The GSD said it shares the “disappointment and dismay” expressed by many people at the proposed design for the sewage treatment plant at Europa Point.
The GSD acknowledged that the project is essential and that years of pumping raw sewage into the sea must come to an end.
But the party is nevertheless concerned about the impact of the proposed project on the surrounding area.
Trevor Hammond, GSD environment spokesman has written to Minister Cortes asking whether alternative sites were surveyed by either this or the previous administration and, if so, which sites were examined and what conclusions were drawn.
“If for economic or infrastructure reasons Europa Point is the only viable location for the plant, I have asked the minister for the current, harsh design proposal to be re-examined to soften the design and make it less obtrusive in the area,” Mr Hammond said.
“I know that Dr Cortes will have deep concerns about the current proposal and will be keen to work with all stakeholders to ensure this vital project has the minimum possible consequences for the area.”
In response, the Gibraltar Government said the site of the sewage plant at Europa Point had been selected by the previous GSD administration.
“Possible alternative sites have since also been considered and none found to be suitable,” No.6 Convent Place said.
“The design submitted at this stage is subject to change, and Government has already engaged with the architects in order to work on achieving improvements that will minimise the impact on the landscape of the area.”
Last night, the GSD welcomed the government’s move to amend the design of the plant, adding that it was out of keeping with the site and “certainly not envisaged” in the GSD’s plans when in government.
“The GSD fully understands that the location is largely determined by the infrastructure but considered it worthy of enquiry in behalf of the public as it is possible that other opportunities have become available in the seven years that the GSLP have been in office and contemplating this project,” Mr Hammond said.
And in another development, a local resident angry at the Government’s plans for the waste water treatment plant at Brewers Crush, Europa Road, has started an online petition.
The petition seeks to “Stop the Europa Point waste plant – it will ruin Gibraltar’s landscape forever”.
Gaining over 600 signatures in three days, the petition states: “The Government of Gibraltar has applied for an EIA certificate for a new wastewater treatment plant to be built at Europa Point — Gibraltar’s most iconic tourism and recreational area — one of the few bastions of serenity and open space remaining in Gibraltar.”
“The waste plant would be in close proximity to a unique Trinity lighthouse, a children’s playground, and one of Gibraltar’s most architecturally unique places of worship. The waste plant will destroy the Europa Point landscape forever. It must be stopped.”
As well as signatures some people are choosing to leave comments, expressing concern that the plant will be a scar on the Rock’s landscape.
Others are worried about the smell, while others acknowledge that while the plant is needed, it should be built in another location, perhaps even inside the Rock.