Attard residents have written a letter to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat asking him to put plans for a new road network on hold “to save our environment and safeguard public health,” as the Opposition revealed the architectural firm chosen for the project by direct order was owned by a Labour Party official.
The letter signed by 432 individuals calls on Muscat to intervene and reconsider plans for the controversial ‘Central Link project’ which will eat up agricultural land and increase traffic in the area.
Residents and activists also voiced their frustration at a meeting of parliament’s environment committee on Monday evening during which transport minister Ian Borg and environment minister Jose Herrera were present. The meeting was requested by PN MP Jason Azzopardi.
Azzopardi pointed out that the government hand picked a company – Crowd Net Limited – for the project that linked to a Labour Party official and a Lands Authority employee.The company is owned by William Lewis and his wife Odette Lewis. This is not the first direct order the company was given.
In May transport minister Ian Borg launched the €55 million ‘Central Link project’ which he said will upgrade the infrastructure in the centre of Malta between Mriehel Bypass and Saqqajja Hill.
The project, which should be concluded by 2020, includes the construction of 7.4km of new roads.
Calls were made for plans to be clear as the government kept revising announcements on how many trees were going to be removed.
Following this announcement, residents and environmentalists came together to create the Attard Residents Environmental Network who are calling on government to consider other options before going ahead with its plans.
“In our opinion, other options should be considered such as building an underground tunnel rather than running more arable land and causing a drastic devaluation of our properties.”
The loss of agricultural land along a four-kilometre stretch has drawn the ire of residents who insist that the project would “adversely affect the residents’ quality of life since the particular area in question will from will from a peaceful green area be abruptly transformed into a busy arterial road exposing residents to incessant noise and traffic problems”.