MALTATODAY Court Report Friday 28 June 2013 – 17:46
Bumping car attraction owners accused Lands Department of denying them permit because of Bugibba aquarium buffer zone.
The owners of a bumping car and trampoline attraction in Qawra were denied an encroachment permit for their attractions, as the land in question forms part of the national aquarium’s buffer zone.
Joseph and Miriam Lia filed a judicial protest against the Director General of the Lands Department claiming that the department had not objected at their planning application at the outset.
The saga started back in 2012 when the owners were handed a warrant of prohibitory injunction and could not operate in the same area as they did for the past 25 years. The area was taken over and developed into a water park. The couple claimed that the area suggested by the department in 2012 was not large enough for their commercial activity.
The Lias outlined a new place to be used this year. MEPA issued the necessary permits and no entity objected to the allocation of the requested area. However, when the encroachment permit was requested from the Lands Department, it was refused.
The director of lands said that the department did not have a chance to object for the issuing of permits. Furthermore the government is bound by contracts not to permit any commercial activity within 50 metres from the site were the Bugibba Aquarium is being built.
In the judicial protest the couple claimed they would lose out on their business for the second consecutive year. They demanded that the Lands Department should offer them an alternative site where to operate the bumping cars and trampoline attractions and that the department be held responsible for any financial losses.
Lawyers Ian Spiteri Bailey and Victoria Cuschieri signed the judicial protest.