Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Infrastructure Malta’s plans for tunnels and roads are aimed at serving big developers, in the area of Pembroke, Swieqi and St. Julian’s, fifteen NGOs and a group of residents said in a joint statement on Tuesday. The coalition of NGOs and residents lambasted plans for a long route – part road, part tunnel – which would lead to the proposed db Group project.
The plans were published by the Planning Authority in October, months after Infrastructure Malta had announced the project on its social media in May. The announcement had prompted independent candidate Arnold Cassola to file a complaint with the Ombudsman. The latter had then urged Infrastructure Malta to publish the plans in October.
The coalition sounded the alarm on plans made public by Infrastructure Malta, noting that the agency shrouded the plans in secrecy until the very last minute before the commencement of the objection period. In their joint statement, the coalition decried the lack of time for the public to understand the real implications of the proposed plans.
‘The project will do very little to address the severe traffic problems experienced by residents,’ the group said, claiming that the tunnels and roads are designed to accommodate big developers and their ambitions for the area, including db Group’s project on former ITS site.
The road which leads to the tunnel would ‘obliterate’ a natural area in St. Patrick’s Pembroke while the tunnel would be located under a Natura 2000 site with very likely negative impact as regards noise pollution and freshwater biodiversity.
The Paceville Masterplan had included a tunnel in Pembroke which would have served the entire area by passing under St. Andrew’s. According to the now shelved masterplan, the green area in St Patrick’s would have remained intact.
The new plans include three local tunnels which according to the group would ‘simply serve the db Group and other possible large-scale commercial projects in the area.
Impact on the quality of life
Since the new plans do not take into consideration the residents, the NGOs noted that the quality of life of those living in the area would be negatively impacted as traffic would get closer to residences in Pembroke and Swieqi. The tunnel proposed under Triq l-Għarbiel was cited, saying that this borders houses of hundreds of Swieqi residents.
“The project will make life completely miserable for residents during the construction period, which is expected to take many years due to its complexity,” the NGOs stated.
The statement was signed by a group of Pembroke and Swieqi residents, and fifteen NGOs: Archaeological Society of Malta, Attard Residents Environmental Network, Bicycle Advocacy Group, BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Futur Ambjent Wieħed, Green House, Isles of the Left, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta, Ramblers Association Malta, Triq l-Għarbiel Residents Group and Żminijietna – Voice of the Left.