Letters: 17th August 2014

Sand dunes occupy 25 hectares of land in Malta
Sand dunes occupy 25 hectares of land in Malta

Preventing extinction of the Sea Daffodil

I was fortunate enough this summer to discover “White Tower Bay” in Armier. The beach is not that overpopulated on a Sunday, even though there are many boathouses surrounding the coast. Up to a certain extent, I would still consider it as virgin compared to all the other beaches on the island.

On my third visit and by chance, I discovered that there is a special sand dune which is supposed to be protected because of its ecological importance. However, I was told that some vandals broke the protective chains and link fence.

The reason for the sand dune being protected is simple. First of all, this sand dune is one of five remaining sand dunes in Malta. The second is that in this particular case, the Sea Daffodil (pankrazju in Maltese) grows there in summer. Thirdly, this flower is about to become extinct and we cannot afford to lose more local and rare species.

At present, the dune in Ghajn Tuffieha is being given its ecological importance again and hopefully rehabilitated to its original habitat. May I strongly suggest that White Tower Bay is rehabilitated again to its original habitat. Hopefully, car drivers would not be able to continue parking their cars over the dune and to make it completely inaccessible to the public. Signs, at eye level, depicting the importance of the area, would help as well. This way the flora there would be able to thrive again.

One more thing needs to be mentioned regarding this bay. The seagrass should be cleaned from day one of the summer season and regularly thereafter. I have noticed that nearly two months had to pass before it was cleaned for the first time. Unfortunately, this was not followed through. Not only is seagrass an eyesore and hindrance to bathers but it is harmful to the bulbous plant (Pancratium maritimum) as well.

Sand dunes occupy 25 hectares of land and I am sorry to say we still cannot protect this small area on our tiny island. Thus may I challenge the Mellieha local council, the Ministry of Agriculture, MEPA, NGOs and all the other responsible stakeholders to look much closer at this threatened habitat and its endangered species.

Leonard Schembri,



A puzzle of a mayor

I’ve been coming to Gozo every year for a long time now and in my opinion it’s like heaven on earth. I lost the rose coloured glasses a long time ago and realise that like everywhere else on earth it has its faults and its problems but when you love a place the way I do you try to accept those things. I’ve been watching the process of the resurfacing of the square in front of the church in Qala and have to say that the guys did a really good job there, but as usual it has not been without its problems.

The first problem arose when the Qala mayor decided that the trees should be removed. I’ve noticed over the years that Malta seems to have a thing about destroying trees, even though they are not exactly plentiful on the islands, and come up with all sorts of excuses to do so.

I think on this occasion it was because birds roosted in the trees and did their business on the benches below. A problem, by the way, that is easily solved by providing the benches with covers as has been done elsewhere. Another excuse is that the roots damage pavements and water pipes. Back home here we have oak trees and chestnut trees growing beside pavements and they damage nothing. Anyway the trees survived this time, apart from the two palms, which I guess was a way for the mayor to save face.

Now I’ve heard that he wants to close the square off and stop cars from using it in case they dirty the new surface. What is this guy’s problem? That’s like spending good money on an expensive umbrella and then not taking it out in case it gets wet! Now as far as I know that square belongs to the church, so does the mayor have a problem with the church which would explain why he keeps going against their wishes, or does he just want to stir things up for the people of Qala? If it’s the latter what exactly is his agenda? What does he get out of causing all this trouble for a village he is supposed to represent?

 If the mayor decides to answer this perhaps he can also explain where the benches from the square have disappeared to? From what I have heard there was not a single bench available during the Festa. Was the council ordered to remove these and if so why? If that is not the case were they stolen and if so has a report been made to the police?

If I remember correctly the mayor was saying before this work was carried out that once it was finished cars would be allowed back onto the square as before, so why has he now changed his mind?

I guess the main question he needs to answer is why as mayor, someone who should be uniting the community, is he continuously trying to cause trouble within that community? I just can’t figure him out and I’m sure others are asking the same questions.

James A. Tyrrell

Larne, N. Ireland