Mayor says Mosta trees will remain at Rotunda square after public outcry

Mayor Chris Grech breaks silence on the uprooting of Mosta's Ficus trees, says council will take note of people's wishes to keep the trees in their original location

Mosta mayor Chris Grech says the iconic Ficus trees at the Rotunda Square will remain at their original location after public outcry over the planned uprooting of the trees.

In a Facebook post, Grech said that he has no problem reconsidering the uprooting of the trees and incorporating them into the project. 

"My fellow Labour Party councillors and I, who are in the majority, have taken note of this wish for the trees that are currently in the Rotunda Square to not be planted in another part of Mosta," he said.

On Tuesday evening, the Nationalist Party said its councillors requested an urgent meeting to discuss the issue after activists and residents protested against the uprooting of the 12 trees.

Activists slept overnight in the square to ensure no works are carried out to uproot the trees, which had been heavily pruned earlier on Tuesday.

The PN councillors requested that an emergency meeting be held to discuss the removal of the trees. “As is stipulated by law, we are asking the mayor to accept our request and call a meeting immediately,” the request reads.

On 3 October, the council unanimously agreed with the removal of the 12 ficus trees next to the church and their transplanting to another area in Mosta.

The council applied for an environmental permit with ERA, indicating which trees were to be uprooted, where they would be transplanted and what trees would replace them in the square. The authority granted permission on 6 November.

The council minutes do not specify the reason why the ficus trees should be uprooted in what appears to be an afterthought to the main square’s regeneration.

Later on Wednesday, Prime Minister Robert Abela said he met and discussed with the Mosta mayor earlier in the day, as well as with activist Andre Callus.

“There is no doubt in the will of [Grech] and his fellow councillors to carry out the best projects for Mosta’s locals.”