An area of 30,000 square metres in Birżebbuġa that the Malta Freeport had intended to turn into a storage facility site will instead be turned into a large public garden, complete with 8,000 endemic trees.
The project will include a picnic area, a camping site and the regeneration of an underground bunker that was used in the Second World War.
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said the Freeport withdrew its planning application after government intervention, stating that its policy is for the Freeport to extend towards towards the sea, and not inwards towards residences.
He said it is part of his ministry’s plan to regenerate Birżebbuġa, which includes an upgrade of the promenade, a new public carpark and a new public garden.
Environment minister Josè Herrera hailed it as one of Malta’s largest environmental project in recent years and described it as “a present” by the government to the people of the south.
This is separate from a greening project that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat recently pledged will be Malta’s largest open spaces project in a generation. The location of the latter is as yet unknown, but it will involve the conversion of currently developable land.