The only Gżira local councillor who refused to participate in a vote to stop a petrol station being relocated to a garden has said his decision was based on a “lack of due process.”
“I am fully in agreement with the fact that we shouldn’t have a petrol station in the garden. In fact, I am in favour of no commercial entity there and I don’t want to see one tree uprooted,” Alexander Calleja Zammit told Lovin Malta.
“But I think everybody deserves due process, irrelevant of what I think and who you are.”
Calleja Zammit abstained from voting on a decision to appeal a decision to relocate a Gżira petrol station located on the foreshore of Manoel Island, claiming that mayor Conrad Borg Manché denied the station owner his right to be represented during a council meeting.
“The petrol pump owner was indeed present as was his right as a resident,” he said.
“However, the mayor attempted to block him from being present and even attempted to call the police and the local council association for assistance in doing so.”
“During the meeting, several councillors wanted to hear him speak, but the mayor used his prerogative to ban the petrol owner from stating his case,” he said.
The new location of the petrol station is set to be just 100 metres down the road, encroaching on the Council of Europe park – the locality’s only green space.
“It’s not up to the mayor to pick and choose, it’s up to the people. That’s why there are public consultations.”
Although Calleja Zammit is against any form of commercial development in the park, his suspicions that personal agendas came into play, and the lack of due process shown in a council meeting, led to him abstaining from the vote.
“The good results don’t justify the means applied,” he said.
Yesterday, Mayor Borg Manché told Lovin Malta that he will do all he can to stop the relocation of a petrol station to the locality’s largest green space.
Borg Manché will be taking the matter to the Courts of Justice in a new appeal.