, even though they are only trying to ensure that ‘going to school’ does not become a dangerous activity for their children.  The SDA sympathises with the plight of the parents as this treatment reflects exactly the attitude that the Association has experienced in relation to its own concerns over the Rosia Tanks/Nelson’s View development.

The SDA believes that given the scale and number of developments that are being announced in
Gibraltar there is an urgent need to re-evaluate the manpower available and the effective independence of the Health and Safety Inspectors under the Factory Inspectorate and the Environmental Agency.  These bodies’ primary aim is a duty to protect public health and ensure that all safety legislation is being complied with.  When big developers on large budgets start cutting corners to protect profits who gets hurt……can you guess?

Part of the benefits to the local community from the economic boom that these new developments should bring is a modernisation of these agencies, so that all relevant legislation and codes of practice are written into the planning permissions and developers know that if they are caught operating outside of these rules they will be dealt with firmly.  If, as the SDA understands, these departments are currently overstretched and understaffed then it is likely that they will be swamped by the pace of change coming in the next few years.

Recently the SDA highlighted the presence of asbestos on the Rosia Tanks site, asked for information to allay residents’ fears and for action to be taken to ensure that the asbestos was safely removed.  The Association has to report that the government agencies tasked with protecting public health were evasive, slow to react to complaints or take action and have failed to back any of their bland assurances with any hard facts.

While the SDA understands that some in the community believe that its only intention is to slow down or stop the development at any cost by scaremongering on asbestos, it believes that most people would not condone the teaching of a child that fire burns by allowing the infant to put it’s hand in the flame? Asbestosis is a long-term terminal illness and must be treated with full responsibility and the true gravity it deserves. Accountability from officials is hard to extract in 20-30 years time so we must have confidence that they are doing it right NOW!

Public relations and media campaigns that provide honest fact and real information are an essential part of modern democracy, rumour and misinformation will only keep the population ignorant of the dangers they face and increase the risk of being ‘burnt’.

SOUTH DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

 St. Anne’s School Website

The lull is now over

March 30, 2006 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PRESS-RELEASE – 29th March 2006

The lull is now over.  New machinery moved in on site this afternoon and demolition works have commenced once again.  Tank No 1 which has been intact up until now is in the process of being breached.

The South District Association continues to oppose the destruction of these historic tanks and reiterates its position that the "affordable" homes proposed can be built on another site.

Only yesterday another 19-storey luxury development at Kings Wharf was announced, on yet another site that could have provided "affordable" homes for local families.

SOUTH DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

Gibraltar World Heritage Status Bid withdrawn

March 7, 2006 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The South District Association (SDA) is astonished and dismayed at the position adopted by the Chief Minister on GBC’s Newswatch programme broadcast last night in respect to the application for UNESCO World Heritage Status for Gibraltar.


It was this same Government who submitted an application to have ‘Fortress Gibraltar and the Gibraltar Defences’ placed on the UK list to UNESCO for consideration as a World Heritage site.  For them to now belittle and bring into question the validity of this process makes no sense whatsoever.


The announcement by the Chief Minister last night that he has made yet another of his ‘balanced’ decisions, namely, to withdraw Gibraltar from the UK list applying for UNESCO World Heritage status is, in the SDA’s opinion, the only way he can now justify the unjustifiable.  Having stated in the media on numerous occasions and even, in his recent, Sky News interview that the Rosia Tanks are just some old water tanks with no heritage importance, he cannot now risk the embarrassment of being taken off the UK list precisely because of their destruction.  ICOMOS-UK, the organisation evaluating the application for UNESCO World Heritage, included the Victualling Yard and the Water Tanks as being an integral part of the fortifications.  They wrote to the CM asking him to halt the demolition pointing out that the sites are now part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List but this appeal has been ignored.  The Tentative List text states the ‘sites listed are protected and improved legislation is currently in preparation’.


The SDA would like to ask the Government exactly how they have come to make this so called ‘balanced’ decision on heritage versus ‘affordable’ housing.  This decision is bizarre when one considers that it has not commissioned its own Heritage Division to survey and evaluate this site.  Surely a balanced decision is reached after studying and evaluating all aspects of this matter not just one.  The Association wonders if the silence from the Minister for Heritage and the entire Heritage Division actually speaks volumes.  Are they now redundant?


The Chief Minister in his interview last night gave the reason for dropping the application as being the fact that if the whole of Gibraltar is listed then the Government would be having to ask the UN to approve all future developments in Gibraltar.  He then went on to admit that that was what he believed would be the case but that he was not actually sure.  So are Gibraltar’s fortifications and defences now going to miss out on this unique opportunity to aspire to be listed alongside other World Heritage sites such as the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Egypt because of what appears to be a poorly researched opinion?


The suggestion proposed by the Chief Minister that in future Gibraltar could reapply for this status for individual buildings is, the SDA believes, not only disingenuous but also quite unrealistic. There is no single site or building that by itself could be put forward for an application for UNESCO World Heritage Status. This is quite apart from the fact that it would take at least another 10 to 15 years to even reach the stage this application is at now, if at all possible. 


In the SDA’s opinion, the significant fact here is that ICOMOS-UK who evaluated Gibraltar’s application and submitted it to UNESCO for inclusion in the tentative list of World Heritage Status sites, very much considers the Rosia Tanks as part of the fortifications that comprise ‘Fortress Gibraltar’ and that their demolition therefore endangers the application for World Heritage Status.


The South District Committee


 

Press Release – 7th March 2006

Gibraltar World Heritage Status Bid withdrawn

 

PRESS RELEASE – 4th MARCH 2006

March 4, 2006 at 6:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The South District Association has taken note that the destruction of the Rosia Water Tanks has commenced and that it may not now be possible to save them all from destruction.

 

However the SDA wishes to make clear that whilst this unnecessary destruction continues it is stepping up its campaign against the construction of the Nelson’s View project.

 

The Association is changing the main emphasis and from now will focus on issues of health and safety, environmental and social impact, schooling, traffic congestion and so on.  In addition it will support the efforts of residents living in the proximity of the development to have their quality of life protected and their property rights respected.

 

SOUTH DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

Press Release – 3rd March 2006. We witness the beginning of the end of the Rosia Water Tanks

March 3, 2006 at 11:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
It is a sad day today, as we witness the beginning of the end of the Rosia Water Tanks
It is a sad day today, as we witness the beginning of the end of the Rosia Water Tanks

It is a sad day today, as we witness the beginning of the end of the Rosia Water Tanks

Press Release – 3rd March 2006

The beginning of the end for the Rosia Water Tanks

The Hon Peter Caruana QC, Chief Minister and his Government will go down in the history of Gibraltar as having sanctioned the unnecessary destruction of part of one of Gibraltar’s most historic sites.  All appeals from the 3 MEPs for Gibraltar; International, United Kingdom and Gibraltar heritage organisations; eminent local and international conservationists and historians and many local voices have been completely ignored.

This is a Government that does not want to listen to anyone that is even mildly critical of the decisions that it makes, even when, in this particular instance, it has known all along that the most logical and reasonable solution has always been to save the Water Tanks and move this project to another site.

OEM International Limited with the support of the Gibraltar Government has now commenced the destruction of the Water Tanks themselves.  In doing so they have compromised the integrity of the Rosia Victualling Yard and Mole, a unique world heritage site

The Chief Minister has even ignored an appeal from ICOMOS-UK, the organisation that is involved in progressing a UNESCO World Heritage application for the United Kingdom, part of which includes, what it describes as “fortress Gibraltar.”

In view of this where will this leave fortress Gibraltar’s application to be considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

SOUTH DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

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