Friday, December 14, 2012

Beaches and Education (2)

Michael Briguglio

(This article appeared in the Sliema Local Council magazine, December 2012

In the last edition of the Sliema Local Council magazine, I highlighted some of the work done by Sliema Local Council in areas under my responsibility as local councillor, namely maritime affairs and education respectively. In particular, as regards maritime affairs, I referred to issues such as beach cleaning, accessibility in beaches, bicycle racks, swimmers’ zones, enforcement against littering, and the proposed upgrading of the Taormina area.

As regards education, I referred to initiatives such the lifelong learning programme and storytelling for children at the Sliema public library.

In this article, I would like to discuss some recent developments in these two areas.

As regards maritime affairs, the Sliema Local Council approved the proposal of a bye-law to regulate Bar-b-ques. This was discussed in the maritime subcommittee which I chair, and I also invited residents to send me proposals.

In short, Sliema council is proposing that even though no prior authorization would be required from the council to authorize BBQs, due its unpractical nature, those organizing such events would be held responsible for their activities.

We are proposing the application of existing legislation regarding littering; that no loud music or excessive noise pollution would be allowed; that no cars would be allowed on the rocks/beaches; that no open fires would be permitted on rocks/beaches and that BBQs are to be held on BBQ equipment. If these proposals would be approved by the respective authorities, the bye-law would be in place Green wardens would then have better facility to enforce accordingly. Thus a balance between peoples’ recreational activities and responsible behaviour on public land would be reached.

As regards education, with pleasure I announce that the lifelong learning courses in German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Italian, French, Maltese, English, Lace Making and Energy Saving are proving to be succesful, with high attendance. This only ecourages
Sliema Local Council to keep investing in education.

I am also proud to announce that the Sliema library hosted library day on 5th December, is being made more accessible through investment in a wi-fi system. The library area is also being given greater attention, for example through better signage. Story telling sessions for children are being held every Saturday morning from 9am to 10am and a variety books are being purchased, including for persons with special needs. The library has also benefitted from kind donations.

I encourage all those who would like to propose improvments with regard to maritime affairs and education to contact me. In the meantime I wish a merry Christmas and happy new year to all Sliema residents.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Library Day in Sliema

Library Day was held in the Sliema Public Library of 5 December, and events for the day included 3 educational talks by Guido Lanfranco, Prof Yosanne Vella and Dr Edward Said.

A wide range of books can be borrowed from the library. Other services offered include internet, WI-FI (to be installed very soon) and storytelling for children.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Transforming libraries

Michael Briguglio

The Times, 12th October, 2012

Amid the hurly-burly of possible elections dates, parliamentary mischief and wage freeze circuses, various issues tend to lose their place in public discourse. This does not mean that such issues are less important than others but simply that they are not successfully articulated in sites within the public sphere such as the media.

The issue concerning libraries is a case in point. I had three significant encounters with libraries.

The first was when, last year, the responsibilities assigned to me in the newly-elected Sliema local council included overseeing the locality’s public library. When I previously was a councillor between 2003 and 2009, this area was not under my responsibility.

Now, I am doing my best so that our library, managed by a very dedicated librarian, is given as much support and resources as possible by the local council, within current constraints.

My second encounter was when the same library introduced a new initiative, a few months ago, namely story-telling for children, which I proposed within the local council. Hopefully, this initiative will attract more children than is the case at the moment but I know for sure that children have much to learn from it.

What better proof do I need than seeing my own son, David (four), looking forward to go to the library every Saturday morning?

The third and most recent encounter was a meeting I had a few days ago with MaLIA, the Malta Library and Information Association ( This association is putting forward proposals for the forthcoming election, which deserve support from political parties, policymakers and local councils. It has also produced a document with guidelines and standards for the development of the Malta public library service.

I for one, can guarantee that Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green party supports such proposals.

Something of utmost importance is the need to have more funds for Malta’s public libraries and all other government-funded libraries such as the National Library, the University of Malta library and the Mcast library.

It is positive that a national and public library authority exists and that local
councils have allocations for their libraries but this surely does not suffice. The same can be said as regards the national library.

Calculations by MaLIA show that Malta lags far behind in investment in libraries when compared with other countries in a similar socio-economic situation. This is even more worrying when statistics show that many Maltese people are not particularly fond of reading. In this regard, it is perhaps symbolic that despite the wide support for having a public library in the new parliamentary building, this proposal ended up being shelved.

An increase in investment in libraries can work wonders. Take the University library. When I was reading for my bachelor’s degree in the late 1990s, the internet was a distant dream and full access to academic papers was more a question of charity from generous authors. Now that I am lecturing full-time at the University and my doctorate is in viva stage, I can witness a quantum leap in various areas, especially usage of information technology and access to academic papers.

The hefty increase in investment in the library and the diligent and professional work of its staff explain this shift.

Beyond the required need of increased funding, it is also important to promote local public libraries as community centres in a context of everyday democracy.

