Costing around €400,000, the new project announced by Maltese government will help to transform an undeveloped area behind the Freeport in Birzebbugia into a 30,000 sq.m park with 8,000 trees.
The project will see the Benghajsa site, which was earlier allocated for the extension of Freeport, turn into a picnic and camping place for tourists.
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and Environment Minister Jose Herrera announced the project in a press conference. The decision has been taken after Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had also announced that the government was planning construction of “largest open space in Malta in a generation”.
Konrad Mizzi said that the withdrawal of Freeport extension project paved way for the park project. It will take place in three different phases – afforestation, creating the camping site, and converting an underground bunker into a tourist attraction.
“The previous administration had earmarked this land for an extension of the Freeport terminals, effectively turning it into a container port. But this government decided that the Freeport should be extended outwards, in the direction of the sea, not inwards, where people live,” Mizzi was quoted as saying by Malta Today.
The Environment Minister informed that the responsibility of managing the trees will be given to an NGO which is yet to be named. He said that the Benghajsa land was appropriate for the afforestation project and that is why it was selected by the government.
“A lot of this unbuilt land is either privately owned or features garigue habitats which cannot be touched,” he added.