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.