Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana has played down concerns over the uprooting of ficus trees at the main carpark in Xlendi, pledging they will all be replanted around the same carpark.
A video of works being carried out on the trees, as part of a project to expand the carpark, went viral on social media this morning, with many decrying the authorities for displaying a careless attitude towards the environment.
However, Caruana said that 11 ficus trees had to be “pruned” and replanted elsewhere around the carpark to facilitate the establishment of new roots as part of the regeneration of Pjazza Anfori, which forms part of a masterplan for the regeneration of Xlendi.
Moreover, she promised that 19 cypress trees will also be planted around the perimeter of the carpark, perhaps to compensate for palm trees that were uprooted a few months ago and transplanted elsewhere.
“Pruning is being done during this time of the year to facilitate the re-establishments of the trees during the cooler periods of the year,” she said. “Also only last week we planted several trees in Gozo.”
Munxar mayor Damien Spiteri, whose council has responsibility over Xlendi, said he has pressured the Gozo Ministry to ensure all trees that are uprooted are replanted within the fishing village.
“The parking problem is a large one but there must be a balance between commercial and residential interests,” she said. “I fear that only businesses, and not residents, will benefit from this project. Although more parking will be a step in the right direction, the locality will suffer from a social aspect.”