This is not an area where excavation takes place or where construction is underway. Silence is absolute. In an environment sought by many for a peaceful walk, Television Malta reveals a huge structure which is in danger of falling down and causing a tragedy.
Although the authorities have the necessary permits in hand to repair the damage to this structure, which is over 300 years old, the work has not started and the zone is still open to the public.
This video footage was shot on 10 February, a public holiday. Families with children are enjoying a quiet walk in front of an old structure in the heart of Buskett. Others have set up a table and chairs around it and are enjoying a picnic, and others have parked their vehicles in the same area. This is a common scene in the heart of Buskett, with many frequenting the area on weekends. Everyone seems to be oblivious to the danger! The upper part of this structure has become detached from the rest and is overhanging, with the possibility of the front facade collapsing and ending up on the parked vehicles and passersby. One has only to look up at the ceiling on the inside to understand the danger.
The problems worsen, as there is a road on top of the structure. The weight of passing vehicles does not help. The same goes for the ivy, and for whoever came up with the idea of placing an electricity pole on the road right over the entrance, as well as lack of maintenance.
Television Malta is informed the authorities have known about the dangerous condition of the structure for years, and have permits in hand to carry out the necessary interventions. Nine years ago Environment Malta applied to the Planning Authority and was issued with permits to dismantle the wall on the road, above the structure, remove the road surface and the material below the asphalt in order to eliminate the weight from the arches, strengthen the structure and rebuild the road and the parapet wall.
This permit was renewed in November last year. To date, the work has not started, and persons in the know have told Television Malta they expected that, at least as a safety measure, access to the public would be closed off with barriers, as happens every year during the Imnarja celebrations, when generators and other equipment are put in place during this annual activity.
This huge opening in the wall is known to many as the hall. It was constructed in the mid-17th century by Grandmaster Lascaris. Author Joe Borg writes in a publication on public gardens that this is a central structure in Buskett. Marble commemorative plaques are affixed to recall events relating to the gardens, and it was in use at one time as an aviary for exotic species like peacocks. It had also included a fountain with running water.
On the outside, between the arches, one can see a big stalactite, which was reportedly brought over from l-Għar il-Kbir. On the left is a ramp which leads to a house built by the Knights as a hunting lodge. Dr Borg had written that the actual house had been built by Grandmaster Pinto at the end of the 18th century, and it is an extension of another built by Grandmaster La Vallette.