In this regard, it would be important to ensure that all libraries have internet access and that their architecture, furnishing, equipment and, of course, collections are inviting to members of the community. They should be fully accessible, should have comfortable sitting facilities and should also have periodical publications - such as newspapers and magazines - that can encourage people to visit regularly.

Unfortunately, many local libraries have very small premises. This does not only include existing libraries but also planned libraries. For example, I have been informed that the library in the new Swieqi community centre will be very small in size.

From an information technology perspective, it is also important that all the different publicly-funded libraries and archives are connected together through an electronic catalogue. This can be of great benefit in the search of books, research and other material. There could also be a unified purchasing system enabling libraries to make savings in their purchase of software and other IT requirements.

Such standardisation should also take place with regard to library staff. The professionalisation of librarianship in Malta - for example, through University qualifications - should act as an incentive to ensure that all libraries include such specialised personnel in their staff complement. An important step in this direction is to ensure that all public school colleges have a head college librarian.

Libraries can also extend to various spheres in culture and the arts. In this respect, the Green party is proposing that a cultural centre at a prominent site should be considered, including a permanent museum of modern art and state-of-the-art central public lending and reference library with information presented in all its possible formats be it print, multimedia, audio-visual or digital.

Private sector operators in artistic productions such as cinema, books, records and artistic products, should be involved in this project.

It is impossible to have all these improvements at one go, especially given the lack of available funds. However, it is vital that libraries are given the opportunity to blossom to proper cultural and educational hubs.

Michael Briguglio, a sociologist, is chairman of Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green party and AD local councillor in Sliema.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Beaches and Education

Michael Briguglio

From Sliema Local Council magazine - Autumn 2012

In this article I would like to highlight some of the work done by Sliema Local Council in areas under my responsibility as local councilor, namely maritime affairs and education respectively.

One of the main challenges faced by the Sliema local council this year was beach cleaning. For this purpose, and for other matters related to beaches, a subcommittee chaired by myself was formed. We highlighted main challenges to the Cleansing Department and to the Malta Tourism Authority, and various improvements were made, such as placing of practical bins and increased cleaning efforts. However, various challenges remain. We should avoid having our beaches littered with dog pooh, plastic bottles, cigarette butts and other waste!

Suffice to say that a civic-minded NGO, 'That's Rubbish', carried out two beach clean-ups from Fortizza to the area past Surfside lido, in collaboration with Sliema Local Council – and a total of 65 Kg of cigarette butts and other waste were collected in one instance and 40kg in the other.

Another challenge relates to accessibility in beaches. In this regard, I am pleased to report that following the local council’s collaboration with Malta Tourism Authority, various ramps and ladders have helped increase accessibility in our beaches. The increase in swimmers’ zones also helped increase safety. I am pleased to announce that Sliema Local Council has applied with Transport Malta for two new swimmers’ zones next year, namely another one at Exiles (under the Taormina area, to the left of the pier) and one at Qui-si-sana.

Sliema Local Council is also considering introducing a bye-law to regulate Bar-B-Ques, in order that people may recreate themselves responsibly, thus ensuring that beaches are left clean. I invite those interested in sending suggestions in this regard to email me with your feedback.

In order to promote green mobility in Sliema, we have also installed four new bicycle racks along the Sliema promenade, from Exiles to Ghar id-Dud, and near the pedestrianized Bisazza Street. This will make life easier for cyclists, and will hopefully help contribute to the greening of Sliema.

Enforcement by wardens has also been increased at Sliema’s beaches, particularly with regards to cars parked on the rocks under it-Torri and to those who litter our beaches with dog pooh. Such enforcement will remain in place until such problems are done away with.

Sliema Local Council has also approved plans for better management of parking, berthing of boats and swimming in the area under Taormina. Following consultation with fishermen, garage owners and others, the Beaches and Transport subcommittees proposed a plan which was approved by the Local Council and which will hopefully increase safety and accessibility in the area. It was very difficult to please everyone to the full, but the approved plans take into consideration the different interests and needs of the area.

An exciting project supported by Sliema Local Council is the Putting Colour Into the Streets Project by the ‘Troglodyte’ artists, which in the case of Sliema includes the painting of murals at Qui-si-sana beach. This is surely a breath of fresh air when compared to the drab grey cement walls which were previously in place!

As regards education, one of the successes of the local council was its lifelong learning programme, in collaboration with the Lifelong Learning Directorate and the Department for Local Government. Various courses were held, and participation was very good. Another series of courses will take place between October and May. The areas under consideration, depending on demand from prospective applicants, including the following: Litterizmu fil-Malti; English Literacy; Maths/Numeracy; Maltese as a foreign language; English as a foreign language; French; German; Spanish; Italian; Russian; Arabic; Lace-making and Energy-saving initiatives at home.

