Gozo school making way for museum at risk of losing EU funds

A €3.6 million museum co-financed by EU funds will be establshed inside an old school despite criticism, because scrapping it would mean losing nearly €4 million in funds

The government is set to go ahead with the conversion of a run-down building that previously formed part of a Victoria school, into a museum of history and culture because it risks losing out on €4 million in EU Funds.

The building, known as the Ninu Cremona Block, was picked out by former Gozo Minister Anton Refalo when he was still in office, but the current ministry could not afford to lose the funds it had acquired for the museum.

The project, worth €3,671,941, was 80% co-financed by the European Development Fund.

Scrapping it, therefore, would have meant losing nearly €4 million in funds.

Labour MP Anton Refalo – an avid art collector now appointed chairman of Heritage Malta – yesterday did not answer calls and an SMS message from MaltaToday for comment.

Sources said the former minister was urged not to pick the school as the site for the museum – particularly by the education ministry – but the plans went ahead and the funds were approved nonetheless.

The EU-funded project, titled The Establishment of a Regional Museum for Gozo, aims to establish a new institution which would enable the “interpretation of Gozo’s culture and history,” particularly by tourists.

It would also provide performing and exhibiting spaces for artists and contribute towards the socio-economic development of Gozo.

But the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) said that they were “highly disappointed” with the decision to go ahead with converting the dilapidated building into a museum, since they said there was a pressing need to relocate the town’s primary school to a modern and adequate building.

Instead, the government will relegate the current middle school building into a smaller area, and use the limited space to extend the building to also house a primary school, MUT said, adding that students and educators deserve “proper educational facilities” and not “extensions”.

More in National