Times of Malta, 28th November 2008, by Nestor Laiviera

Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino adopted a guarded approach when asked about the planned Għadira road that will cut through fields and the side of a Foresta 2000 site, saying the proposed project was “not cast in stone”.

Five proposals were unveiled on Wednesday as part of a €15 million project aimed at extending Għadira beach with the replacement of the existing road with a new one that would cut through the fields near the nature reserve in the area.

One of the proposals includes plans for a new road that would run alongside the back of the Danish Village complex and the Foresta 2000 site there and will even touch the nature reserve site.

The plans have already been shot down by environmentalists. While saying he was flexible on which option would be chosen, Infrastructure Minister Austin Gatt insisted on Wednesday that doing nothing was not an option.

Speaking at a tree-planting activity yesterday, Mr Pullicino emphasised that the process was still in its initial stages and that the government was still considering options.

Considering that Dr Gatt had outlined five different proposals, it was clear that nothing was cast in stone, he said. Only two of the five proposals, Mr Pullicino said, would touch the Foresta 2000 site, pointing out that, even in this case, the road would only affect a small part of the whole reserve. The press conference yesterday marked the planting of 2,500 trees in Għajn Tuffieħa sponsored by Cypriot hotel resort operator Eden Lifestyle. Over the next three years the company will be sponsoring 24,000 trees, which is about 8,000 trees each year.