€10 million facelift for 16 derelict spaces across Malta and Gozo

Project Green community greening grants for local councils will upgrade derelict or concrete spaces in community areas

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

A €10 million Community Greening Grant will allow local councils to upgrade derelict or concrete spaces in community areas.

Project Green’s grant will go to 16 localities in Malta and Gozo to have derelict areas turned into green open spaces with educational or sports facilities to complement the community’s needs.

“It is clear that people want these projects,” Prime Minister Robert Abela said in a press conference announcing the launch. “The choice on which projects we chose to invest in was done by the communities themselves.”

Spaces in highly urbanised zones were given priority by Project Green, the new government agency tasked with the planning and implementation of Labour’s pledge to allocate €700 million to urban greening projects over seven years. “This government’s commitment to increase open spaces is one we made last year before the general election, and it is one we are keeping,” Abela said.

The pledge is for an open space to be no more than 10 minutes away from a person’s home, school or workplace.

In this first tranche of funding, a cumulative area four times the size of Floriana’s Granaries will be converted into a green space by 2025. Project Green will provide a 10-year maintenance plan, but the projects are spearheaded by local councils, while a handful also run by NGOs Hospice Malta, Grow 10 Trees, and BirdLife Malta.

Environment Minister Miriam Dalli said this was the largest scheme in recent years dedicated to the local environment. “From the start of Project Green to this day, we opened 32,000sqm of public space in no less than four months.”


The proposals

Project Green received 72 applications from local councils, NGOs, and different schools. 16 localities will have abandoned areas turned into green public spaces in Malta and Gozo.

In Santa Venera, an abandoned site will be turned into a new public garden by Hospice Malta next to the organisation’s new palliative care centre.

In Mtarfa, a new community garden called the Fruit Forest project will replace a concrete-surfaced site near the local housing estate. The project will be spearheaded by the Mtarfa local council.

A new educational garden will be set up in Birkirkara and run by volunteers from Grow 10 Trees. It will be complemented by a nursery of indigenous flora, where the NGO will set up a life seed bank to create future green open spaces.

Mosta’s Reggie Cilia garden, behind the Mosta Basilica, will be upgraded with refurbished sport and community facilities with the aim of promoting alternative mobility. The new park will also extend into nearby roads, allowing the park to grow to almost 2,000sqm.

A derelict area in Triq il-Għasel, currently being used as a dumping site, will be transformed into a public garden by the Mellieħa Local Council.

In Ħal Għaxaq, a neglected woodland in Taż-Żebbuġ will be rehabilitated and opened as a public picnic area with pathways and other outdoor amenities. This will serve as a family park with improved walking paths that will be accessible to people with disability. Cycle lanes will also be set up in the park.

Pjazza Victor Denara in Msida will be transformed into a safer, greener area outside the adjacent school, with new spaces for outdoor educational activities.

In San Pawl il-Baħar, an inaccessible woodland next to the Simar Nature Reserve will be opened to the public with sustainable picnic and walking areas. This area will be managed by BirdLife Malta.

In Marsaxlokk, the Tal-Kavallerizza area will benefit from a new woodland to increase biodiversity and carbon sequestration of the area.

One of Gżira’s busiest bus stops will see a small green pocket next to it revived through this project, spearheaded by the Gżira Local Council.

In Għargħur, Sports Malta will build a new public park centred around various physical and sports activities for different age groups and mobility difficulties.

Next to De La Salle College in Bormla, an underutilised garden will be turned into an educational green open space promoting biodiversity and nature-based learning.

In Raħal Ġdid, Ġnien Mediterran will be upgraded with increased afforestation, a dog park and a dedicated area for students with a direct link to the MCAST Campus.

Pjazza Karmelitani in Żurrieq will enjoy more trees, decorating lighting and street furniture, while a redundant vehicular path will be removed.

The Pieta Local Council will be reviving its playground with increased landscaped area for more trees and shrubs.

In Gozo, the Għajnsielem Local Council will be upgrading a public garden with an education hub and three water cisterns to improve water catchment. There will be a direct walking route to Mġarr Valley with new accessibility features.