Concerns by activists and farmers over an off-road motorsports track in Armier are “frivolous” and have been addressed through numerous studies and mitigation measures, the All Wheel Drive Club Malta has said.
The application, presented by the Malta Motorsport Federation, looks to transform a 16,000sqm area known as the Barriera ta’ l-Aħrax into an off-road facility. The land in question is already being used as a dumping site for debris and has been degraded by significant excavation.
The AWDC was first granted a temporary title to this patch of Government Land to convert the site into an off-road sport site in 1997. In 2012, the then-Kunsill Malti ghal-Isport passed on the land for a 49-year lease to the Malta Motorsport Federation so that this land could be finally developed into a proper off-road site for AWDC Malta.
After a few years of preparation, MMF submitted a formal application to the PA, kickstarting a five-year pre-application process, during which ERA and the PA ordered numerous studies before passing to the current application stage.
These studies included traffic, environment, noise and other impact studies, none of which showed that this site will have any adverse effect on the area, the ADWC said.
“This is not surprising considering that in off-road races, competitors race one at a time, and in 90% of cases users use street-legal cars.”
AWDC said it has worked closely with all entities, including environmental NGOs, to develop and maintain this site, including the Mellieha Local Council. Continuous efforts have also been made to stop illegal dumping as well as squatting.
Two years ago, in order to tackle the mud problem, the Club said it invested in a heavy-duty power wash so that competitors could wash their cars before returning on the road.
“This has helped to reduce complaints and will be better treated once the permit is issued and the site fully developed as per plan.”
This plan, the ADWC says, envisages areas for water storage, car cleaning, ambulance bay, and parking facilities
“We await eagerly for the permits approval in order to start works to rehabilitate the site, build the rubble walls, gates, and ensure proper safety structures. This quarry, which decades ago served to produce lime, was eventually taken over and abused by the Ministry for Tourism who was responsible for dumping here tons of seaweed and other waste products, so much so that MEPA issued two enforcement notices on the Ministry! During this time, the site had already been passed over to AWDC.”
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