Malta’s known for its vast blue, but what about its vibrant green?
Those of us who live on the island are more familiar with the greyscale concrete and yellowish stone (and the thudding drilling that accompanies it) than we are with our country’s natural colours.
And so, it makes sense that there’s a parliamentary petition that’s going around calling the government to transform Manoel Island into a National Heritage Park. Over 5,000 people have signed off in agreement that they don’t want the government to go through with MIDI’s proposed development – they want some green space to roam around in instead.
But why stop there? There are loads of other places that are totally abandoned in Malta. So why not turn these all into heritage parks?
1. White Rocks, Pembroke
The struggle to stop development happening in White Rocks is an old contentious issue in Malta. This place is close to our hearts because it’s the symbol of the struggle between the cultural community against the commercial elite.
So why not develop the arid land around what has become the iconic abandoned structure of White Rocks and build a park that’s totally urban-ghetto themed?
2. Jerma Hotel, Marsaskala
It was abandoned 11 years ago, it caught fire and a Dutch man leapt of one of its multi-storey sections. Jerma Hotel has been through it all, but perhaps it’s time to consider transforming this eery collapsed hotel into a national park.
We’d be saying goodbye to some seriously impressive graffiti, though now we’re thinking we could turn White Rocks into a graffiti museum and have all murals exhibited there. That counts as heritage, right?
3. Festival Hotel, Mellieħa
We sure love building hotels to abandon them and fill them up with graffiti, huh?
This forgotten and decaying abandoned space is situated in the Sdieri area between the red tower and the boathouses in Mellieħa. It’s in such a bad and dismal state that the Planning Authority has served the owners of an abandoned hotel in Mellieħa with an enforcement order for leaving the site in a derelict state.
So, let’s just scrap the entire thing and turn that area in Mellieħa into a heritage park instead.
4. Mystique, Madliena
What was once one of Malta’s most popular nightclubs built from stones of Maltese buildings which were destroyed during the Second World War is now one of the island’s favourite places for a good ol’ rave.
And with Madliena just up the road from the overcrowded Paceville, a heritage park situated right just about there wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
5. Abandoned pig farm, Comino
Or just Comino in general. But maybe we can transform the baby island into Hydra in Greece, where no wheeled vehicles are allowed.
The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) did announce last month that works have started on a new 10,000 square metre camping area near the Tal-Ful area, so we’re making progress here.
We could also push for it to become a park so that the Kemmunians can have the green, cared-for countryside that they deserve.
6. Ħal Ferħ, Golden Bay/Għajn Tuffieħa
Abandoned and almost forgotten, the Ħal Ferħ complex is gradually sinking into the recesses of Malta’s collective memory.
Let’s just pull the plug for good and turn this disaster into yet another heritage park.
7. Fort Campbell, Selmun
Fort Campbell was built by the British military before the Second World War and was the last major fortification to be built in Malta. But it’s been in ruins for years and it’s pretty much collapsed now.
In December, 2014 Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had said the government intended to rehabilitate the fort and the area around it. He said talks were still in an initial stage and the government did not exclude issuing a call for expressions of interest in the area.
So why express our interest in turning the area into a heritage park?
8. Power Station, Marsa
This abandoned power station has been reduced to post-apocalyptic status, with rusty parts and broken machinery left in place.
Cool as it looks, it’s time we bid it goodbye. Let’s tear it down and create something pretty to look at instead of it.
9. Chadwick Lakes
Back in the day, Chadwick Lakes was full of life and a favourite among the picnic goers. Now, it’s sort of forgotten and missing some serious TLC.
If we’re going to start building national heritage parks, let’s start with the actual national park.
Because here at Lovin Malta we uphold the principles of democracy, it’s time for you to have your say. Let us know which of these places you want to become national parks!