Ju­di­cial protest against Trans­port Min­is­ter, PM, Trans­port Malta over Sliema park­ing scheme

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The Sliema lo­cal coun­cil yes­ter­day filed a ju­di­cial protest against Trans­port Min­is­ter Joe Mizzi, Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Muscat and Trans­port Malta for is­su­ing a le­gal no­tice which re­pealed a res­i­den­tial park­ing scheme specif­i­cally for Sliema, al­low­ing other lo­cal­i­ties to make use of the scheme.

The ju­di­cial protest ex­plains that the coun­cil had started to im­ple­ment the res­i­den­tial park­ing scheme in line with the law, how­ever in early June 2013 the Sliema scheme was sus­pended and Trans­port Min­is­ter Joe Mizzi hinted that such schemes were to be re­vised.

It must be noted that other lo­cal­i­ties still have res­i­den­tial park­ing schemes in place. In June 2013, the Trans­port Min­istry is­sued a le­gal no­tice to “specif­i­cally tar­get only Sliema and legally an­nul the right for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a res­i­den­tial park­ing scheme.”

Af­ter op­po­si­tion for the “dis­crim­i­na­tory” move, three meet­ings took place with Min­is­ter Joe Mizzi, in which Mr Chir­cop said that it had ap­peared as though a park­ing scheme was be­ing de­vel­oped for all lo­cal­i­ties. It was then re­vealed that this was no longer a pri­or­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to the ju­di­cial protest, in one of the meet­ings be­tween Min­is­ter Mizzi and the Sliema lo­cal coun­cil, it was re­vealed that the park­ing scheme to be im­ple­mented in all lo­cal­i­ties, in­clu­sive of Sliema, was sus­pended due to the in­tro­duc­tion of a new pub­lic bus sys­tem. The im­pact on traf­fic and park­ing through this new pub­lic bus scheme could not be ig­nored, there­fore the park­ing scheme was sus­pended.

“We waited a long time in or­der to see the park­ing scheme that the govern­ment was sup­posed to be com­ing up with. No­body can say we were not tol­er­ant and pa­tient. At this stage, with the find­ings of such a survey in our hand, we re­serve the right to take le­gal ac­tion,” Mr Chir­cop said in a pre­vi­ous press con­fer­ence on the mat­ter.

A study was com­mis­sioned to MISCO, ac­cord­ing to the ju­di­cial protest. The very same press con­fer­ence which took place in April of last year, re­vealed the re­sults of the survey. It showed that the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Sliema res­i­dents are in favour of im­ple­ment­ing such a scheme.

Find­ings of the survey were sent to the Prime Min­is­ter and to the Trans­port Min­istry.

One of the found­ing part­ners of MISCO ex­plained that 300 Sliema res­i­dents were in­cluded in the survey, rep­re­sen­ta­tive of age and gender of the lo­cal­ity.

It was found that 72% re­gard the scheme pro­posed by the coun­cil as pos­i­tive, 19% nega­tive, and 8% evenly split be­tween ‘in­dif­fer­ent’ and ‘don’t know.’

Re­spon­dents were also asked to pro­vide a rat­ing from one to 10 to es­tab­lish how favourable they are. In to­tal, the scheme was given a rank­ing of 7.25. Mr Zam­mit said that this shows how not only that the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents are in favour of the scheme, but that they are “very” in favour of it.

Re­spon­dents were then asked to state why they per­ceive the park­ing scheme to be pos­i­tive or nega­tive. Out of those who per­ceived it as nega­tive, 43.9 per cent found that it would be a prob­lem for vis­i­tors to res­i­dents, 29.8 per cent cited prob­lems for the com­mer­cial sec­tor, 19.3 per cent said the time al­lot­ted in the scheme is too re­stricted (120 min­utes) and another 19.3 per cent said they did not know why they per­ceived it as neg­a­tively.

In the ju­di­cial protest, it states that it is “un­just” and “un­ac­cept­able” for a le­gal no­tice to be is­sued that specif­i­cally pre­cludes Sliema from mak­ing use of the park­ing scheme. The only two streets in Sliema that are per­mit­ted to use such a scheme are those of Dingli Street and the Strand.

The Sliema lo­cal coun­cil takes is­sue with the fact that no valid or jus­ti­fied rea­sons have been given to the lo­cal coun­cil for be­ing stopped from mak­ing use of tools that good mit­i­gate the park­ing prob­lem in Sliema.

The protest states that the prin­ci­ple of good gov­er­nance is not be­ing fol­lowed, and de­mands that dis­cus­sions im­me­di­ately re­con­vene in or­der to reach an un­der­stand­ing/agree­ment, that a con­crete and tan­gi­ble park­ing scheme be im­ple­mented in Sliema – as was promised by Min­is­ter Mizzi – and that ef­fec­tively and prac­ti­cally mit­i­gates the park­ing prob­lem in Sliema and lastly the coun­cil is hold­ing Mr Mizzi, Dr Muscat and Trans­port Malta re­spon­si­ble for the dam­ages and in­con­ve­nience caused to the res­i­dents of Sliema.

Turn­ing to what the scheme ac­tu­ally en­tails, Mr Chir­cop said that 50% of all park­ing within Sliema would be re­served for res­i­dents. That same 50% would also be avail­able to the pub­lic for not longer than 120 min­utes.

The other 50% would be avail­able to the pub­lic at all times, un­re­servedly. Mr Chir­cop ex­plained that dif­fer­ent zones in Sliema have dif­fer­ent park­ing needs, for ex­am­ple one par­tic­u­lar area is heav­ily pop­u­lated by schools so park­ing is­sues emerge at cer­tain times of the day. The scheme will be im­proved as time goes by in or­der to make it more and more ef­fec­tive.

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