Photo credit: Times of Malta
A fuel station in Gżira is going to be relocated to part of the Ġnien Il-Kunsill tal-Ewropa, after an appeal launched by the local council was refused, sparking furious reactions from the local council.
Currently, the fuel station is located right beside the bridge that leads to Manoel Island, around 100 metres away from the new planned destination of the station.
The plans state that the fuel station is being relocated as part of a “road widening exercise”, paving the way for a planned decrease in traffic congestion in the busy seaside street.
The existing site footprint is of around 533 square metres, yet the new site is expected to be an increased 660 square metres, taking up a significant part of the gardens found on the Gżira strand.
The area that is set to be transformed into the fuel station currently contains two she-oak trees and an olive tree, with all three of these trees set to be uprooted as part of the project.
The Gżira council’s appeal against this station with the Planning Authority was turned down on Thursday.
Mayor Conrad Borg Manché stated that he was “immensely disappointed” by the fact that the council’s appeal was refused.
He added that such “uglification” should not stand just because “of old policies and widening of roads that today make no sense”.
He also said that he cannot believe how the “fuel station will now be next to the only open space in the most populous locality on the island”.
The original place of the fuel station was still seen as an act of “madness” in the eyes of Major Borg Manché as it was built right next to the shore.
Lawyer and environmentalist Claire Bonello added that the move is a “cruel insult to the people of Gżira”, with this being one of the few green spaces in a locality that “has been ravaged by construction and commercialised intensely to the detriment of residents”.
The local council will be meeting urgently in order to try and discuss the matter whilst also checking any of the legal options available in order to go against the relocation.