The Sliema Local Council is also actively supporting its library, and a new service was introduced, namely story telling for children, which is carried out by librarian Ms Therese Attard Previ. These sessions are held on Saturday mornings between 9am and 10am. Even though turnout in the Summer months was rather low, one expects a higher turnout in the coming months. Those interested in registering their children for this educational opportunity are kindly requested to contact me with their details.

Last but not least, I welcome feedback on matters related to Sliema in general and maritime affairs and education in particular.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Public Meeting - Healthy Mobility in Sliema – A Case Study

(Seminar will be bilingual - more info, and bookings at )

L-Assocjazzjoni tal-Kunsilli Lokali ser torganizza seminar nhar is-Sibt 13 ta’ Ottubru 2012 fil-Palace Hotel, tas-Sliema mid-9.00 sa nofsinhar. L-ghan ta’ dan is-seminar hu biex jigi diskuss ir-rapport ippreparat minn The Today Public Policy Institute.


0900 – 0930 Registrazzjoni u Kafe’

0930 – 0935 Introduzzjoni mic-Chairman tas-Seminar Is-Sur Jimmy Magro

0935 – 0940 Introduzzjoni mic-Chairman tat-TPPI Is-Sur Martin Scicluna

0940 – 1010 Prezentazzjoni minn Dr. George Debono

1010 – 1100 Diskussjoni mill-Panel

1100 - 1200 Diskussjoni mic-Cittadini

Il-Panel ser ikun maghmul minn rapprezentanti minn dawn l-organizzazzjonijiet: L-Assocjazzjoni tal-Kunsilli Lokali, Il-Kunsill Lokali ta’ tas-Sliema, Sliema Residents’ Association, id-Dipartiment tal-Pulizija, il-MEPA, il-Malta Transport u l-Malta Developers Association.

Dan is-seminar hu miftuh ghal kulhadd u hu bla hlas. Min jixtieq japplika jibghat email lill-:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Villa Bonici

The Sliema Local Council has officially registered as ‘Registered Objector’ for the above mentioned permit application PA06239/08.

Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party and Sliema Residents Association are also objectors.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Courses in Lifelong Learning - Applications open

As announced earlier, Sliema Local Council in collaboration with the Lifelong Learning Directorate and the Department for Local Government, will be organising a series of courses in various areas between October 2012 and May 2013, including the following:

Litterizmu fil-Malti
English Literacy

Maltese as a foreign language
English as a foreign language
Energy-saving initiatives at home

Those interested can apply online or at the Sliema Local Council between 13 and 31 August - Online applications:

Those interested in further details are to email me at

Cigarettes on the beach

Last Saturday, 'That's Rubbish', an NGO, carried out a beach clean-up from Fortizza to the area past Surfside lido, in collaboration with Sliema Local Council.

A total of 65 Kg of cigarette butts and other waste were collected. A similar clean up at the end of June collected 40kg of cigarette butts and other waste.

More effort by everyone has to be made to reduce, rather than increase rubbish. This includes the Cleansing Department, whose workers have to catch up with the increased volumes of waste, and, more importantly, some swimmers and bathers who do not bother to use the various bins which are available. Not to mention those who allow their dogs to pooh on the beach.

Sliema Local Council is consistently monitoring the matter together with the Cleansing Department. We recently toured the Exiles beach to look into waste-related matters. We are also currently looking into the possibility of distributing portable ash-trays.

Feedback from all is more than welcome.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bicycle Racks

Four new bicycle racks have been installed along the Sliema promenade, from Exiles to Ghar id-Dud, and near the pedestrianized Bisazza Street.

This will make life easier for cyclists, and will hopefully help contribute to the greening of Sliema.

A big thanks to workers at Sliema Local Council for installing the racks.

In the meantime, in the coming weeks Sliema Local Council will be meeting George Debono, author of the mobility plan for Sliema on behalf of the Today Public Policy Institute.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Green Wardens

Sliema Local Council is extending green wardens' operations, focusing on inconveniences such as dumping of waste, littering of dog dirt especially at beaches, and others. Traffic wardens are also enforcing against those who park their cars at beaches such as under the Tower area.


Sliema Local Council is discussing the possibility of an introduction of a bye-law to regulate BBQs in the locality, so as to ensure that areas are cleaned up and as little inconvenience as possible is created. Anyone who would like to send me concrete proposals on this is invited to email me at

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Courses in Lifelong learning

Once again, Sliema Local Council in collaboration with the Lifelong Learning Directorate and the Department for Local Government, will be organising a series of courses in various areas between October 2012 and May 2013, including the following:

Litterizmu fil-Malti
English Literacy

Maltese as a foreign language
English as a foreign language
Energy-saving initiatives at home

Those interested in further details are to email me at

Friday, July 6, 2012

MEPA sides with developers in Sliema, again

Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party said that MEPA once again decided to take the side of big developers by granting permission for a massive 100-apartment block at the Sliema ferries (ex-Forestals site).

