Regeneration works at Spencer Gardens, in Marsa, are set to be completed by early 2024, three years after the project was first announced and two years after its initial target completion date.
The area will then have more trees and a “greener, more sustainable environment in this urban area”, an Environment and Resource Authority spokesperson said.
Aaron Farrugia, then environment minister, announced the regeneration of Spencer Gardens in September 2021 with a deadline set for late 2022
A general election and ministerial change later, ERA is giving itself a new target to complete the project by early next year as delays mean works are still under way, months after the initial deadline.
No indigenous trees are being uprooted, except for one cypress which needs to be removed as it is in a poor state of health
The gardens, adjacent to the ERA headquarters, will host 67 native trees and have reservoirs to harvest rainwater, a new irrigation system, energy-efficient lighting powered by solar panels and sound barriers along its perimeter.
Times of Malta visited the site on Monday and found workers chopping down trees.
“No indigenous trees are being uprooted, except for one cypress which needs to be removed as it is in a poor state of health,” the spokesperson said.
“However, some invasive alien species which are damaging the area’s environment need to be removed as well. These invasive species are prohibiting adequate natural vegetation to grow within the gardens.”
Acacia, casuarina, eucalyptus trees and pittosporum plants are among the vegetation being chopped off.
“Malta is obliged to remove various invasive species as part of its international obligations, including the Control of Invasive Alien Species of European Union Concern Regulations and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.”