Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg, Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera and Local Councils Association President Mario Fava launched a project geared for localities around Malta and Gozo to create open spaces in the cores of their towns and villages so that the cores can be better enjoyed by communities.
Through collaboration with Transport Malta, this initiative will see to the closure of squares and main roads for a period of time on certain days, deviating traffic to other roads.
This project will create several opportunities, for example the picturesque centre of several villages and towns in Malta and Gozo would be enjoyed peacefully by families while creating possibilities for the commercial activities of the respective localities.
“The pandemic we are facing has brought about new realities that nobody could foresee, but it has given us the opportunity to look at new aspects and think about them. We saw empty squares and streets in our towns and villages, without cars, and we learned to appreciate the beauty of this too. So why shouldn't we work for these zones to be car free at certain times and on certain days, so that open spaces can be physically appreciated by people in an environment with improved air quality, while giving businesses the possibility of providing their services after a negative period because of Covid-19?" said Minister Ian Borg.
“This concept should also serve to provide a platform for artists to express their talents in public. Entities and clubs within the localities can meet to hold musical and theatrical productions. These activities can give new life to our villages which, unfortunately, are no longer what they were in the past. At the same time, people from the same localities will be encouraged to walk to the squares or use public transport and this will continue to help reduce traffic, thus further contributing to a reduction in air pollution," explained Minister Borg.
As an incentive, the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects will also be helping with the embellishment and maintenance of projects in the same villages while providing a number of trees to be planted in places identified by the same Local Councils.
Minister for the National Heritage, Arts and Local Government José Herrera commented, “This project has multiple objectives – it will not only serve to allow our local communities to enjoy our village and city cores in a way that most probably to date the younger generations have never enjoyed, but it will give a positive impetus to the local environment, as it will allow these centres to be less polluted. This is a perfect example of how the central government and the local government can work together to deliver tangible results to the public."
Local Councils interested in participating in this project are requested to contact the Local Councils Association which is coordinating this initiative together with the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects and Transport Malta.