Public consultation for the Cottonera Rehabilitation Strategy launched
Justice, Culture and Local Government Minister Owen Bonnici, Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Minister Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and the Property Market Chris Agius and Executive Coordinator of the Cottonera Rehabilitation Committee Glen Bedingfield have launched the public consultation for the Cottonera Rehabilitation Strategy.
In March, the government announced that a strategy for Cottonera is planned with the overall objective being to “seek to improve environmental and social standards in the inner harbour area, with both short and long-term regeneration goals”. This strategy establishes a framework that forms part of the wider policy context created by various national and sectoral policies such as social, environmental, economic, transport, cultural, heritage, tourism-related and spatial plans and policies.
Minister Bonnici said yesterday: “The regeneration process in our country is a delicate but necessary one, keeping Malta in tune with Europe’s rhythm but also with other regeneration processes in our region. The re- generation process in Cottonera started years back, with emphasis on the restoration of historic buildings but also with the creation of quality open spaces. This important process changed Cottonera. However, in any process of regeneration, the participation of the people is of the utmost importance. This strategy is focused on people and emphasises the well-being of all, with the aim of bettering the quality of life by means of several aspects that tie regeneration with a cultural emphasis.”
The vision of the strategy is based on three pillars: improving social capital, upgrading the urban environment and increasing business attractiveness.
Minister Borg spoke about the progress and economic prosperity that the country is currently experiencing and stressed that these bring with them an influx of people, growth in several sectors and development.
He said: “It is essential that, at times like these, conservation is also prioritised. Initiatives such as Irrestawra Darek, the Development Planning Fund and the scheduling of several properties around the country all help to realise this objective. Through the Cottonera Strategy, this government will facilitate the complete and widespread conservation of this zone which has played an essential role in Maltese history and in the country’s urban development.”
Several initiatives that have brought a breath of fresh air to this area were mentioned, including the regeneration of Dock 1 which has now become a waterfront for Cospicua, and which has transformed an industrial zone into a one for tourists. Minister Borg explained that it was of the utmost importance that the projects in the strategy not only include the embellishment of the area but also the improvement of social infrastructure, while addressing challenges which have been around for a long time.
To ensure the success of the plan, an entity – Fondazzjoni Kottonera – has been established with the specific aim of implementing, monitoring and reviewing this strategy. This will serve as a one-stop-shop that will assume the identity of the strategy and act as a focal point for planning, leading, organising and controlling all the implementation phases of the strategy.