[WATCH] Sneak preview of new Parliament building

SLIDESHOW - View exclusive pictures of new Parliament, taken during a visit to the €82 million project at City Gate, Valletta.

All photos by Ian Noel Pace/MediaToday
All photos by Ian Noel Pace/MediaToday

MaltaToday exclusively visited the new City Gate project in Valletta, this morning before the Speaker of the House together with the members of the House Business Committee toured the building. The project currently under construction includes a new City Gate bridge, Parliament and theatre.

The €82 million project has come under intense scrutiny and in recent weeks the new Labour government has said that it intends to hold a public consultation process to identify how the new buildings can be best utilised.

The new Parliament building, divided in two separate blocks covering a total of 23,000 square metres, was planned to be completed by September 2013, however the construction is behind schedule and there is no indication of when the buildings would be completed.

Between 120 and 150 workers are on site every day, working around the clock, producing an average of 17,000 tonnes of waste per month, of which 75% is recyclable.

The new Parliament building is divided into to separate blocks, connected with a bridge. The block housing the parliament chamber and the strangers' gallery cannot be modified however the government will explore ideas for the buildings use outside Parliament hours which do not exceed 10 hours per week.

However, the use of the other block which was planned to house the Parliamentary offices is up for discussion and the government intends to identify ways to use the building during the public consultation meeting.

The amount of office space available is unknown, however the building consists of three floors, including a glass hall on the top floor. The office block's second floor will be reserved for the Opposition, and the third floor will be occupied by the Speaker and the Clerk of the House. There are only eight offices for ministries, as previously envisaged by the Gonzi administration, and an open area for MPs.

Speaker Anglu Farrugia, who was present for a tour of the site, said he could not comment on whether the parliament was big enough to house the current complement of MPs and ministers. He said he will be discussing this with the House Business Committee when they are given a presentation of the parliament.

Each of the limestone slabs on the buildings' façade is unique, forming an intricate and delicate jigsaw puzzle.

The new City Gate bridge in Valletta has been narrowed down to its original 16th-century width as the Valletta project continues.

Over the years the bridge has been reconstructed and as a result it was widened from the original six metres to the current 20 metres.

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