Monday, April 28, 2014

Talk on 3 Master Paintings by Gabriella Micallef Trigona

Gabriella Micallef Trigona will be giving a talk on Jan Van Eyck's "Arnolfini Portrait"; Piero della Francesca's "Montefeltro Altarplace" and Tiziano Vercelli's "Sacred and Profane Love" at the Sliema Local Council, Depiro Street Sliema

Date: Saturday 3 May
Time: 10am-11am

Attendance is free of charge.

Collection of old clothes in aid of Inspire

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Initiatives in education, disability and maritime affairs

In this article - which also appears in the Sliema Local Council magazine (April 2014) - I would like to speak about some current initiatives undertaken by the Sliema Local Council in areas related to maritime affairs, education and disability.

As regards Maritime Affairs the Council is doing its utmost to keep increasing accessibility, safety and cleanliness of beaches. In addition to the recent construction of ramps and installation of railings, as well as improved signage, we aim to have more accessible steps, handrails and ladders in areas which were highlighted to us by residents and swimmers. Next Summer we will also have a beach fully accessible for dogs at the Fortina Area.

The Council also commissioned an underwater study and clean-up in the Exiles area, which is frequently littered with different types of material. We are also planning to have better waste management in all our beaches.

One should appreciate that whilst the Local Council has full authority of in certain aspects related to accessibility and cleanliness, we depend on co-operation and approval of Government Authorities for others.

In this regard, Sliema Local Council recently presented various proposals to the Central Government related to tourism, some of which were related to beach management.

As regards disability, Sliema Local Council acknowledges that there is a long way to go to increase accessibility and social justice, especially when one recognizes that disability has plural dimensions. Yet we are involved in both small and large initiatives in this area, as this is a Council priority. One current initiative we are undertaking is the new playing field at Independence Gardens, which will hopefully be in place by Summer. Professional consultation was carried out by the Council to ensure that persons with disability have access to the swings.

As regards education, once again our courses – including those which form part of the Lifelong Learning initiative - are proving to be a success, especially since they cover different areas ranging from languages to life-skills and health. In the coming weeks we will be planning for new courses for the coming months. Suggestions and feedback from residents are more than welcome

Our library is as popular as ever, and I once again encourage parents to send their children (aged 4-7) to storytelling sessions on Saturday mornings between 9am and 10am.

Some other interesting Local Council initiatives currently in place include the preparation for the Summer Sliema Arts Festival, as well as the upgrading of various services – ranging from waste management to upkeep of public conveniences – to ensure the best service possible. We are also giving priority to sustainability and fairness as regards expenditure programmes and management of public spaces and services.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Playing field in Independence Garden

Sliema Local Council is proud to announce that works on the new playing field at Independence Garden are to start in the coming weeks. The top priority of the project is accessibility for persons with disability.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sliema strand earmarked for superyachts marina

James Debono
Malta Today 6th April 2014

The outer part of Sliema’s creek is being earmarked for a land reclamation project and the development of a superyacht hub, Malta Today has learnt.

The project, modelled on similar projects as in San Tropez and Dubai, will create more space for commercial outlets, parking facilities and embellishment features.

It will also drastically change the social fabric of the Sliema Strand, frequented by pedestrians who can walk along the sea, enjoying the unobstructed view of Manoel Island and Valletta in an unbroken walk from St Julian’s Bay right into Gzira.

The permanent berthing of gigantic yachts, which can be over 100 metres long, could block traditional sea views.

On Thursday, economy minister Chris Cardona said that Malta should strive to become the “obvious choice” in the superyacht industry. He was speaking at the second annual conference for stakeholders, aptly entitled ‘Opportunities for Superyachts’, at the Westin Dragonara resort and sponsored in part by Fenech and Fenech Advocates and Transport Malta. Cardona said that Malta must continue to evolve in the sector and not risk becoming complacent.

The project may include a breakwater to render the area a safe harbour all year round, as well as land reclamation opposite St Anne Square.

Malta already offers superyacht berths at the Grand Harbour Marina and at the Manoel Island Marina.

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority is presently considering a smaller land reclamation project proposed by a number of hotels on the Gzira side of the Strand.

The project envisions the development of a swimming pool and other facilities on reclaimed land, adjacent to the present promenade, which will remain public.

But while presently people can walk along the coast, looking directly at the sea between Gzira and Manoel Island, the proposed area, immediately adjacent to the sea, will be occupied by private facilities.

According to MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate, this negative impact can be offset by providing adequate pedestrian access along the seaward edge of the proposed reclaimed coast.

There are an estimated 5,000 superyachts around the world. Eclipse, the world’s largest megayacht and reportedly owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, is 162 metres long. They bring wealthy owners to picturesque harbour cities, but they can be a source of discontent for residents.

Plans for a superyacht marina in Port Vell in Barcelona were met by angry protests by residents, but the marina was ultimately approved by local authorities. The Salamanca Group intends to make the marina home to yachts up to 180 metres long, bringing the planet’s growing club of mega-rich to a marina that it says “dominates the heart of Barcelona”.

But Barcelona residents say the boats will dwarf the neighbourhood’s famously narrow, four- or five-storey blocks of flats. The plans include the establishment of a privatised high security zone, surrounded by a fence, as well as the construction of a car park and new buildings.

Note: In reaction to the news item above, I believe that the privatization and commodification of such public space should be opposed. Michael Briguglio, Local Councillor