Name: Johann Buttigieg
Designation: Senior Planning Officer, Major Projects Unit
Educational Background: B. Plan
Hobbies: Cooking and reading
1. Can you explain what your role entails and your main areas of responsibility?
As part of the major projects team, my main responsibilities include over-seeing major projects right through the development application process. Major projects, although at times create controversy, are an important element of a country's development. I many focus my work on major government projects. I had the opportunity to work on the South Malta Sewage Treatment Plant, the Flood Relief Project, the Ten-T project and SMART City, to name a few. These projects, although essential for our country's development, present particular challenges. The key to resolving these challenges is very often found in striking the right balance.
2. Could you describe a typical day within your role?
Although most of my day is spent in the office, I do carry out a number of site inspections when the requirement arises. In a typical day you would see me in a number of meetings with other MEPA officers from both the Planning Directorate and the Environment Protection Directorate. I also hold meetings with both applicants and persons that submit their objections to a proposed project. The role of our unit is to ensure that any development is carried out with full respect to both the environment and planning rules and regulations. Through the meetings we get a better understanding of what is being proposed through the project, the impact of the project on the surrounding environment and the concerns some might have on the development.
3. What have the highlights of your career at MEPA been so far?
While one cannot call them highlights, having previously worked within the Direct Action team of the enforcement unit, I have quite a few colourful stories. While working within that unit we had removed a number of illegal developments, some of which made the headlines. Unfortunately this is a side of MEPA’s work that is perhaps not acknowledged enough. MEPA does its best to convince people to remove development illegalities. When they refuse, we have to act.
4. What challenges have you faced/do you face within your role?
The challenges I have now are certainly less physical. They are more mental in that we have the delicate job of ensuring that while the country keeps developing, this cannot be done at the detriment of both our natural and cultural environment.
5. What is your main motivation that keeps you dedicated to delivering a top quality service?
I am a planner by profession. I believe that in a country like ours, small and densely populated, planning is a very important tool. I love my country, I love the quality of life we live in, and I love our cultural and natural heritage. I want to contribute towards their protection. I also want to ensure that our country continues to develop with all the challenges this entails. As a MEPA employee, I feel I have a say in the planning process that ultimately effects, in a very direct way, the quality of life in Malta.