A car park in the Valletta ditch, airstrip for Gozo among Budget plans

The results of a call for expressions of interest for land reclamation projects issued in July 2013 and concluded in December have still to be made public. 

A car park will be developed on part of the ditch under City Gate. The other part will be converted into a public garden.

The original plans had earmarked the entire area as a public garden. These plans were reviewed after the return of Labour to government.

In September MaltaToday had revealed that plans for the public garden in the Valletta ditch had been shelved until the completion of the new parliament building. Antonio Belvedere, from the Renzo Piano workshop, told MaltaToday that no feedback was given by the government on their downscaled plans for a public garden.

Other initiatives for Valletta include a number of bicycle racks and a master plan for building offices for the government’s revenue departments at Belt is-Sebh.

The budget also vaguely refers to plans for a private public partnership aimed at developing a breakwater between Sliema and Valletta to facilitate the development of yacht marinas in Marsamxett harbour.

Still no details on land reclamation

The results of a call for expressions of interest for land reclamation projects issued in July 2013 and concluded in December have still to be made public.  The budget reveals that “an encouraging number of submissions” have been identified and that the government has analyzed these submissions and started to identify which projects will be given priority.

Tourist development in Bighi

The budget vaguely hints at plans for the development of the Bighi area in Kalkara into a “tourist centre”.  No specific site is indicated for this public private project in the historically sensitive site.  The budget also refers to the development of a National Science Centre set to cost €26 million and co-financed by the EU. 

Community Centre at Pace Grasso

The Schreiber Ground is being identified as a community centre which will include a car park, a recreational area, a health and child care centre and a number of commercial facilities. 

Plans for the area were already announced by the previous administration in November 2012. Back then the proposal consisted of a new secondary school to serve as a regional centre, a football ground, a car park for 300 vehicles and a health centre. Prior to 2008 the Schreiber ground area had been identified for residential development but that was shelved. 

Other projects in the south of Malta mentioned in the budget include the rehabilitation of Wied Blandun and the regeneration of Marsa following the closure of the power station.

Airstrip for Gozo

The budget confirms plans for the construction of an airfield in Gozo, which is euphemistically described as a “rural/green airfield.”  The budget describes the airstrip as a way of linking Gozo with the rest of the Mediterranean. A public consultation on this proposal will be announced shortly.

The budget also reveals that two different applications seeking EU funds for feasibility studies for a tunnel between Malta and Gozo have failed. The budget confirms that the China Communications Construction Ltd will be conducting feasibility studies for both a tunnel and a bridge. Both studies will be published after being concluded.

The budget also reveals that sites have been identified for an extension of the industrial estate in Xewkija.

More in Budget 2015