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Watch: Anger as old Balzan trees are uprooted

Removal will pave way for new roads project

Video: Matthew Mirabelli

RIP signs were affixed to the trees in recent days.RIP signs were affixed to the trees in recent days.

The two old Balzan Valley trees at the centre of controversy were being uprooted on Thursday morning to pave the way for a road upgrade.

In recent days, the trees had become almost a symbol of resistance against the wave of trees being sacrificed around the island to facilitate infrastructural projects. 

The Balzan local council said the trees’ roots were damaging road infrastructure.

The trees will be relocated to a public garden a few streets away, in an area between Triq Bosio and Triq l-Għerusija, but residents lamented they had not been consulted on what is one of the village's main landmarks. 

Read: 95 per cent chance Balzan trees will survive relocation, local council's expert says

Before... and after.Before... and after.

A residents' spokesperson told Times of Malta: "Residents are absolutely devastated this morning. We requested consultation meetings with both the local council and Transport Malta, but neither was forthcoming. This is not what we wanted, this was not the solution. This just strips Balzan of much-needed trees in an area with terrible pollution already. This road is only going to get busier and more polluted, and that's not what we want."

Works on Triq il-Wied ta’ Ħal Balzan are planned to begin in the coming days and will be completed by the end of summer, and will involve the complete reconstruction of the road and some 1.2 kilometres of pavement. Part of a private car park will also be expropriated to align the road.

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