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Marsascala residents oppose council office plans

Petitioners worry about loss of garden to development

According to the plans, the local council’s offices will be located at the back of the St Anne Garden.

According to the plans, the local council’s offices will be located at the back of the St Anne Garden.

Marsascala residents are up in arms about local council plans to build its new offices in the St Anne Garden.

However, mayor Mario Calleja dismissed concerns, saying the move would see the council “rise to European standards”.

The announcement that the council will move from its current location in Triq Is-Salini ruffled feathers, with residents starting a petition for the open public space in the St Anne Garden not to be taken over for development.

The petition attracted almost 2,000 signatures in a few weeks.

Posted online by resident Daniel Cauchi, the petition says that the area is the only space in the centre of Marsascala where children can play without paying.

Children will be forced to move to the Family Park, less than 100m from a petrol station

It notes that the council seems to be hurrying the tender process for construction to start.

Insisting that children should have been consulted, since they are “key stakeholders”, the petition describes the area as an “oasis of laughter and joy”.

The children will be forced to move to the Family Park, 1.2 kilometres away from the church and less than 100 metres from a petrol station to be built opposite the park. The petition also points out that 40 per cent of Maltese children aged between five and 17 are overweight and a quarter of them are obese.

Construction work threatens to further reduce the open space where children can play and exercise, it adds.

The relocation of the council offices was also opposed by former Nationalist councillor Charlot Cassar last year. However, that move was dismissed by Mr Calleja, who accused Mr Cassar of political motivations.

Mr Cassar insisted that there had not been enough commitment to seeking alternative solutions in Marsascala when the project was announced in 2017.

When contacted by the Times of Malta, Mr Calleja said the project would ensure the local council would be at par with others.

“Only one tree will be removed” he said, hinting that the garden would not be ruined.

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