Seven mature trees which have been uprooted from the Msida stake park could have been saved had the necessary maintenance been carried out, according to the project’s architect.
According to Infrastructure Malta, the design of the large planters in which the trees were planted did not include a proper water drainage system, resulting in water seeping into the tunnel beneath.
Responding to Infrastructure Malta’s claims, the project’s architect Ivan Coleiro insisted that there was no need for the trees to be uprooted.
“First of all, it’s important to note that the skate park is exposed to a lot of water. It is a roof at the end of the day, a roof with its own waterproofing system,” Coleiro told Lovin Malta.
“All that happened was that they noticed water seeping through when the trees were watered. But that’s just when they noticed it. At the end of the day we put the planters on top of the existing structure that was already waterproofed. If the problem exists there, it exists everywhere in the park.”
Pushing back against the infrastructure agency’s claims that there was no proper water catchment area, Coleiro stressed that such a system was in place and was up to “industry standards”.
“We implemented a French drain system… All I can say is that it is industry approved and it worked perfectly,” Coleiro added.
He explained that the massive planters in which the trees were planted had been constructed according to industry standards, challenging Infrastructure Malta to name one project which had been implemented with a better system.
He insisted that Infrastructure Malta had just opted to remove the trees and had not bothered to determine exactly what the cause of the leak was.
“First they said there was no system in place, then they said there was one but it was not up to standard and now they’re saying that the same system they didn’t know existed was maintained,” he said, adding that a report commissioned about the leak was misguided and hastily carried out.
The planter, he continued, had a collection chamber for water installed, which fed into the roof’s drainage system. “Maintaining it is just a matter of putting a pipe in at one end and collecting at the other end,” he stressed.
He said that he had inquired about how regular maintenance was carried out and was informed that there was no record of any maintenance leading him to conclude that it wasn’t carried out.
Coleiro went on to say that the system “may not have been the best in the world, but it worked”, and would have continued to work had it been maintained.
“My biggest displeasure is that the only losers from all of this are the trees and the skaters who now have no shade,” he added, also questioning why no consultation had been carried out with those who used the park before works were commenced.
“Why wasn’t the public informed and asked to give its contribution before going ahead and removing the trees on the basis of a dubious report.,” Coleiro said, adding that it appeared as though the trees would be replaced by smaller ones that offered little shade to those who used the park.
“The only solution is to bring back the trees and to admit that a mistake has been made.”
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