Malta: The Concrete Garden

At this point in time, everybody and their mother knows that Malta is being increasingly entombed into a coffin of concrete by developers via their shady deals with the planning authority (including in some cases with the Prime Minister himself) and blatant disregard for the judicial protests of NGOs.

Cranes have long since replaced the Għargħar as Malta’s national tree, while the echoes of gunshots replaced the chirping of the Blue Rock Trush. Dust has been catching the throats of the public for years, while those in power scurry away in their villas, far from the deafening racket caused by the constant drilling in our streets, eating away at our townhouses – only for them to be replaced by a distasteful block of flats.

They used our taxpayer money to buffer themselves from the chaos and degrading quality of life that weighs heavily on the shoulders of the common people.

And this has manifested itself right in front of our very eyes. The new concrete “garden”, dedicated to the late Dr Victor Calvagna, has been in the works for several months now – and it is not a pretty sight.

Previously a disused olive orchard that was once in the possession of the late local personality Ċikku Fenech, this new “garden” has recently been turned into an abominable outdoor gym/playground hybrid.

But as can be seen in the photographs below, one can clearly see the abysmal attempt done while creating this atrocity of a project.

Some gym machines are ridiculously and haphazardly placed, as if everything was done as an afterthought, along a path that is laughably far too wide for no apparent reason – even if a pushchair or wheelchair happened to be using it (the maximum path width is roughly 2.1m, while the average width of a wheelchair is not more than 75cm, and that of a two-baby pushchair is not more than 80cm). These paths are also unnecessarily curvy and winding, needlessly cementing even more soil underneath them (see photographs below).

These same gym machines are also located a considerable distance from the “main” machines – as if their location was originally meant to be for statues to ponder at. These machines, which, ideally, should be used by a community that is facing an increasingly worrying obesity problem, have been plonked on the outskirts of the “garden”, seemingly with little to no spatial planning at all.

It should also be noted that the trees – which have been encircled by concrete too – barely have half a metre between their trunks and the edge of the pathway.

The orchard, which could have been repurposed as a patch of land open to the local people to plant their own seeds (crops through allotments) – of which the produce can be shared by those same people, creating a sense of camaraderie and friendships in an increasingly individual-centric society – has instead been smothered in yet more concrete.

This country, which the tourism industry and government sell as a “colourful” gem of hidden beauties, is being continuously and progressively tarnished and degraded with each passing day. The aromatic greens of our garigue shrubs, the golden glow of our globigerina limestone, and the beautiful traditional townscapes are all being smothered by the lifeless, depressing drab grey of dusty concrete.

I highly doubt this “garden” would have its namesakes’ blessing – it is a slap in the face for the children that are meant to play in it – the same children Dr Calvagna worked tirelessly to save from the clutches of cancer.

I realise that on the grand scale of things this is just a small, local problem, but it is an indicative microcosm of the nationwide catastrophe that is spreading like wildfire.

For all the vain promises the government has given (in a petty attempt to gander more votes for the recent election) – that it would protect and champion our already-limited countryside – it is, as always, doing very little action to uphold these empty vows.

And yet, we keep these people in power.

The same people that are burying us in a concrete coffin – while they spend our taxpayer money to lie about how we’re not choking in their concrete dust.



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