Michael Briguglio, AD chairperson and Sliema Local Councillor, who was present for the MEPA meetings said that Mepa totally disregarded the appeal by AD, Sliema local council and NGOs for an environment impact assessment.

“MEPA once again took a selective and apologetic approach and ignored the cumulative impact of the development in terms of traffic, pollution, congestion and other factors”.

“AD once again reiterates that the environment is a political issue. We have the MEPA we deserve, but we can change things through our vote”.

“AD notes that the PN and PL representatives on the MEPA board voted in favour of the development”

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Swimmers' Zones

In addition to current swimmers zones at Exiles, Fond Ghadir, Tigne' and Chalet, Sliema Local Council has applied for new swimmers zone at Qui-si-sana and Taormina Exiles, and for extension of the Exiles swimmers zone. Transport Malta will be considering these for 2013.

Swimmers Zones are of great benefit for the safety of swimmers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beach clean-up

"That's Rubbish", an NGO, will be organising a clean up of the Sliema coast starting at 11:30am until 13:00hrs, this coming Saturday. They will be walking along the coast from Fortizza to Balluta and will clean cigarette butts and any other rubbish they find.

Well done to such civic-minded NGOs.

In the meantime, the beaches subcommittee of Sliema Local Council is looking into various issues which deserve immediate attention. Some issues are already being tackled. A case in point is enforcement by wardens against persons who park their cars on the beach. Such enforcement has been stepped up.

Various facilities, including accessible ladders, ramps and a clinic have been situated across the stretch referred to above, under the supervision of the Malta Tourism Authority.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Story-telling for children

The Sliema Local Council library (Blanche Huber Street Sliema) intends to carry out story-telling for children.

Storytelling will be for children aged 4-7 on Saturdays between 9am-10am Stories will be read by Librarian Ms Therese Attard Previ. Sessions will commence on Saturday 14 July.

Those interested are to contact me at .

Friday, June 15, 2012

Exiles Beach

Yesterday, the beaches subcommittee which I chair inspected the popular Exiles beach.

We took note of various improvements which need to take place, related to issues such as waste management, general cleanliness, maintenance of infrastructure, need for enforcement on matters such as parking of cars and dog-dirt, increased accessibility, and so forth.

I am currently tackling these issues within Sliema Local Council and respective authorities.

Tower Crane in High Street

The Tower Crane for the extended development of the car park in High Street will be placed in the abandoned house which is adjacent to the car park. This is a very positive example of the power of residents in influencing the policies of Sliema Local Council and respective authorities.

A temporary passageway with overhead protection will be set up along the house so that pedestrians can make use of the pavement.

Construction works will start immediately and should take 6 months.

Residents will be informed of rules and regulations set out for the developer as well as arrangements for ongoing works.

Lower High Street will be blocked every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 12.00Hrs till 18.00Hrs. Residents living in High Street and Ghar il Lembi street have to access via Ghar Il Lembi during these days and times.

Services like waste collection, grocery/water deliveries etc... must be organised for the mornings on these days.

The parking spaces at the top of High Street corner with Ghar Il Lembi, (in front of the Alborado apts.) will be left free for easy manoeuvring

Wardens will be in attendance at all times. And the police will also be patrolling to control the situation

Vehicles will reverse into Lower High Street with their 'exhaust Pipe' facing the car park side... in order to protect the retail outlets.

Vehicles will exit the way they came in.

Last but not least, residents are welcome to phone 21337633 at the local council, should they need assistance or feel there is an uncomfortable situation beyond their control.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cars on the beach

Enforcement on the cars parked irregularly under it-Torri has started to take place, following my insistence as councillor responsible for beaches. I will keep making necessary pressure for increased enforcement, also in the Taormina area (near the Pier), where cars are also being parked irregularly.

Problems in Depiro Street, Old College Street and St Ignatious Junction

Today Sliema Local Council held a consultation meeting with residents Depiro Street, Old College Street and St Ignatious Junction.

Residents rightly spoke about various issues which are causing great inconvenience, such as waste thrown out at irregular hours from some residents of Belmonte Heights, noise from hostels hosting language students, broken pavement in Depiro Street due to construction at ex-Galaxy site, heavy vehicles passing from bridge at Old College Street.

I have been speaking on these issue for some time in the new Local Council, and residents today confirmed the problems in this area. As regards rubbish, upon my insistence, green wardens started monitoring the area some weeks ago. I will insist that such monitoring increases. Together with my fellow councillors I will ensure that the other issues are tackled as soon as possible.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cars on the beach

As is the case every summer, some 'cowboys' have decided to use the Sliema beach, under it-Torri as a parking space. Cars on the rocks cause ecological harm and pollution.

Police and Regional Committee in charge of wardens are being alerted. As Councillor responsible for beaches, I will be watching closely.

