A parliamentary petition has been filed to halt plans to stop the Lands Authority from selling off a pristine piece of protected land in Mellieħa through a private lease under the guise of beekeeping, which residents say is a smokescreen for development in the area.
Opposition Whip Robert Cutajar, an MP elected off the district, submitted the petition yesterday, which has garnered over 100 physical signatures.
“The tender process is strange and has created a lot of doubts,” Cutajar said in a Facebook post.
The plot, which lies along the cliff edge of Triq L-Għerien and overlooks stunning views of Mellieħa, Għadira Bay and Gozo, was put up for a 15-year lease by the Lands Authority in December 2021. Applications close on 6th January. The minimum bid is €9,000.
The tender expressly says that the area must be expressly used for bee-keeping. However, residents who reached out to Lovin Malta insisted that the intentions behind the tender “are clearly malicious.”
“The site is a sensitive and delicate cliff edge scheduled site, completely unsuitable for such purpose situated in a residential area,” one resident said.
A legal letter has been sent to Economy Minister Silvio Schembri, warning him that the exercise is simply a cover for prospective development in the area.
Minority leader in the local council Ivan Castillo has also spoken out against the project, nothing that no studies have been carried out to see what the impact will have on the surrounding residents.
He also raised concerns that the plan was a smokescreen for potential development.
Malta’s Beekeeping Association has said it was not even consulted over the project, noting that the area already offers a lot to honeybees in its natural state, given the presence of many wild flowers.
“It would be great that government land which for instance cannot be tilled land, would offer space for beekeeping activities. Not every parcel should be given a use and a price tag,” the association said.
“In Mellieha, especially during summer times, the number of beehives increase drastically due to the presence of the protected wild Thyme which this site offers in its current state.”
What do you think of the plans?