Plan­ning re­con­struc­tion from the bot­tom up

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

To look at them, the photos show­ing a re­con­structed Paceville and St Ge­orge’s Bay are pleas­ant enough – wide roads left for pedes­tri­ans, gleam­ing tow­ers or sky­scrapers, palm trees and peo­ple en­joy­ing them­selves. Could not be bet­ter. A dream. It is only when you try to marry this view of the fu­ture to the present that doubts sprout. What is to be done with the build­ings and the out­lets that are found to be in ex­cess of re­quire­ments? More fun­da­men­tally: who got the idea to draw up this plan, why was it not made public at in­cep­tion, and why was the gen­eral public not con­sulted be­fore it was made public? This is where the gov­ern­ment, not the first time, be­comes a crop­per. Los­ing the good idea in the wel­ter of public de­bate and worse, in wide­spread sus­pi­cion, there is some­thing be­hind all this.

Edi­tor’s pick

It would seem that the plan was con­ceived by the big ho­tel mag­nates present or to be present in the area and that it is tai­lored to their spe­cific needs. Hence the ‘eth­nic cleans­ing’ to be car­ried out in the area with the ‘un­de­sir­ables’’. Thus was a good idea buried un­der a ton of ce­ment. To throw out the pro­posal and leave ev­ery­thing – in this case Paceville – as it is means to leave the area in the sorry state it is in now. It would also mean that no pro­posal to re­con­struct Malta’s ne­glected ar­eas can be en­ter­tained. What the Paceville moghuls need to un­der­stand is that this is not a green­field site, where you can plan and dis­trib­ute ac­cord­ing to plan. Malta is no Dubai with an in­fi­nite ex­panse of sand, where one can plan ac­cord­ing to one’s de­sires.

So too are all the other ar­eas in Malta, even those most ne­glected.

Let’s think of any other area in Malta, ex­cept Paceville. All need re­con­struc­tion, many times very heavy re­con­struc­tion. There are prece­dents dat­ing back to the ef­forts at slum clear­ance. To do that re­quires the power of the law, a heavy out­lay to pro­vide al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion and an as­sur­ance that eq­uity will be sought at all times.

The so-called Paceville master plan did noth­ing of the sort. There is noth­ing about the funds that are needed, and cer­tainly noth­ing say­ing that the ho­tel own­ers who can ben­e­fit from this pro­posal fork­ing out sums to help re­lo­ca­tion. Nor is there any­thing about any leg­isla­tive pro­posal in this re­gard.

So, in­ter­est­ing and fas­ci­nat­ing as the pro­posal is, it has to be re­turned to the draw­ing board un­til such a time when it is re-pre­sented not as a pro­posal of the few, but as a pro­posal that car­ries the con­sen­sus of as many in­ter­ested persons as pos­si­ble.

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