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.

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