The compounding of a second massive planning error in Marsamxett following the breaching of the bastion walls with the building of the Excelsior Hotel fifty years ago is totally unacceptable in today’s society where conservation of heritage has become a much evolved science.
Referring to the new AFM centre at Marsamxett which has required much land reclamation below the bastion walls, incoming and outgoing Presidents of Din l-Art Helwa, Maria Grazia Cassar and Simone Mizzi, said that the location of the new AFM base with its tall hauling structure is set to mar the sight lines to the imposing Floriana Bastions for generations to come.
‘When the Excelsior hotel was built just after Din l-Art Helwa’s foundation in 1965, said Simone Mizzi, ‘and then rebuilt in even more brutal proportions in recent years, both times Din l-Art Helwa had advised government of the unsuitable choice of location for such a development. The new AFM security facilities compromise the 17C line of fortifications yet again’.
‘We just have not learnt from our mistakes’, said Maria Grazia Cassar, who takes the helm of the heritage NGO shortly. ‘We understand the necessity of having rapid deployment facilities for our armed forces, but we cannot believe that these could not have been located elsewhere. Instead of regaining the views of the bastions, we continue to obstruct them. This is yet another example of insufficient sensitivity to the impact on our unique iconic vistas on the part of our planners who gave the green light to the choice of location’.
Din l-Art Helwa celebrates its 50 years on the 9th July, 2015 and its work can be viewed on www/dinlarthelwa.org