Sliema, as we want it to be

At the end of the day we have a government and council which are more often than not subservient to the interests of big business.

The pedestrianization of Bisazza Street is a clear example of the lack of direction of the Nationalist Government. Ministers Austin Gatt and George Pullicino, who are respectively responsible for public transport and for the pedestrianisation of Bisazza Street, have been unable to coordinate their effort regarding Arriva’s claim to have buses passing from the street. As things stand, tax payers will likely foot the bill for their blunder, if Arriva is to be compensated for having its buses pass from elsewhere.

Anyone who believes in the importance of public transport would immediately realise that buses should pass through the Qui-si-sana and Tigné seafronts, thus making it easier for residents of these areas to have access to public transport. The buses shall be of Euro 5 standard, meaning that they are the least polluting diesel buses on the market, though there are less polluting buses which use cleaner types of fuel.

Given that Bisazza Street has now been pedestrianized, it should remain as such. Having vehicles, of whatever nature passing through this road will reduce the amenity for commuters. At the same time, however, traffic at the Qui-si-sana and Tigne' seafronts has increased. Are transport authorities penalizing those whose cars, trucks and buses are emitting fumes above permitted levels, possibly because of dubious methods of fuel?

In the meantime, a few metres away, the Townsquare proposal is haunting Sliema. Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party is objecting to the proposal, which includes a 23-storey tower, amongst others. Once again, Sliema residents are being offered another development similar to what we have at Tigné Point and Fort Cambridge.

Studies commissioned by the Townsquare proponents show that the development will result in further shading of parts of the Qui-Si-Sana promenade, the sea and the rocky foreshore and will have a major impact on the landscape, as is the case with the other nearby development referred to previously. Besides, a revised environment impact study confirmed that Townsquare will increase air pollution and thousands of cars in an already congested area. Indeed, the study projects an additional 4,430 vehicles in daily traffic in Qui-Si-Sana, increasing peak flows in the area from the present 24,444 to 28,874 vehicles. This will not only help deteriorate people’s health and increase traffic jams but will also possibly put Malta in infringement of EU directives on issues relative to the quality of air. In this regard, MEPA is legally obliged to ensure that the air quality limit values enforced by the Ambient Air Quality Directive are not exceeded.

Sliema Local Council is totally silent on this proposed development. Perhaps it will speak after MEPA approves the project. But it will then be too late. Or perhaps those opposing the proposed development will emerge victorious. Time will tell.

Other parts of Sliema are not immune to the Local Council’s slumber. For example, we are yet to hear the official position of the Council on the worthy proposal of the Sliema Residents’ Association to schedule the extensive gardens at Villa Bonici. We are also yet to be informed whether Sliema Local Council has noticed the disproportionate development at Exiles. The Council had all the time in the world to act consistently with its previous position and officially appeal against the development. But it did not.

Yet apparently, judging by voting patterns of most Sliema residents, this is Sliema as we want it to be. With all the talk of whether the PN should be conservative, liberal or what ever may win it the next election, the elephant in the room seems to be missed. At the end of the day we have a Government and Council which are more often than not subservient to the interests of big business. This subservience is both ideological, in that the PN believes in the god of overdevelopment, as well as structural, given that the PN is financed by big business interests.

Michael Briguglio, a former local councilor in Sliema, is Chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party

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It is "then" not "than". As long as you are happy then there is no reason to protest :)
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RJ, first you whine about 'the south' being neglected, than, when I point out the number of projects undertaken in the south you never admit you were wrong but start moaning about the power station. . Yes, there's a power station in the south. And huge landfills in the north. And traffic congestion in the centre. And rampant over-development everywhere. So? . Still feeling a victim? Stop being a spoilt brat, RJ, and act your age.
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Antoine Vella - you kind of remind me of a certain L Vella, who always comments when the word 'immigrant' is mentioned. You do the same when someone seems to criticize or not understand the grand vision of the government (i'm assuming PN government). You get quite defensive, which is likely to reflect the siege mentality of the current government. I do not wish to get into an argument with you on which side of Malta got it better or worse. Power plants (running on heavy fuel) are placed in the south and is no incident that there are illnesses connected to such pollution. A park does not compensate for a heavy fuel plant. So i'm sorry I do not share your enthusiasm.
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Alchemist, perhaps government should ban cars from Marsa. The area is known for horse-keeping after all, so people from "the south" (qisna xi kontinent) could travel by karozzin instead of by car. No suffocation. . Or perhaps you could use your alchemic skills to conjure up a proper, modern bus service for people to use instead of their cars. Oh wait, that's already being done. . Of course, some might still insist on being chronically unhappy (vide RJ) and boycott the buses, continuing to prefer their own smoke-belchers. Well, your lungs are yours after all. . The point remains (I won't be side-tracked) that government has undertaken as many regeneration projects in "the south" as it has in "the north". Probably more.
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RJ, do you think that only In-Nazzjon reported these projects? . If you really are from the south of Malta, as you claim to be, you should have experienced the projects at first-hand, without reading about them in the media.
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Thanks Antoine Vella - I'll try to read in Nazzjon more often.
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@ Antoine Vella Have you ever been to the South? I really wonder! So we are building a steel bridge which will take us from St Elmo to the Breakwater - OMG. Meanwhile Marsa suffocates with the daily congestion of traffic through which Dr Gonzi passes every day but blissfully looks the other way!!!!
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RJ has also failed to notice, among other projects, the recent embellishment of the Marsaxlokk promenade, following that of Wied il-Għajn. . His blackened glasses (tort tal-power station) also stop him noticing the restoration of the Cottonera bastions, the transformation of Dock 1 at Bormla, the Delimara park and the regeneration of the Birgu waterfront, to mention but a few. . Some people are born moaners, others choose moaning as a career. I wonder to which category RJ belongs.
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thanks Michael for your clarification. I am growing frustrated by the way the people of sliema complain about everything when in reality parks and new pavements are being done there while the people of the south get the Island's rubbish.
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RJ, thanks for your comments. Perhaps you have failed to note AD's various statements, activities etc. on developments in the South, the most recent being the Freeport activities, on which we commented a few days ago.
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You know what Micahel - Sliema gets a nice street at the end of the day; the south gets recycling plants, a heavy fuel plant and a drainage plant. I wouldn't mind exchanging. Perhaps the 'greens' should take their own label a bit more seriously. But then again the south (votes wise) is hopeless for you.