Mayor of Gzira PL slams government agencies for outrageous gas station move

Labor Gzira Mayor Conrad Borg Manche’, who is also chairman of the government’s environment agency Ambjent Maltapublicly denounced “the obscenities” committed by both the Planning Authority and the Land Authority in attempting to move a small petrol station into part of the Council of Europe Garden – the only remaining green lung of the overpopulated locality.

In a hard-hitting social media post launching a petition against the relocation, Borg Manche’ revealed that according to scientific studies conducted by Gzira Council, the People’s Garden will become a no-go zone for children and its frequent visitors due to the emission of dangerous and carcinogenic fumes from the service station.

“This permit was advanced by those who are supposed to see that such atrocities are not allowed. But it seems they don’t care about the people and our children,” Borg Manche wrote in a frontal attack on the relevant government authorities.

Reiterating that the council had not been consulted on such an important decision, he pointed his guns at those who, through the scheme, “planned to tarnish my reputation out of envy”, charged the Labor mayor.

Borg Manche said that through the new petition and the ongoing fight against the relocation of the gas station, “the whole truth will prevail” and “those who worked for this atrocity will pay for their actions”.

The Shift reported how the Lands Authority, which falls under the political remit of Minister Silvio Schembri, informed Gzira council several weeks ago that some 1,000 square meters of the waterfront garden were to be allocated to the resort -service of Manuel Island, which is currently only 100 meters from the green area.

The service station is owned by businessman Simon Muscat, who has very close ties to the Lands Authority.

Through another company, Cubed Turnkey Projects Ltd, Muscat and its partners have received numerous direct orders for work related to the same authority.

These works included the renovation of the Auberge de Beviere in Valletta, the headquarters of the same government entity.

Lands Authority CEO Robert Vella declined to give details of Muscat’s links to the authority and also rejected a freedom of information request regarding the tens of thousands of euros in payments that Muscat received authority over the past few years.

Muscat is also said to be very close to James Piscopo, the former CEO of the Lands Authority and aide to disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Although Piscopo has since separated from authority, his relationship with his senior brass continues and he still receives several direct commands.

The authority is also refusing to answer questions about a recently launched new tender to sell a publicly owned plot located just opposite the current Muscat gas station on the Gzira waterfront.

Information about bids submitted for the tender inexplicably does not appear on the Land Authority website.

Ashley C. Reynolds