“I’m saddened that I will be removed from here, to make way for a new road” Charlie told the camera. He was referring to the Central Link Project.
It seems that Charlie will be one of the 47 farmers who would be impacted by the construction of the new roads in the Central Link Project. The number was confirmed back in June by the Environment Minister Jose Herrera. The Attard Residents Environment Network sent out a fresh call for objections and included a short comment from the farmer.
Charlie who is sitting on a building stone with some goats looking out from behind the gate, spoke of how he had spent his life working on his farm. The 72-year-old farmer explained that he brought up his family on this farm. Despite his age he stills goes to Ħamrun and St Venera to sell local cheeselets (ġbejniet).
He has been living on the farm since he was 15 years old. He reminisced how he would take his goats to graze; something he can no longer do because of the traffic. He adapted accordingly, however, saying that now they have ample space to roam, and shelter to protect them from the rain.
Charlie said that the proposed project would take up some 25 trees and around five tumoli of land. He said, that he has only a few years left to live, but it saddens him to think that he will probably be removed from his farm to make way for the new road.
Charlie pointed out that there are other farmers who will be negatively impacted by the proposed project, saying that some have water reservoirs and greenhouses.
The Attard Residents Environment Network has been very vocal in expressing itself against the project. The Attard Local Council pronounced itself against the project in mid-August, appealing to the Government to adhere to its own policies.
Until now, over 900 objections have been sent. The representation period is open until the 10th September. The objections cited the take-up of fresh virgin arable land, the increase in traffic which would increase the pollution levels and the marginalisation of Attard residents. The heavy flow of traffic would effectively segregate the communities from their basic amenities and community services.
Video by Attard Residents Environment Network