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.

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