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  • ESG Radio Broadcast 13/03/14

    ESG Radio Newsletter

    Key Words:- Development and Planning, Capt of the Port departure, The Marriott Hotel, Football Stadium, CUTW

    We’d like to run through a number of issues we have recently focused on as we believe these are of public interest.


    When talking about development its possibly helpful to you to note down upcoming Dev and planning meetings as there are an unusual number of these coming up over the next few weeks. Five in fact, between now and the end of April. This is because apart from the usual high number of moderately sized applications there are also a few large-scale proposals, which take up a lot of time and discussion at these sessions. So, notebook ready?

    OK, General meetings will be held on the 18th March at the later time of 10.30am, and then on the 27th March and 24th April at the usual time of 9.30am.

    For the Mariott Hotel application, this will see a focused DPC session at 3.30pm on the 21st March. The final one to mention here is the Football Stadium presentation that will take place on the 8th April, also at 9.30am. This info will also be posted on our website as from tomorrow. As per, Town Planning will post agendas for all mtgs a week beforehand accessible by the public from their website. All meetings to be held at the John Mack Hall. Please contact us if you have any queries or need more information.


    This week the ESG has released two press statements – one relates to the announcement made in the media of the decision by the Captain of the Port, Captain Roy Stanbrook, to leave Gibraltar. This is in the midst, as many of us are aware, of a growing number of major developments occurring within and in close proximity to the Port, and of the actual relocation of much of the Ports administration and offices to the Retrenchment Block area. Clearly a steady and experienced Captain is needed to oversee and manage these projects which come within the Ports authority, and it is therefore seen as a huge loss to Gibraltar that his decision to leave has come at the present time. We have, and continue to publicly call for a holistic plan for the port area as best planning practices demand. We take this opportunity to thank Captain Stanbrook for his help and co-operation whenever we have sought it and wish him all the best.


    The other issue is the football stadium which carries significant public interest. We have welcomed the project directors efforts to provide information of the proposed stadium, and at the proposed site- the reason why we have made our views public is that there is a strong perception within the community that this is a fait accomplait – a done deal – if only because this is the only site that is understood to have been made available by Govt. as landlords. We believe there are considerable environmental impacts from the proposed location at Europa Point and call for all options to be assessed for suitability and environmental implications before any further decisions are taken.  For a closer look at our environmental concerns please visit our website at esg-gib.net for the full article. Also a reminder that the DPC will be meeting to consider this proposal on the 8th April at 9.30am. GBC will also be holding a Viewpoint programme next Thursday 20th March to discuss this issue. Promises to be lively and we call upon all those interested to phone or email in to GBC and ensure the widespread public feeling on this issue is reflected.


    That’s it for now – we shall have a CUTW special in two weeks time, be sure to catch it! This year’s key date is the 20th September, celebrating our tenth year of clean up action on the Rock!


    Visit our website which also publishes our radio broadcasts and all press releases – here it is again esg-gib.net – you can email us on esg@gibtelecom.net or call us on 200-48996 or 54960000 and we shall be happy to take your queries.

    ESG Views on Europa Point venue for Stadium 11/03/14

    ESG Press Release on Europa Point and Football Stadium   11th March 2014

    Key elements – Landscape – Carbon Footprint – Traffic issues – Community Amenity – Tourist Value – Renewable Energy – Sewage Treatment Plant – Impact on UNESCO bid – Alternative Site –

    The ESG has also studied plans for the proposed football stadium at Europa Point and considers it to be a far from ideal location.  In environmental terms, the stadium would radically transform an open, peaceful area important for both tourism and the local community. This brutal conversion cannot, in our view, be softened by any redesign. The group also agrees with the Heritage Trust and the many voices from our community, that another site must be found.


    Apart from the impact on the special landscape at Europa, the matter of mobilising thousands of people to and from the border right across Gibraltar, using our already busy roads raises serious concerns. Several key roads would need to be closed for long periods on a match day and the knock-on effects on other road systems would be significant. Add to this an unpredictable border and these suddenly become important issues that will have a major bearing on whether the logistics, however well planned, are executable.  The pollution created by the large numbers of large diesel buses would be highly problematic, particularly within the Dudley Ward tunnel system.


    Moving on to the actual stadium the ESG is also concerned about its carbon footprint, during construction and once operational. Water consumption alone will be significant, especially if real grass is to be used. The group also urges that rainwater collection and renewable energy technology is built into the basic design to meet the stadiums energy requirements and to offset part of its footprint created by the high volume of fresh water needed to support the grassy terrain.


    Europa Point will also see a Sewage Treatment Plant built near the Mosque that could produce some smell, however well controlled. The two GSM antennae currently placed at the furthermost point near the lighthouse would require moving with these possibly relocated to the top of the new stadium, potentially causing health and safety concerns.


    Another matter for consideration is how a large stadium such as that proposed will impact on the special coastal area contained within the UNESCO bid. This includes Gorham’s Cave.


    The ESG understands the heavy weather conditions at Europa Point are influencing the design of the proposed stadium as well as the materials that can be used. As well as the sea spray and intense sunshine there is always a constant strong breeze/winds prevalent in the area. Littering associated with large-scale events poses a significant environmental hazard by way of lightweight rubbish being blown into the surrounding seas.


    There is insufficient information as to why alternative sites such as the Victoria Stadium, or the East Side reclamation cannot be used instead. It is hoped that the East Side location will be given the utmost consideration, as it is widely believed to meet the needs of a new football stadium. Even though there will likely be an additional time period involved before completion, if the east side replaces Europa Point, the benefits to Gibraltar as a whole are very significant and worth the wait. The ESG believes the GFA should be offered a design based on this site. An alternative “home” stadium in Portugal would need to be implemented during this interim period.

    The ESG hopes that as landlords, the Gibraltar Government, will respond to the many concerns raised by the ESG and others in the community and agrees to offer the GFA an alternative site.

    Departure of the Captain of the Port March 2014


    ESG on the departure of the Captain of the Port                                                                                                        11th March 2014


    The ESG is sorry to learn of the sudden departure of the present Captain of the Port. There are major changes going on both within and adjacent to the Port area which require careful management and supervision. The new Port building set to be built near the Retrenchment block is another ambitious project which should have been overseen by the team under whom the concept was launched.


    We therefore regret the Captains decision to leave Gibraltar during this critical time but thank him for his co-operation and help when we have had reason to require assistance from his office.


    The ESG believes the Port area is in need of a holistic plan to manage the rapidly growing number of large projects and industry setting up within its footprint and has publicly called for such a plan on several occasions.


    The group further believes, given the scale of the challenges facing the Gibraltar Port Authority, that the departure of Captain Roy Stanbrook is premature.  His valued experience and contribution towards the Rocks’ maritime affairs will be sorely missed.