Updated | Paola square paving collapsing two years after completion of €3m project

Paola council flags serious defects in works on the locality’s main square that were completed two years ago, including collapsing paving and reservoirs that don’t hold water

Pjazza Antoine de Paul in Paola was transformed in a €3 million project
Pjazza Antoine de Paul in Paola was transformed in a €3 million project

Updated at 12:34pm with architect's reaction

An overhaul of Paola’s main square that was completed two years ago is peppered with defects, according to a report commissioned by the council.

Il-Kunsill Lokali Paola ppreżenta rapport tan-nuqqasijiet marbuta mal-proġett tal-Pjazza u li fost l-oħrajn jinkludu dan...

Posted by Darren Lynch on Monday, 12 October 2020

The works undertaken by the central government re-dimensioned Pjazza Antoine de Paul by shifting traffic on one side, creating more open space. The project was plagued by controversy over the uprooting of trees that characterised the original square.

But now, just two years down the line, a report commissioned by the Paola council has flagged some serious problems, including the fact that parts of the square are collapsing.

Paola deputy mayor Darren Lynch flagged five major issues from the report in a Facebook post.

He said the lighting system at the top part of the square was not functional because the wiring was not in place. The wiring for the zebra crossing has not been installed, both ground fountains in the square are not operating because the reservoirs that feed them do not store water, and the benches are already rusty.

In view of these failures, the council is pressuring the Consultative Council for the South to ensure that the contractor and architect responsible for the project, Chris Mintoff, fix the problems flagged in the report.

A meeting with the contractor has been scheduled.

The works cost €3 million and were inaugurated in July 2018 by then prime minister Joseph Muscat.

Architect responds

Project architect Chris Mintoff told MaltaToday that the issues flagged by the council have long been flagged as unacceptable by his firm and presented to the contractor to address.

"Some items are already being address with many of the benches being replaced as required in the specifications. Talks are ongoing to address the remaining issues as soon as possible with minimal disruption to the users," he said.

But Mintoff also called for industrial traffic to stop passing through the centre of Paola since this was causing damage. "While the repairs are taking place, enforcement and maintenance are lacking, and once a project is handed over general upkeep is expected. This includes stopping industrial heavy vehicles from accessing the town centre which should have stopped a long time ago," Mintoff said.