Planned fuel station relocation to Gżira gardens confirmed on appeal

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A part of the Council of Europe Gardens in Gżira will have to make way for a petrol station after the town’s local council lost its appeal against plans to relocate a facility lying just a short distance away.

The Environment and Planning Review Tribunal confirmed the granting of the permit to relocate the service station located just opposite Manoel Island. The application for the relocation had been made in 1999, in light of a planned widening of the Strand.

Three mature trees – an olive tree and two non-native she-oaks – will have to be uprooted to make way for the new service station, whose footprint will be larger than the one it will replace.

Though the local council presented 12 reasons for its opposition to the process, all were ultimately rejected by the tribunal’s three members, namely Joseph Borg, Abigail Bugeja and Robert Sarsero.

Gżira mayor Conrad Borg Manché took to Facebook to express his disappointment at the decision.

Ninsab immensament iddiżappuntat wara li sibt il-ħin u qrajt bir-reqqa is-sentenza tal-appell li tat illum l-EPRT….

Posted by Borg Manché Conrad on Thursday, July 2, 2020

“With all due respect, I expected much better than the justification of this destruction because of old policies and the widening of roads which no longer makes any sense today,” Borg Manché maintained.

“It was already insane to give a permit for a petrol pump on the foreshore – which is illegal in itself – let alone in a nearby garden close to the only open space available for our children.”

The council had unanimously decided to appeal the relocation, and the mayor announced that an urgent meeting would be called to discuss the way forward. It may decide to take the matter to the Law Courts.

In another post on Facebook, the mayor highlighted that the garden had been planned when Gżira was still a rural area, only for parts of it to be slated for destruction now that the locality has become one of the most densely-populated parts of the island.

Meta fil-Gzira ma kien hemm xejn hlief gheliqi missirijietna hasbu biex jaghmlu gnien xorta wahda. Illum li mifqughin…

Posted by Borg Manché Conrad on Friday, July 3, 2020

“I cannot make heads or tails of this reasoning,” he mused.