The Malta Independent 25 May 2024, Saturday
View E-Paper

Gozo Minister says proposed uprooting of trees in Marsalforn is to make room for cycle lane

Sabrina Zammit Tuesday, 23 April 2024, 16:15 Last update: about 1 month ago

The proposed uprooting of trees and the uptake of land along the Marsalforn road is mostly to make room for a proposed 2.5-metre cycle lane, stretching approximately 4 kilometres, Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri said in Parliament.

During his intervention in parliament, following a question by PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami, the minister said that about 45% of the reported 11,000 square metres of agriculturally viable land to be used forms part of the Gorg Pisani Road, which is already a schemed road. He said that even if it weren't listed in this project, it would still have been slowly developed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Following meetings with Din l-Art Ħelwa and the Gozo Regional Council, the minister stated that they agreed that the main characteristic of Marsalforn Road - having trees in the central strips and on the side of the road, should be retained.

Din L-Art Ħelwa Gozo had expressed several reasons as to why the project should be postponed and amended. These reasons include the unnecessary negative impact on the Marsalforn Valley and road, and the lack of assurances about the safety of the valley watercourses and reservoirs. Additionally, the NGO stated that traffic congestion in that area is practically non-existent, and that professional resurfacing and removal of two dangerous spots would be sufficient.

Camilleri mentioned that despite the government having an approved planning permission for the project, it has already updated its construction drawings following consultations with both entities. He added that there might have been some misunderstanding in the process because despite the ministry sending the updated drawings to both entities, these were still not updated on the PA's website.

He noted that Din l-Art Ħelwa has expressed an inclination for the cycle lane not to happen, to safeguard both the trees and the land. The minister said that if the cycle lane were not to happen, this could be an opportunity to afforest the area with more trees. However, he mentioned that on the other hand, the GRC has expressed an opinion favouring the cycle lane, as the stretch which goes along approximately 4 kilometres might present itself as the only opportunity for a person to travel from one village to the next through an alternative method of transportation.

On Monday, a Din L-Art Helwa official said that the NGO is hopeful that discussions with the Ministry for Gozo and Planning ultimately prove fruitful and that amendments to the project plans which adequately address people’s concerns are finalised and made official.

Regarding the Gorg Pisani Road, the Minister said that there was unanimous agreement between both entities, the Victoria Local Council, and the government. Hence, the project on this part of the road will commence, while further meetings are scheduled before further decisions are made regarding the development within Marsalforn Road.


  • don't miss