Monday 01 March 2021

Infrastructure’s Malta roadworks would destroy fields and historical reservoir to service Bonnici Brothers ODZ supermarket

If Government agency ploughs ahead with this grave injustice, framers and activists are ready to take direct action 

Farmers, residents and activists held a Press Conference on Saturday morning in Burmarrad on the site of agricultural land and a nearby reservoir that are in danger of being lost due to proposed road works by Infrastructure Malta.
The road works consist of a roundabout to be built next to the Bonnici Brothers headquarters, who also have an application for a supermarket to be built on ODZ land adjacent to their headquarters. The supermarket application (PA 8024/18) was submitted back in 2018. However, it had been suspended for two years until the application was resumed when the road works were announced. 
The proposed roundabout would destroy arable land that has been worked for generations, as well as destroying a 500-year old reservoir that the farmers of the area rely on for water in the summer months. A fragile watercourse that supplies the water to the reservoir, as well as supplying water all the way down to Salini, is also in the path of destruction. The claim by Infrastructure Malta that the reservoir will not be destroyed is ridiculous since it is impossible to shift a 500-year old reservoir and its mechanism without destroying it.
The application for the supermarket on ODZ received widespread critisicm when the plans were announced. Nevertheless, it seems that Bonnici Brothers also have other plans for the area, with a Planning Control (PC) application that would allow for several residential blocks to be built in the same area if the permit goes through.
Bonnici Brothers have been identified in the media as regular contractors for Infrastructure Malta, receiving a total of €7,716,269.75 in contracts and direct orders in 2020 and 2021. Moviment Graffitti condemns the additional uptake of farmland and the use of taxpayers’ money to build a roundabout that is only there to serve the needs of Bonnici Brothers, as well as the use of ODZ land for a supermarket in an area which is already well served.
There are currently over 5,600 objections against the proposed roundabout, making it clear that people do not want or need these road works. Professionals have described the proposed roundabout as “senseless” since the new roundabout would be sandwiched between another dangerous roundabout, recently built on the same road, and the Burmarrad church. The St. Paul’s Bay Local Council has also come out against the road works and the application for the supermarket. Therefore, Moviment Graffitti expects Infrastructure Malta to immediately and definitively withdraw plans for the proposed roundabout, which is clearly aimed at servicing the Bonnici Brothers’ ODZ development. It also expects the PA Board to refuse the obscene application for the ODZ supermarket.
Should this rogue Government agency plough ahead with this grave injustice, framers and activists are ready to take direct action to stop this vicious onslaught on farmers and their lands, particularly in the light of similar land grabs in Dingli, Imrieħel, Luqa and other areas. Farmers from these localities were in fact also with us to show their solidarity with Burmarrad farmers.
View live streamed Press Conference here and here.

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