12th August 2019, 20:27
Just over a year since the Town Planning Act was gazetted, it has still not been put into effect.
This means that Government projects are still not subject to DPC approval, despite manifesto commitments. Presently, Government projects go before the Development and Planning Commission for advice and guidance only.
The GSLP-Liberal manifesto of 2011 pledged that Government projects would be subject to the planning process, and the 2015 manifesto said they would be subjected to approval once the Town Planning Act comes into effect.
The Command Paper came out in 2015, and the bill was passed in Parliament in 2018, with the Act gazetted on the 2nd of August last year.
Speaking to GBC last summer, the Minister for Planning, Paul Balban, said it had not yet been commenced, however, because there were "a few technical matters" that needed to be addressed first. Asked when it would be implemented, he said the "timeframe should be short".
The Government did not give a reason for the delay taking over a year, nor categorically confirm the Act would be implemented before the general election, in response to GBC questions this week. Instead, it said it is “confident” that it is now “very close” to the commencement of the Act, and restated that it was the GSLP Liberals which first offered its projects up for scrutiny by the DPC and representations from the public.
A number of Government projects have gone before the DPC for guidance and advice only, either for a first appearance or to follow up on specific aspects, since the Town Planning Act was gazetted but not commenced. These include: the new schools projects, Hassan Centenary Terraces, Bob Peliza Mews, Chatham Views, the upcoming wastewater treatment plant, and the Coaling Island Land Reclamation project.