Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, which has not officially objected to the Manoel Island development, is backing a group of residents petitioning the government to revoke the mega-project.  

However, the eNGO does not believe that its support of the residents’ cause contradicts its lack of objection.

Thousands have signed a petition to Parliament calling on the government to turn Manoel Island into a wooded park with heritage buildings.

The petition was launched by Nħobbu l-Gżira after the Planning Authority board put off a decision on the Midi development on December 20, citing lack of information on building heights and other aspects of the project.

In its latest submission to the PA, FAA had not objected to the development but insisted that the terms of the guardianship deed – drawn up by the Manoel Island Foundation – should be respected. 

This included the principle of low-rise development across the island.

The Manoel Island Foundation, which is chaired by Claire Bonello, had been set up by Midi, the Gżira local council and NGOs to find the best compromise going forward. 

FAA is now asking the public to support Nħobbu l-Gżira, which is objecting to the Midi development.

 Asked whether this contradicted the FAA’s submission and its position about the guardianship deed, the eNGO said it had been fighting for the site to be protected and included as a national park since 2016. 

FAA asking the public to support Nħobbu l-Gżira

That year, the FAA had proposed the site’s designation as Public Domain.

Feeling aggrieved by the proposed Master Plan, Gżira residents are again calling for the designation of Manoel Island as a public domain, and of course FAA will support such aims, it said.

“FAA maintains that its stand on the guardianship does not contradict this recent position, given that our support is aimed to ensure the protection of the public open space as a critical green lung for Gżira, and to ensure that our national cultural heritage is protected and can still be enjoyed by the public,” a spokeswoman told the Times of Malta. 

Dr Bonello chaired the Manoel Island Guardianship strictly in her personal capacity and was not representing FAA, she added.

FAA is asking its supporters to make donations to the cause.

“If your health and Malta’s heritage is precious to you, we ask you to make a contribution to the Manoel Island Campaign,” they said in a statement.

“The studies, professional consultants’ fees and media costs are needed to present a strong case at the PA. The costs could not be borne by the small group of campaigners trying to save Manoel Island for you and the rest of Malta.”