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‘It’s Disgusting’: Marsaxlokk Parents Slam Local Council’s Decision To Take Up Children’s School Garden

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As the St. Thomas More Primary School garden faces development plans for a new civic centre, many parents and residents of Marsaxlokk are anything but happy about the local council’s decision.

The children attending the school in question are currently facing threats on their open green spaces, a beautiful garden that they all make use of and contribute to taking care of.

Lovin Malta spoke to some of the parents of children that are currently attending the school, to ask them how they feel about the proposed development and how this will in turn affect the children if it is approved.

“I can’t understand how our local council, who should be protecting every little piece of green spaces, is instead acting like this. It doesn’t make sense, it’s their job to be protecting the village from such developments, not be the one applying for them,” one said.

Aerial panorama of the gardens

Aerial panorama of the gardens

One emphasised that what bothers them the most from this whole ordeal is that this atrocious proposal is coming from the local council itself, leaving the residents and parents with no choice but to turn against their own local council.

“It falls within the council’s responsibilities to take care of the village, but instead they’re proposing to build within a garden that is being used in the middle of a school,” they said.

Another noted how it is “a shame because there are already not enough schools that have green spaces such as this one”.

Two of the parents that Lovin Malta spoke to both attended the school themselves when they were still young, being residents of the locality from birth.

“I used to attend the same school when I was young, and my father as well. We remember the gardens to be complete heaven on earth,” she said.

“I was raised here, I attended the same school as my children, and I know what fun we used to have in those gardens, planting fruits and vegetables,” another said. “I remember the school exactly as it is today, and it’s heartbreaking to see this happening.”

The parents both expressed the joys that their children experience while being given the opportunity to have lessons or read out in the garden, or being taught how to plant vegetables at such a young age, while also learning key lessons about the environment.

“Taking away their recreational activities is only going to negatively impact them, and it’s not fair that they are going to be the ones to feel the consequences,” she said. 

“They’re going to take away their green spaces,” they said solemnly.

Many concerned individuals are also currently suggesting alternative places that could be more of a suitable location for the development of a local civic centre, stressing that there are definitely better options than taking away primary school children’s green areas.

“I’m quite disgusted because there are many other places which would be more suitable for a civic centre,” said another.

While many of the parents addressed that the project in itself will be fruitful for the locality, and is one which is needed, they stressed that “this is not the place to develop the centre”. 

Another parent also spoke of the many areas of land within Marsaxlokk that have already been taken up due to development. Apart from that, children are still slowly coming out of the global pandemic and starting to interact again after being locked in for so long.

“Instead of giving them more green spaces, instead we keep reducing them,” she said.

One person also addressed how the decision was not even taken unanimously within the local council, with PN Councillor Janice Chetcuti voting against the development.

Yesterday, BirdLife Malta also took a public stance against the proposal, expressing that it is highly disappointed by these plans.

If it were to be approved, the children attending the school will also be facing years of construction noises and pollution, that will impact their quality of life.

It’s safe to say that many are disappointed with the decision taken by the local council, and they expected better from an entity that is meant to be in place to protect the town from such threats on green spaces.

Representations are currently being submitted against this development, with the representation period open until 3rd January 2022.

Almost 100 representations have been filed so far.

Do you agree with the parents and residents? 

READ NEXT: Poor Critical Thinking In Maltese Schools Is Failing Students In The Long Term, Academics Warn

When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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