Mepa’s not-so-protected areas in Rabat
Ta’ Baldu in the limits of Rabat.
(Photo supplied by the Malta Ramblers Association).
My association feels it has once more to draw attention to the fact that the information given in the One World series (August 2) is again misleading in the sense that it does not really give a full and realistic picture of the Ta’ Baldu and Wied Ħażrun area, limits of Rabat.
The Ta’ Baldu area has been the subject of many complaints with the Malta Environment and Planning Authority by our association on account of the many sanctions, as many as five (with two still in the pipeline), granted to works carried out illegally on the site. Old wooden-beam ceilings were replaced with concrete and a second floor added, landscaping carried out to “prettify” the site as a villa-type garden, a clearing created for a turfed (invasive species introduced) football pitch and a swimming pool was installed. All infringements were sanctioned by Mepa and subsequently forcefully condemned by its own Audit Office. Even wedding receptions and parties have been held on the site, while a national heritage like the Roman grotto has been barred to the public. Needless to say, the idyllic scenic views there are no longer what they had been for centuries.
As for the Wied Ħażrun area, which hosts the historic Simblija troglodyte settlement, readers are not informed that for these last months it has no longer been possible to visit this other national heritage on which public and EU funds were spent in the Aramis project rightfully launched with much fanfare by Francis Zammit Dimech. Access has recently been closed by the part-time farmer who leases the surrounding fields from the government. And this time with the full protection of the law!
People who dare go beyond the gate to see the mediaeval chapel are prosecuted. We find this strange; in fact, very strange. We have even made representations on the matter with Parliamentary Secretary Jason Azzopardi.
Our association asks in favour of what or whom are these areas protected? Certain verbs in the write-up reveal that it was written some 10 years ago and conditions there have now changed drastically. Since the write-up is probably Mepa’s own, the compilers of this series would do well to take note and show more respect for their readers.