Devel­op­ment of Qormi ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site ‘in­sult to na­tional iden­tity’ – FAA

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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.

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