Environmentalists protest against Naxxar ODZ home for elderly

Naxxar residents, environmentalists and mayors protest against proposed old people's home on ODZ land between Naxxar and Gharghur

Naxxar residents protested against the proposed development of an elderly home on an ODZ land
Naxxar residents protested against the proposed development of an elderly home on an ODZ land

Naxxar residents today took to the streets in a protest against a proposed old people’s home on an ODZ land between Naxxar and Gharghur.

The proposed elderly home – which has been objected to by the Environment and Resources Authority – is earmarked on a 4,625 square metre site between Sqaq l-Imnieqa and Triq il-Gharghur in Naxxar, the latter a very busy road.

The proposal involves the demolition of a derelict structure and its conversion into an old people’s home built over three floors.

Speaking on behalf of Naxxar residents, Rudolph Muscat insisted that outside development zones (ODZ) should remain untouched and not developed, and that the site was not suitable to house the elderly.

“If this application is accepted on the grounds that the site is ‘near the building line’, then on this logic, every scrap of remaining undeveloped land will eventually be developed,” Muscat said.

Muscat also warned residents were concerned that once it would emerge that the project was not feasible to build an old people’s home, the area would be turned into shops and apartments, ruining the landscape.

He also insisted that the excuse of building a home for the elderly should not justify building on ODZ land.

“The Mosta/Naxxar area already has eight homes for the elderly which would soon be able to build additional floors. Rightly so, therefore, residents are asking why more ODZ land should be sacrificed when the increase in demand is already catered for,” he said.

Residents also expressed concerns that building a residence in that two dangerous arterial roads, namely Triq Gharghu and Triq Margaret Murray, would not be beneficial to the elderly as it was cut off from the heart of the village, and prone to traffic jams and air pollution.

The protest was also attended by eNGOs Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA), Ramblers Association and Front Harsien ODZ, as well as the Naxxar and Gharghur mayors.

FAA spokesperson Astrid Vella warned that the development could spell disaster for the area. She explained that in the case of Wied il-Ghasel, developers had applied for a home for the elderly on an ODZ site, and once the outline permit was approved, they “shamelessly” switched to a commercial development.

Meanwhile, on their part, Colette Sciberras of Front Harsien ODZ and Ingram Bondin of Ramblers’ Association warned that such a permit would inevitably lead to others, leading to the loss of what little remains of the open space between Naxxar and Gharghur.

In a statement, the FAA urged people to submit their objections against the proposed development.

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