The government has initiated the process to formally legalise two illegal caravan sites within the limits of Armier and Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq.
Shortly after the closure of the illegal caravan site at Mistra Bay two weeks ago, Infrastructure Malta CEO Frederick Azzopardi filed a formal application for two new temporary sites which would accommodate the now displaced caravan owners.
Whilst the application was filed by Azzopardi, it was the Environmental Ministry who chose the location. Both sites are already an illegal home to several caravans. Though it’s an open secret that both sites lack permits, a lack of enforcement meant that caravan owners were able to mushroom around these spots without any interference from the authorities.
The caravan site being proposed in Armier is next to the illegal shantytown in Ramlet il-Qortin, the site itself taking up 2,300sq.m. The plans submitted enclose that the confines of the site will be indicated by a rubble wall.
The local plan states that a landscape scheme has to be submitted and approved with any permit application for caravan sites.
The 4,000sq.m site in Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq on a stretch of the old Coast Road which became redundant after the completion of the new road has been earmarked for the project. The location chosen is next to a roundabout opposite the Magħtab landfill. The Naxxar Local Council condemned the plans by the government, stating that no representatives were consulted about the development, despite the land being within the boundaries of Naxxar. “The Council also condemns the fact that it has long sought the assistance of the Central Government, including the Minister for the Environment, to control the excessive amount of caravans that have been placed along the coast. These caravans have no sanitary facilities and the Council received reports of dumping of sewage into the sea!” the Council wrote on Facebook.
Similar to the Armier application, Plans submitted to the PA foresee the erection of a wall around the site to indicate the boundaries of the site.
The Environment Ministry's reaction
This push to accommodate caravan owners was not taken lightly by independent candidate Arnold Cassola. Cassola accused the government of seeking to “legalise the theft of public land” in the hope of securing more votes ahead of an election that was drawing ever nearer.”
These concerns were addressed by the Environment Ministry, stating that “the two sites are the first to be chosen because the land in question belongs to the government”. In effect, since the sites in question are public land, this decision is being justified on the basis that the land is property of the government.
Do you think the development of this land is justified?