I have also received complaints of cars parking at Exiles taormina near breakwater.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ex-Forestals MEPA meeting cancelled

The MEPA board meeting regarding the proposed development at the ex-Forestals site has been cancelled. It transpired that there is a well or something of the sort on site, which was not documented.

In the meantime, Sliema Local Council and Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party have both called for an Environment Impact Assessment and Traffic Impact Assessment. AD is four-square behind the objections of Sliema Residents' Association and Flimkien ghall-Ambjent Ahjar.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tower Crane in High Street Carpark development

Today Sliema Local Council had a positive meeting with residents regarding the placing of a tower crane for the additional development at the carpark near Tower Supermarket.

Residents are correct in insisting that the tower crane should not be situated in lower High Street, as this will cause huge problems such as lack of access. Sliema Local Council should ensure that this does not happen, something which the council has the power to do.

The other options are having the crane erected in the ex-Hotel Regina site, which requires an agreement with the owner of the latter, and having the crane situated in Gaety lane. As regards the former, MEPA can include this as a condition for future development at the ex-Hotel Regina site. Perhaps there may be other options, too.

I agree with a proposal from an expert in the audience who proposed a traffic safety audit for all options. Such an audit should analyze impacts with respect to pedestrians, persons who use pushchairs or wheelchairs, cars etc..

I am optimistic that a positive solution for Sliema residents can be found.

Sliema Ex-Forestals Development should be refused – AD

Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party expressed its support of the objection raised by Sliema Residents' Association against the
proposed development at the ex-Forestals Site at the Strand, Sliema. AD is also a registered objector to the development proposal.

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson and Sliema Local Councillor said: "Both AD and the Sliema Local Council have asked MEPA to commission an Environment Impact Assessment and a Transport Impact Assessment on the proposed development. Moreover, AD, as the only political party which is objecting to the proposed development believes that this development is too dense and will increase traffic congestion in the area, as opposed to MEPA policies.”

Carmel Cacopardo, AD Deputy Chairperson and spokesperson for Sustainable Development and Home Affairs, said: "These are the consequences of approving the Local Plans without subjecting them to a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA). Government used a legal loophole to avoid an SEA of the local Plans way back in 2006. Had an SEA been carried out, undoubtedly the cumulative impacts of development would have featured as one of the negative elements of the Local Plans. AD and Environmental NGOs insisted on the need to carry out an SEA but the government ignored everyone. Subservience to the building industry dictated otherwise.”

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Subcommittee on Beaches

The Sliema Local Council has approved the setting up of a number of subcommittees.

I will be chairing the subcommittee on beaches.

I invite those interested in participating in this subcommittee to contact me via email by this Friday 1st June so that the setting up of the subcommittee can be formalized.

Contact me at

Fireworks - feedback to Government on report on accidents

The Government has asked local councils to submit feedback to the report on accidents in fireworks factories, which was published by a Government-appointed commission.

In my feedback - which seconds that of AD's local councillor in Attard, Ralph Cassar, I said:

1. That there should be a quota (per licensed person) on all chemicals used in fireworks, especially on oxidizing agents;

2. The respective laws should establish measurable noise levels (in decibels), to make things easier for enforcement;

3. That no permits for new fireworks factories should be granted.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Proposed development at ex-Forestals Site (2)

Further to my previous blog on the issue, which can be read here , I am pleased to announce that Sliema Local Council will ask MEPA for an Environment Impact Assessment and a Traffic Impact Assessment on the proposed development.

Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party is objecting to the proposed development and is also asking for an EIA and a TIA.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Proposed development at ex-Forestals site

Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party, is endorsing the objection of Sliema Residents Association against the proposed development at the ex-Forestals site at the Strand, Sliema. AD is also asking MEPA to have an Environment Impact Assessment and a Transport Impact Assesment on the proposed development.

Objections can be sent to MEPA, by sending an email to

MEPA will be deciding on the project in a public hearing on Thursday 31 May, 10am at St Francis Ravellin, MEPA, Floriana.

SRA's objection reads as follows:

Objection against PA2590/09 and PA3613/10

The contents of the numerous objections received against these developments
were not considered and implemented at all by MEPA when reviewing the plans
submitted by the developers. The development is still one of high density
with a very high frontage which will increase hardship for residents in the
vicinity. It goes counter to several policies and requests mentioned
within NHLP 2006.

This development will definitely increase traffic congestion in the area
(against policy NHSJ01 -v. in the NHLP 2006) which states 'Reduce car
domination along the waterfront;'. For sure, major developments like this
will not reduce car domination at the water front but will actually cause
more permanent traffic at the water's edge which cannot be remedied by
future traffic management policies.

In the 'Issues' chapter 17.2 of the NHLP 2006, para 17.3.2 number iv.,
states that new open spaces have to be created while enhancing existing
ones. For sure this will not create any new open spaces.

