Ħaż-Żebbuġ independent councillor Steve Zammit Lupi said he took direct action this morning against the partial demolition of a public garden in his hometown in protest at the lack of consultation by Infrastructure Malta.
“This morning, jiggers appeared in Triq il-Fraxxnu to widen a road and consequently shrink an open space,” Zammit Lupi recounted. “The local council was never consulted or even informed about these works and the residents didn’t know about it either.”
“Any infrastructural work that goes beyond the current footprint of the road and pavement requires a permit, irrelevant whether it’s public land or not. In this case, the authorities didn’t feel they needed to consult with the local council.”
“Why not? Are we here to make up the numbers? Up until this moment, I still don’t understand why the widening is needed. It is my civic duty to speak up when things aren’t done well. That’s what everyone should do.”
“In the light of these shortcomings, I felt that I needed to express my frustrations by physically sitting down on a wall the jiggers were knocking down.”
Ħaż-Żebbuġ mayor Malcolm Paul Galea said the roadworks have been planned for years, and were actually requested by the previous local council. However, he made it clear the current council were not aware of the plans and decried the communication issues the council often experiences “from various organisations and ministers.”
Infrastructure Malta has defended the development, arguing the local council had originally wanted the street to be widened further, but that it will only be using half of the land allocated for this purpose, to render it more accessible to residents whilst minimising the impact on the adjacent area.
“The widening of this street is taking place on government-owned land which is not leased to its current occupants for use as a private garden, since it has been earmarked for the full construction of the street in the past. Infrastructure Malta obtained the required road works permits for the ongoing works from the Transport Authority,” they ended.
What do you make of Steve Zammit Lupi’s statement?