Public consultation for the Cottonera Rehabilitation Strategy launched

Reference Number: PR182159, Press Release Issue Date: Oct 06, 2018
 

Verżjoni bil-Malti

Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and the Property Market Chris Agius and Executive Coordinator of the Cottonera Rehabilitation Committee Glen Bedingfield launched the public consultation for the Cottonera Rehabilitation Strategy.

 
 
 

The Government announced in March 2018 that a strategy for Cottonera is to be prepared with the overall objective being to “seek to improve environmental and social standards in the inner harbour area, with both short- and long-term regeneration goals”. This strategy is setting out a framework which forms part of the wider policy context created by various national and sectoral policies such as social, environmental, economic, transport, culture, heritage, tourism related and spatial plans and policies.
 
 

Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici said, “The regeneration process in our country is a delicate but necessary one, keeping Malta with Europe’s rhythm but also with other regeneration process in our region. The regeneration process in Cottonera started years back with emphasis on the restoration of historic buildings but also with the creation of quality open spaces. This important process changed Cottonera. However, in any process of regeneration, participation of the people is of the utmost importance. This strategy is focused on the people and emphasises the well-being of all with an aim of bettering the quality of life by means of several aspects that tie regeneration with a cultural emphasis.”

The vision of the strategy is based on three pillars: improving social capital, upgrading the urban environment, and increasing business attractiveness.
 
 
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg spoke about the progress and economic prosperity which the country is currently experiencing and stressed how these bring with them an influx of people, growth in several sectors, and development. The Minister said, “It is essential that at times like these, conservation is also prioritised. Initiatives such as Irrestawra Darek, the Development Planning Fund, and the scheduling of several properties around the country all help to reach this objective. Through the Cottonera Strategy, this Government will facilitate the complete and widespread conservation of this zone which has an essential role in Maltese history and in the country’s urban development”. Borg mentioned several initiatives which have begun to give this area a breath of fresh air, including the regeneration of Dock 1 which has now become a waterfront for Cospicua, and which transformed an industrial zone into a touristic one. Borg explained that it was also of utmost importance that the projects within the strategy do not only include the embellishment of the area but also the improvement of social infrastructure, while addressing challenges which have been present for a long time.
 
 

The Minister made reference to a survey carried out to prepare for this strategy, which has shown that the zone lacks facilities for the elderly, childcare facilities and parking spaces, and said that there are a number of projects planned to address these problems, including the Cottonera District Park, the reconstruction of the road in It-Toqba tal-Birgu which includes the Regatta Club, a sensory garden and pedestrian measures, improvements along the Senglea and Kalkara waterfronts, better use of the Pjazza Santa Margerita space for the community in Cospicua, and the creation of more social infrastructure.

Minister Borg said that through these plans, the government is not only looking at current problems, but is also working to improve the quality of life of people. He commended the area’s local councils which work hard and have fully collaborated with the Government towards the success of this strategy. He concluded by reiterating the government’s commitment to invest in Cottonera and looked forward to the suggestions and comments of the public towards a better and more beautiful future.
 
 

To ensure the success of the strategy, an entity—Fondazzjoni Kottonera—was set up with the specific aim of implementing, monitoring and reviewing this strategy. This will serve as a one-stop-shop which will assume the identity of the strategy and act as a focal point to plan, lead, organise and control all the implementation phases of the strategy.
From his end, Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius said that as a person who lived his whole life in Cottonera, it is of great satisfaction to see that this strategy will make it possible for this locality to transform from a zone dependent on the dockyard to one which attracts and welcomes the tourism sector. “I believe in Cottonera’s potential, not only because I have lived and was brought up here, but also because I am aware that the locals are hard-working and look forward to achieve the hopes of the community. We must work for the same goal – it is only through collaboration that positive results can be attained for the benefit of Cottonera,” said Chris Agius.
Glenn Bedingfield, Executive Coordinator of the Cottonera Rehabilitation Committee remarked that “Cottonera is a community in transition in the midst of many changes which are happening. The strategy published today aims to support the community by increasing social capital, upgrade urban development and attract new investment with the ultimate aim being that of further increasing the standard of living of people living in the Three Cities and Kalkara. Writing the strategy is the easiest part. We want to see this strategy being implemented and we are determined to deliver.”
Johann Buttigieg, Executive Chairman of the Planning Authority said, “The Planning Authority firmly believes that Cottonera has a wealth of cultural heritage that people should treasure and enjoy. The strategy launched today does not belong to the Government or the Authority, but to the local councils and the people. The Planning Authority has various funds that support local projects. We look forward to working with the local councils in this area to implement the different projects proposed in this document.”