Balluta steps: Frustrated mayor says plans will be amended, but embellishment will go ahead

St Julian's Mayor Albert Buttigieg says no one had objected to the plans for the refurbishment of the public steps in Balluta during the dedicated objection period

St Julian's Mayor Albert Buttigieg
St Julian's Mayor Albert Buttigieg

An embellishment exercise for the Balluta steps area is set to go ahead, but the St Julian’s local council will be amending certain aspects of the plan following public outrage over the project.

Speaking to MaltaToday, the locality’s mayor Albert Buttigieg said the local council is in talks with its architect to amend parts of the plans.

However, Buttigieg lamented that the plans have been in the works for six years. A tender had been issued for the redesigning of the stairs, and the plans were eventually subject to an objection period. Yet, no one raised any concerns until last week.

“Where were all these objections during the process?” he asked.

Joe Attard Kingswell Steps in Balluta as they are today
Joe Attard Kingswell Steps in Balluta as they are today

Evidently frustrated at the fallout, Buttigieg added that instances like this are disheartening for other local councillors looking to make changes in their localities. “We had €400,000 in funds, we weren’t going to waste them,” he stated.

The Balluta stairs embellishment project is set to cost €450,000, and will be fully financed by the Planning Authority’s Development Planning Fund. However, its high cost and hyper-modern look led many to describe it as a waste of money, with some pitching their own traditional designs for the space.

A breakdown of the costs for the project was handed to the Times of Malta by ACB Architects, the firm behind the designs. According to the report, the water cascade and viewing areas take up the bulk of the costs, at €104,000 and €117,500 respectively.

Costs for the viewing area will cover the laying of a concrete foundation, waterproofing, wall plastering and the laying of new wood planks.

On the planters, which cost €63,900, Buttigieg pointed out that they will be fitted with an irrigation system and waterproof material, while a cistern will be on site to collect water for the plants.

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