The proposed development would adversely affect the external environs of a
grade 2 scheduled building and garden (Villa Bonici) and another Grade 3
scheduled building (Belvedere Terrace) in its vicinity. The proposal would
therefore detract from the historical value of these important buildings
and so it does not conform to Structure Plan Policy UCO7, which seeks to
preserve buildings of outstanding architectural or historical interest.

The proposed development runs counter to Structure Plan policy UCO10 in
that it would adversely affect views of the Urban Conservation Area and
detract from the traditional urban skyline.

The proposed development goes against Structure Plan policy BEN1 since the
proposal is likely to have a deleterious impact on existing or planned
adjacent uses because
of visual intrusion, noise, vibration, atmospheric pollution, unusually
high traffic generation, unusual operating times, or any other
characteristic which would constitute bad neighbourliness

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sliema's Public Library

Today I had a very positive meeting with Ms Attard Previ, Sliema's librarian.

It transpires that Sliema's library - which is situated in the Sliema government school - is one of the most popular in Malta.

The library is open at these times:

Tuesday 800-1200
Thursday 1400-1600
Saturday 800-1200

Tuesday 800-1200
Thursday 800-1200
Saturday 800-1200

Ideas which we discussed included the possibility of storytelling for children. I will be proposing this within Sliema Local Council.. Hopefully it will be a success!

Beach Management

Today, together with Mayor Anthony Chircop, I had a positive meeting with Mark Scerri Simiana, from the Malta Tourism Authority, where we focused on beach management.

In Summer, Fond Ghadir will be having a supervisor and 2-3 lifeguards from 10am to 6pm, 7 days a week. Like other beaches, it will be cleaned every day, and it is equipped with bins for separated waste for recycling. It has been declared a swimmers zone (like most of Exiles beach), and has a ladder which is accessible for persons with disability. Exiles beach also has such a ladder and a ramp for increased accessibility.

There are plans for improvements in beaches, ranging from increased accessibility to better facilities, which I will be proposing in Sliema Local Council.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pavements in Dingli Street

Well done to the Police for timely action, following Sliema Local Council's request, through which pavements at Dingli Circus have once again become accessible to the public, and not obstructed by fruit and vegetable crates.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sliema Local Council launches street-cleaning campaign

Bianca Caruana
Malta Todat 4th May 2012

The Sliema Local Council today launched a campaign, entitled ‘Let’s be smart, Tas-Sliema bla skart’ which will involve council members, including Sliema Mayor Anthony Chircop, picking up brooms and shovels to sweep the streets within the town.

The initiative, which is to take place on Saturdays 12, 19 and 26 May from 8:30am onwards, is being conducted in collaboration with the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs together with Green MT.

The Rural Affairs Ministry will be providing the council members with jets and other equipment to clean.

Chircop thanked all the entities participating in the effort to clean the streets, while Deputy Mayor Silvio Zammit that the clean up will begin next week and hopes to have all the roads in Sliema cleaned.

Green MT director Joe Attard said that they, together with the council members, would be distributing recycling bags to residents during the clean-up.

Private Secretary Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs Paul Radmilli said that the campaign is intended to be inclusive and attempt to send out a message for cleaner streets.

“We hope that residents will be inspired to participate and join the local council members in cleaning the streets as well as helping by moving their cars in order to clean stains which are usually not accessible for street sweepers,” Radmilli said.

After a meeting with contractors currently working in Sir Arturo Mercieca, Radmilli said an agreement was reached to help keep the area cleaner.

“There are six construction sites in this road. The contractors have agreed to start washing the streets at the end of every working day to reduce the amount of dust. We will send people to inspect and take photos of this to monitor this,” Radmilli said.

Trobbija Pozittiva

Sliema clamps down on noisy, dusty works

The Times, Saturday, May 5, 2012 by
Juan Ameen
Sliema clamps down on noisy, dusty works
Council adopts zero-tolerance policy against unruly developers

The Sliema local council has declared a “zero tolerance” policy against developers whose cranes breach permit conditions and has actually withheld a €3,000 bank guarantee because of “a blatant illegality”.

The newly elected council clamped down on the contractor who had also placed no parking signs without its permission, it said.

Its statement comes in the wake of heavy criticism from frustrated Sliema residents who have complained on several occasions to The Times about the dust, noise and inconvenience created by inconsiderate developers.

One of the major concerns encountered “is the excessive amount of construction, at times with small side roads having multiple construction sites”.

The council said it was facing a situation where it was handling a number of issues on sites where the development “is not in conformity with the legal requirements”.

Infringements such as work being done outside permitted hours, inadequate hoarding and scaffolding and failure to clean vehicles exiting a site were being tackled.

The council was also contacting each developer to come in line and reporting cases to the Building Regulations Office that, in turn, was sending its inspectors.

It also said there was “an excessive number of cranes being erected or left idle even when works are not being carried out”.

The council said it was holding meetings with each developer and architect “to bring to their attention their obligations” and discuss permit conditions.

In the last week alone four such meetings took place with three different developers and their architects, the council said.

