4th October 2016
The Ramblers’ Association of Malta wishes to welcome the fact that the National Park between Marsascala and Xgħajra, covering an area which is being referred to as Inwadar, is in the process of being implemented.
Athough this park is mentioned in the Marsascala North Local Plan of 2006, it had not yet been implemented, and has often been and still is the target of the dumping of waste and debris. The association thus hopes that with a new management structure, the vandalism of this beautiful area will be put to an end. Parts of the park need to be sorely cleaned up and enforcement needs to be stepped up.
The association notes that although this area is already scheduled as an Area of Ecological Importance and a Site of Scientific Importance by the Local Plan, and as an area of High Landscape Protection by the SPED, over the years there have been reports which have suggested that the site is also given further protection by scheduling it as an Area of Agricultural Value. Now that the park is being implemented, the opportunity should be taken to also award this latter designation.
The association also wishes to make it clear that it does not agree with the commercialisation of the park in any way. There has always been a concern that managment plans for these sites (and especially those with Natura 2000 designation), could have these most unwelcome outcomes, and one hopes that the Government will reassure the public that this will not be the case. In addition the association believes that no new structures should be built in the Inwadar park under the cover of increasingly deceitful pretences, such as ODZ restaurants masquerading as interpretation centres.
The association also welcomes the stock take of the rich natural, cultural and historical resources which has been conduucted on site as part of the Management Plan Brief. The Ramblers believe that this conclusively gives the lie to those who tried to degrade the site in the public mind as a wasteland, which could thus be exploited for development purposes.
On the other hand, the association does not understand how the projected American University campus, which will be taking up space which was assigned to the park itself by the local plan, is even remotely compatible with the level of protection awarded to this site and with the presence of such important natural heritage.
It is evident that the construction of dormitories and sports facilities on this site, which thus have no educational value whatsoever, will further damage and degrade the environment at this site. The Ramblers thus reiterate their objection to these inappropriate facilities and will be further opposing them.
The association wishes to conclude by commending the efforts which are being taken by a number of Marsascala local counsellors to promote further open spaces in their locality, in particular relating to the demolishing of the derelict Jerma Hotel.
On the other hand, the proposals which are being floated to replace this structure with more apartments or high rise buildings is simply unacceptable. Residents should not accept a further lowering of their quality of life. Marsascala has been the target of rampant overdevelopment over the past years and residents should not be duped into allowing those who only want to line their pockets to further ruin their locality.