[WATCH] €4 million Triton Fountain restoration nears completion

The installation of the Triton Fountain is expected to be completed by tomorrow, with efforts then shifting to choosing the best lighting system and water purification method

Plans to restore this iconic landmark at the capital's entrance have been in the pipeline since 2011
Plans to restore this iconic landmark at the capital's entrance have been in the pipeline since 2011

The restoration of the iconic Triton Fountain at the entrance to Valletta is edging closer to completion, with the regeneration of the entire entrance expected to be completed by the end of the year, as planned, according to transport and infrastructure minister Ian Borg.

Addressing a press conference following a visit to the site of the works, Borg said that it was satisfying to see the fountain placed back in its place after seven months of restoration works.

“We all have memories and experiences of the Triton Fountain and Valletta’s entrance,” Borg said, adding that the government was making “good progress in giving Valletta the entrance it deserves”.

The entrance, he said, would be completed in time for the start of the Valletta 2018 festivities (V18).

Above all, Borg said the visit was intended as a show appreciation to workers currently involved in the fountain’s restoration.

The ministry will also be intensifying other works in the capital, including various roadwork, in the coming months, Borg said, adding that after hosting several European leaders during the first six months of 2016, during Malta’s presidency of the Council of Europe, attention would now be shifting to V18.

Borg said that after hosting European leaders in the first six months of the year, the government was now looking forward to V18. 

Permanent Secretary Christopher Cutajar said that the project did not only involve the restoration of the statue, since had this been the case, it could have been carried out on-site.

He said that the statue was previously immersed in its concrete base but had now been removed, allowing for restoration and other works to be carried out on it in the future.

He added that a tunnel had been created between fountain and plant room, and a new pump room had also been created which would allow for the treatment of the fountain’s water.

Cutajar said work would now shift to determining the ideal lighting system for the fountain.

"We will obviously be ensuring that the system complements the lighting of Valletta’s entrance,” he added.

The fountain’s restoration forms part of the regeneration of the entrance to Valletta that, when completed, will see the Triton Fountain square becoming a pedestrian area to be used for social, cultural and recreational activities. The project will also see the Valletta ditch turned into a garden.

The Infrastructure Ministry, together with the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation, is charged with overseeing the works which are expected to be completed by the end of the year – in time for the commencement of the Valletta 2018 festivities.

Addressing a press conference in April this year, former transport minister Joe Mizzi had said that the fountain was on the verge of being lost forever, with the extent of its damage being far greater than was originally thought.

Plans to restore this iconic landmark at the capital's entrance have been in the pipeline since 2011, but works only started in February, partly due to delays in the tendering process.

In 2011, the project, meant to be incorporated in Renzo Piano’s Valletta plan, was budgeted at €2 million. However, at the start of works, it was announced that the cost had doubled.

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