In most cases the developers were reasonable and accepted the council’s demands, it added.

The council said it was committed to work in the best interests of the residents and urged them to report any abuse by getting in touch through its offices or on its official Facebook page.

“We will strive to ensure that, with the goodwill of all concerned, the inconvenience caused by a concentration of construction sites will be minimised in conformity with legal requirements,” the council said.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Talks on Health

Click on the image to view in larger format.

Talk on Alcoholism

Alcoholics Anonymous will be giving a talk in Maltese and English on Alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous. Wednesday 2 May, 5pm At the Sliema Local Council, Depiro Street For more information: Tel 71239264 email web:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Construction in Sir Arturu Mercieca Street / Pavements in Guze Howard Street

Following my initiative, Sliema Local Council has taken action on new pavements Guze Howard c/w Sir A Mercieca which were damaged during the recent construction works being carried out in Sir A. Mercieca Street. Attached photo shows the damage done by a contractor, who has been asked to re-instate the pavement by the end of this week and to pay a bank guarantee by end of this week to cover any damages done to the surrounding corners. Well done to Local Council staff and contracts manager.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sliema Fun Run

Sliema Local Council will be participating in a healthy fun run on Sunday 20th May, 9am, starting from Qui-si-sana gardens. I will be taking part. The public is invited to participate. More details will follow

Friday, April 20, 2012

Responsibilities as local councillor

I have now been assigned education as one of my responsibilities as Sliema Local Councillor.

I am now responsible for education, maritime affairs, coast and beaches, air and noise pollution.

Feedback and volunteers for subcommitee purpose are more than welcome.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ex-Galaxy construction, Depiro Street (2)

With respect to the inconvenience caused to residents near the ex-galaxy development due to lack of proper hoarding, the Building Regulation Office within the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs has informed the Sliema Local Council as follows:

"We have instructed our inspectors to check on this site. On the first visit, it transpired that scaffolding with dust netting was in place along Depiro Street and a small section on the side road that faces Belmonte Heights. This means that a substantial part of this side road was not protected with the required scaffolding and netting. The Contractor was required to block this missing part.

On a second visit to ensure that Contractor was taking the necessary action, his representative explained that they were about to start shifting the existing small section to a next section. This was still not acceptable and he was instructed to block all the remaining part of the side road. This work will be taken in hand next Monday and Tuesday where some of the scaffolding along Depiro will be dismantled and used to block the side road completely. This is acceptable as all finishing works on that area are complete and only the fixing of apertures and railings is outstanding. The Inspectors will be returning to the site either Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning".

Together with fellow councillors, I will be making necessary pressure to defend residents' rights.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ex-Galaxy construction, Depiro Street

The development at the ex-Galaxy site has been causing inconvinience to residents for quite some time.

Currently, the ex-galaxy developers are breaking the environment regulations every day as there is no hoarding on development side which is opposite rear side of belmonte heights. This is not to mention inaccessible and broken pavements. Works are resulting in lots of dust to the great inconvenience to resident

The Building Regulations Office at the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs has been informed about this matter.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sir Arturu Mercieca Street Construction

Residents have asked me about the status of the tower crane in Sir Arturu Mercieca. It is to be removed by 31 July 2012.

No parking signs in the construction zone are to be removed by 30 April 2012.

Residents also complained on the mess at Eastgate developments PA 153/11 Triq Sir Arturu Mercieca. The developer organised a clean-up.

I am following up other complaints in the area.

Dingli Street Construction

Alot of dust from demolition of building in Dingli opposite St Helen Street was causing inconvenience to residents.

Following complaints to the Sliema Local Council, the Building Regulation Office (BRO) received the report on the matter and immediately instructed the Inspectors to visit the construction site in question.

It was confirmed that the Contractor was not taking adequate precautions to minimise the dust nuisance during the demolition stage. Also a similar situation had occurred during the loading on site of the resulting debris/material on to the trucks to be carted away.

Inspectors subsequently confirmed that the Contractor had cleared and removed all demolished material and debris from the site.

Complaints related to Construction & Littering

Complaints related to construction fall within the remit of Construction Site Management Regulations and fall within the remit of the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs (MRRA)

Contact numbers for complaints:
22997608 (During office hours) and 79074334 (After office hours)

For littering : 80076608.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Responsibilities as local councillor

In the first official meeting of the newly elected Sliema Local Council, I was assigned responsibility for maritime affairs, coast and beaches, air and noise pollution, and historical sites.

In the near future I aim to set up a subcommittee for this purpose. Volunteers are more than welcome.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Sliema that I love

A council for the residents

Michael Briguglio

The Times, Friday, March 2, 2012

I feel honoured to be once again representing Alternattiva Demokratika as candidate for the Sliema local elections. Above all, I am happy to be contesting in Sliema because I love the locality in which I have lived for practically all my life, save for two years in England when I was a child.

