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Shooting range proposed in Ghajn Tuffieha quarry

A shooting range is being proposed inside a disused quarry covering 10,000 square metres at Ras il-Gebel in Ghajn Tuffieha

James Debono
26 August 2016, 12:33pm
A shooting range is being proposed inside a disused quarry covering 10,000 square metres at Ras il-Gebel in Ghajn Tuffieha, in the vicinity of the Roman Baths and other protected archaeological sites. A planning policy on shooting ranges inside disused quarries is still pending. The application is being presented by shooting enthusiast Patrick Azzopardi, owner of the outlet Shooting Supplies in Mgarr.

Plans presented to the Planning Authority include an earth mound and embankment around the shooting range, a 100-metre shooting range area, a 25-metre shooting range area, three tactical bays and parking spaces for 16 cars. The Planning Authority is currently formulating a new policy regulating the development of shooting ranges. Objectives for the new policy issued in 2014 state that the “use of quarries and military installations” should be considered for the development of shooting ranges. 

The final policy would need to take into consideration the noise and direction of the shooting together with the deposits of lead and other material. The policy is still being finalised. 

Plans to develop a shooting range in the vicinity of the Mount St Joseph retreat house in Mosta were aborted after the Russian-owned U-Group failed a due diligence process required for the allocation of public land in the area. The development was met with protests by residents, the Church – whose Jesuit Order owns the retreat house – and environmentalists.

In December 2015 an extensive shooting range covering a site area of over 10,000 square metres outside development boundaries was proposed in Siggiewi, in the immediate vicinity of the ‘Arka ta’ Noe’ zoo, in an area known as Bur tal-Ghaqba. 

Plans envisioned a car park for 73 cars for visitors, a clubhouse and a classroom for tuition. The development would also include a store, a shooting bay and a tactical bay. The site is described in the application as a ‘disused quarry’. 

But aerial photos indicate that the site has not been used as a quarry in the past 20 years and parts of the site have been reclaimed by vegetation. 

James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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