Parliament has granted its unanimous support to the construction of a permanent link between Malta and Gozo.
Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana waved off fears that Gozo’s unique character would be lost as a result of the link, stating that it was up to the Gozo Regional Development Authority to ensure that the development would not have any negative effects.
Opposition MP Chris Said said Gozitans were extremely dependent on connectivity with the Maltese mainland, and that successive governments had done their best to develop such connectivity. He highlighted various amendments put forward by the Opposition to ensure that the project was executed “with attention to the common good”, including carrying out and publishing all necessary studies related to the project.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that infrastructural projects of this nature did not necessarily lead to loss of character in places to which they led, and compared it to the roads leading to Valletta and Rabat. He added that the motion before the House simply expressed Parliament’s will for the project to be carried out, and did not give Government carte blanche.
He added that the exact method of whether to proceed with an above-ground undersea tunnel or with an underground tunnel remained to be seen. While the undersea tunnel would minimise the production of construction waste, it would also lead to massive and irreparable damage to the underwater environment, he said.
Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg described it as a historic moment, adding that Gozitans could no longer be expected to depend on good weather to get to work on time. He concluded by saying that the tunnel would better unite Malta and Gozo while halting the flow of Gozitans who felt obliged to move to Malta to seek career opportunities.