Residents urge protection for ecologically sensitive Xemxija site

Over 150 residents of Xemxija Heights, supported by NGOs and local council candidates, have penned an open letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela and other ministers, urging the protection of a garigue site threatened by a proposed 13-storey, 300-apartment development (PA/865/24).

The site, an Area of Archaeological Importance, hosts rare and endemic flora and fauna, including 220 specimens of the Anacamptis urvilleana orchid.

Other indigenous species, such as the Crassula vaillantii, Elatine gussonei, and Neotinia fragrans, hedgehogs, skinks, rabbits, and fairy shrimp, were also identified.

The area also holds significant archaeological remains, including the Xemxija Heritage Trail, cart ruts, Punic tombs, a Roman road and baths, historical apiaries, a farmhouse, an old flour mill, and a WWII pillbox. These remains are popular attractions for locals and tourists alike.

The residents raised concerns about the area’s infrastructure, currently serviced by a single steep, single-lane road, being overwhelmed by the addition of nearly 300 units to the existing 450.

They also request the site be designated as an Area of Ecological Importance Level 1 to protect its unique ecology and archaeological significance.

The residents also wrote that they support the St Paul’s Bay Local Council’s motion for the government to acquire the land for public use, ensuring no development occurs on the historically and archaeologically important site.

Together with the signature of residents and local council candidates, the letter is also signed by Moviment Graffitti, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, the Ramblers Association, Birdlife, the Biodiversity and Ecology Research Group – UM, Għawdix, Nature Trust, Din l-Art Ħelwa and Friends of the Earth Malta.


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