The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

Infrastructure Malta to evaluate alternative plans by Save Sta Lucija Open Spaces Network

Thursday, 15 August 2019, 10:12 Last update: about 7 months ago

Transport Minister Ian Borg will be forwarding a proposal by the Save Sta Lucija Open Spaces Network regarding an alternative proposal for works in the locality to Infrastructure Malta for review, the Network said in a statement.

The Network gave an alternative proposal for the works going on in the locality that would require less land than is currently planned, it said.

On 21st May 2017, government representatives, together with the Santa Lucija local council and Sports Malta officials, inaugurated the new Sta Lucija jogging track and an upgraded open-air gym at the Santa Lucija woodland running alongside Tal-Barrani Road. When the planning application for the Tal-Barrani Underpass was submitted on 2ndOctober 2017, many people imagined it would require the unfortunate removal of ficus trees in Tal-Barrani Road, and possibly of the trees at the Sta Lucija roundabout, the group previously said. "But they never imagined that the application was proposing to destroy a huge part of the woodland surrounding the jogging track inaugurated a mere four and a half months earlier by the government for the cost of  €90,000."

On Monday 12th August 2019, Save Sta Lucija Open Spaces Network representatives had a meeting with the Minister for Infrastructure Ian Borg.  In this meeting, the Network submitted a concept plan of an alternative design for Tal-Barrani entrance to the Sta Lucija Underpass, it said.

"The proposed alternative entrance comprises an underground tunnel and so would require much less land take-up than the design contemplated by Infrastructure Malta.  The auxiliary roads near the Sta Lucija roundabout would be on top of the underground tunnel.  In this way, the Sta Lucija jogging track green area would be spared."

Borg undertook to forward the Network's proposal to Infrastructure Malta for an evaluation based on technical, contractual and financial feasibility.

In the meeting, the Network reiterated its support for infrastructural improvements to alleviate traffic congestion.  The meeting also covered issues over which the Network and Minister Borg hold different views.  "However, the spirit of the meeting was positive.  The Network wishes to express its appreciation to Minister Borg for accepting to meet and hear the Network's position."

Infrastructure Malta will present the conclusion of its evaluation to the Save Sta Lucija Open Spaces Network in an upcoming meeting. The Network augurs that the meeting with Infrastructure Malta will be held at the earliest so that if there is a feasible alternative, the environmental damage to the Sta Lucija green area will be halted as soon as possible.


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