Following a meeting with Infrastructure Malta (IM) regarding the highly criticised Mrieħel bypass flyover project, the Qormi the local council stood its ground by listing a number of conditions under which this project can be carried out in order to keep residents’ best interest in mind.
Recently, Qormi farmers and residents, as well as eNGOs and the Opposition, were up in arms against what they described as yet another mysterious road-building project, in which state agency IM plans to build a new flyover in the Mrieħel bypass.
On Tuesday, in a post on its Facebook page, the Qormi local council said that a meeting was set up by Mayor Josef Masini Vento earlier that day wherein this controversial project was discussed, and the council laid out the conditions under which the project should be carried out.
“We concluded that, following the meeting held by the local council with IM on the issue of agricultural land being taken in the San Gwakkin area, and having understood that IM’s aim is to build a flyover are to address the black spot on this road, i.e. in the Fuq tal-Blat II junction, and also to build a cycling lane as well as a ‘pedestrian path’; the local council is taking this position in the best interest of all those living and working in Qormi,” the post read.
The Council said that it recognises the need to address safety on this road, given the tragedies that have taken place since its opening, however, it has to stick with its view that this agricultural land is not only a means of income for farmers and their families, but also essentially one of the few lungs of open space around Qormi.
It called for the land to remain untouched and explained that this can be done by closing the junction for traffic coming from the Mrieħel bypass as both the residents of Fuq tal-Blata II and the industry operating within this same area make use of existing entries from Triq il-Mitħna, Triq il-Kanun and Triq Fleur-de-Lys. Additionally, the cycling lane and pedestrian path should be built on structures that use cantilever engineering.
Thus, the council concluded that it cannot accept more land being taken from Qormi, especially in the circumstance that a rural village has become an industrial field, a national warehouse as well as a commercial centre.
It highlighted the need for open spaces for children, young people and people living in Qormi which are essential for their physical and mental health and that, apart from farmers working on the land, these spaces retain a visually beautiful environment.
Finally, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to a healthy and dignified environment first for everyone living and working in Qormi.
It noted that it remains willing to discuss alternatives to find the solutions needed for important aims that this project tackles.