Certain parts of Sliema – like the promenade and the ferries – may have changed along the years but they remain strongly imprinted in my identity. I have so many fond impressions, from riding my bicycle, to going to the then-Alhambra cinema with my friends, to making so many friends from all walks of life.

I have many memories of my childhood and teenage years in Sliema. Back in the repressive years of the 1980s, I attended the Sliema primary school and remember being bullied by a caretaker because when teachers were striking I was one of the few pupils who did not attend school in solidarity with their legitimate demands and also because my father was contesting the 1987 general election on behalf of the Malta Democratic Party.

I think that such bullying helped form my resolve to act on behalf of the voiceless in society and that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Yet, I have so many positive memories of the Sliema primary school, not least making many friends. I am also proud to be sending my son David to this school and I can assure readers that times have really changed since the 1980s. Indeed, he is having the time of his life learning, playing and making new friends in a wonderful school characterised by both class and national diversity.

The most striking impression of my teens was attending the Salesians’ boys club, playing football on a daily basis. One main reason why, irrespective of my political opinions, I respect the Church as an important institution in Maltese society is because of the care and education we got from this Church-run oratory, inspired by St John Bosco and St Dominic Savio.

Some years later I attended another Church-run club, Villa Schinas, and helped form the Sliema Table Football Club in the process.

As I moved into my 20s, I became active in civil society and was involved in various campaigns on a global, national and local basis.

I have been fighting for the rights of residents since the mid-1990s and, as a local councillor between 2003 and 2009, I had an important role in stopping unsustainable development such as that at Qui-si-Sana, the Chalet and Il-Pjazzetta, even though some thought that there was no way to stop it.

During my local council years, I worked well with mayors Albert Bonello Dupuis and Marina Arrigo and I often bridged the gap between councillors from different parties and different factions within the same party.

One main achievement that I am proud of was ensuring that the Sliema local council objects to unsustainable development. In this regard, we frequently consulted with residents and NGOs and were successful in occasions such as those mentioned above and others.

I also played an important role in the introduction of alternative energy and renewable energy measures in the local council, bicycle racks, a cat’s cafe’, free Wi-Fi and other initiatives, always within the remit of sustainable budgeting.

The Sliema local council between 2009 and 2012 ended up being dissolved due to its implosion. The situation in Sliema is one of permanent construction, often cowboy style, public holidays included, potholes galore, broken pavements. A lack of civil pride has also crept in among some.

One need only look at the mountains of rubbish left over by some inconsiderate persons on non-collection days, including Saturday evenings, and the intolerable amount of dog droppings along the promenade and in inner roads. Does Sliema deserve all this?

If elected to the next council, I will be giving top priority to accessible pavements, roads and infrastructure and ensuring that the Sliema council objects to development that is unsustainable. I will also make sure that, within the powers of the local council, developers and contractors are held responsible for works that they carry out.

Being AD’s candidate, I am not subject to string-pulling by such lobbies and, hence, I can call a spade a spade without having to face the political music.

I also promise to use my experience in Sliema’s politics to act as a bridge between councillors from different parties and to ensure that no one takes the council for a ride. In short, I will ensure that the local council really belongs to its residents.

Mr Briguglio, a sociologist, is chairman and spokesman for economy and finance, Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green Party.

AD Local Councils Manifesto

Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party

The Alternattiva Demokratika local councillor promises to cooperate and work with residents and local associations to:

1. promote cultural events, strengthen local identity and foster a sense of community;
2. promote sports, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle;
3. defend open spaces and fight overdevelopment;
4. upkeep public gardens and insist on modern and safe play equipment for children and teenagers;
5. improve accessibility and mobility for persons with disability, old people, children and parents of very young children;
6. improve streets and pavements and insist on good workmanship;
7. plant more local species of trees in public spaces to mitigate the effects of traffic;
8. provide bicycle racks near major bus stops, town centres, squares and gardens;
9. work on a mobility plan for the locality with short term, mid term and long term targets;
10. introduce a low speed limit for residential streets similar to that introduced in villages, towns and cities in Europe, making these roads pedestrian, child and bicycle friendly;
11. work towards the target of a public library and town hall in every locality;
12. monitor and promote recycling banks and insist on proper management of these sites with a zero-tolerance approach towards people who misuse them and undermine the community’s recycling efforts;
13. promote the recycling of different objects such as textiles and clothes;
14. promote and convince council to invest in energy efficient lighting for gardens, streets and council property;
15. promote green jobs such as those related to alternative energy and upgrading of the environment;
16. employ a youth and community worker when possible;
17. promote a sense of solidarity and community amongst residents, including commercial establishments, and to ensure that residents feel safe in their homes from criminality and excessive noise;
18. facilitate access to state services for the vulnerable and people at risk of poverty;
19. promote good neighbourliness between residents and the commercial community;
20. ask for a role for the local council in decisions on trading licenses and operating conditions for commercial establishments in the community.