€631,000 for em­bel­lish­ment works in Swieqi, Birkirkara and Xgha­jra

Malta Independent - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

The Plan­ning Author­ity yes­ter­day signed an agree­ment with the lo­cal coun­cils of Swieqi, Birkirkara and Xagħra to fund €631,000 worth of projects in their re­spec­tive lo­cal­i­ties.

The projects fall un­der the Author­ity’s Ur­ban Im­prove­ment Fund, and in­clude ma­jor up­grad­ing work in the Birkirkara val­ley area, the em­bel­lish­ment of FX Ebe­jer Gar­den in Swieqi and paving work around the Chapel of St An­thony the Ab­bot in Xagħra, Gozo.

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence held in Swieqi yes­ter­day, Plan­ning Author­ity ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Jo­hann But­tigieg, Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Plan­ning Deborah Schem­bri, Swieqi Mayor Noel Mus­cat and PA Board chair­man Vince Cas­sar signed the agree­ment for the em­bel­lish­ment work.

The PA also pre­sented the may­ors of Swieqi, Mel­lieħa and Mqabba with the money for re­cently com­pleted projects, such as the up­grad­ing work and ac­cess to all fa­cil­i­ties at a pub­lic gar­den and ten­nis court in Triq Il-Hemel, Swieqi, the up­grad­ing of a play­ing field in Mqabba and the in­stal­la­tion of new en­ergy-sav­ing street light­ing in a num­ber of streets in Mel­lieha. The to­tal cost of the work amounted to over €233,000.

While the may­ors were ac­cept­ing the cheques, Swieqi Mayor Noel Mus­cat pleaded with PA Board Chair­man Vince Cas­sar for the author­ity to help strike a bal­ance be­tween de­vel­op­ment ap­provals and re­tain­ing the lit­tle open space there is left.

“Swieqi is un­der siege by de­vel­op­ment, there is barely any open space left so please help us,” he said.

Ad­dress­ing the con­fer­ence, Dr Schem­bri re­vealed that this com­ing Jan­uary, the gov­ern­ment will be in­creas­ing the cri­te­ria for the avail­abil­ity of Ur­ban Im­prove­ment Funds, al­low­ing more lo­cal­i­ties to have the op­por­tu­nity of tap­ping into these funds.

The projects pro­posed for Birkirkara, Swieqi and Xgha­jra will in­clude:

Ex­ten­sive em­bel­lish­ment work in Birkirkara along Triq il-Qasab and Sqaq ilWied will con­sist of new street fur­ni­ture, foot­paths, dec­o­ra­tive rail­ings, street light­ing and the­up­grad­ing of an ex­ist­ing gar­den.

In Xaghra the UIF project will in­clude the in­stal­la­tion of traver­tine steps and ar­chi­tec­tural ex­ter­nal light­ing along the chapel’s pavis and repaving work along the al­ley lead­ing up to the chapel.

The Chapel of St An­thony the Ab­bott is one of the old­est chapels in Gozo and served as the first par­ish church of Xaghra un­til 1962.

Ex­ten­sive em­bel­lish­ment work will be car­ried out in F.X. Ebe­jer Gar­den in Swieqi, a pop­u­lar pub­lic gar­den en­joyed by res­i­dents liv­ing in the area. The work in­cludes the in­stal­la­tion of a tim­ber gazebo, child sen­sory play equip­ment, land­scap­ing, en­trance gates and new light­ing.

Over the past year, the PA has signed agree­ments with 13 dif­fer­ent lo­cal coun­cils for projects that are es­ti­mated to cost over €1.2 mil­lion. The funds for these projects orig­i­nate from the Ur­ban Im­prove­ment Fund ad­min­is­tered by the PA. The ac­cu­mu­lated money in this fund orig­i­nates from the fee the PA im­poses on de­vel­op­ers, where projects can­not fully cater for park­ing pro­vi­sions as re­quired by law.

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