Development of Qormi archaeological site ‘insult to national identity’ – FAA
Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar yesterday strongly objected to a development application proposed within an archaeological complex in Qormi. The application, submitted by PL MP Perit Charles Buhagiar, is requesting the complete development of a site that houses structures over 2000-2500 years old, ranging from the Bronze Age to the Roman Period and beyond, in order to make way for more shops and office space.
The cart ruts found towards the southern extent of the site are believed to be amongst the oldest cart ruts linked to the Grand Harbour. Because the connection between the cart ruts and the harbour is still largely debated, such a unique opportunity to examine these remains could result in a greater understanding of Malta’s role in the development of Mediterranean civilisations between 800-200 BC.
It is inconceivable as to how such a damaging intervention can be considered acceptable by the very authority that should be at the forefront protecting Malta’s heritage. This application cannot be regarded as an acceptable practice of preservation in the 21st century and if approved would be nothing less than the open destruction of our national heritage for yet another speculative commercial development.
FAA noted that this is not the only application of its kind currently being processed by the Planning Authority. Just two weeks ago, FAA submitted an objection for an application in Żbibu Lane, San Ġwann where the applicant is requesting to excavate parts of an archaeological site also housing cart ruts, in order to gain some additional parking spaces despite alternative solutions existing. The preservation of these very same cart ruts had been one of the conditions pertaining to a preceding permit at Żbibu Lane that covered the initial phase of works for this controversial development. FAA notes that in this case, the Superintendence has not given its approval of the proposed works.
FAA called on the Planning Authority to take decisions as a forward thinking authority entrusted with the protection of this nation’s rich past, by recognising the invaluable worth of these sites and providing them with the protection they deserve. The economic development of this island should be allowed to prosper without having to erase its people’s past.