Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Residents of Cottonera and non-governmental organisations joined forces on Sunday protesting the proposed extension of the American University of Malta.
One of those who addressed the crowd, argued that the Jordanian developers want to build ‘the wall of Jordan in Cospicua’.
The residents are opposing plans for the construction of a large student dormitory behind the university’s campus, on the existing car park leading to Senglea gate, the extension of the campus into the Knights Building, and the construction of an administrative block between the British and Knights buildings.
Residents gathered around 11am on Sunday morning to voice their concerns against the project.
Joseph Tonna, a doctor by profession, told the crowd that he is certain that ‘the prime minister would support the residents of Senglea’. He added, that the area should remain accessible to the public. He said that the car park at the Maċina should remain an open space, with free access to the public. The group is suggesting an underground park with a garden at street level in the area.
‘Cottonera is attracting tourists’
Dione Caruana, who is from Cospicua but resides in Gozo, said that Cottonera was upgraded and attract tourists. He recalled a time when one would be ashamed to say that they are from Cospicua. Caruana said that the people did not have the intention to disrupt the government’s investment in AUM, but that just because the university had established itself in Cottonera, it did not mean that the place belonged to them.
The residents highlighted that no plans were submitted with the relevant authority ahead of the hearing scheduled for 21 November. They are also concerned that letters sent to MPs elected on the second district and other representatives remained unanswered.
Letters to MPs
Letters asking for support to their cause were sent to MPs elected on the second district, including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, local councils, as well as Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici.
Plans for an extension to the Cospicua campus were already turned down in September. However, fresh plans have been submitted by the developer and will be once again discussed by the Planning Authority board.
The Planning Authority had already turned down a proposal which included the development of a four-storey building and underground parking built on the existing car park before Senglea gate. The directorate had recommended that AUM submits fresh plans before the authority.