Ministerial Directive is issued over illegal works at Marsalforn
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In a letter addressed to the chairman of the Malta Transport Authority, Minister Austin Gatt has issued a policy directive to be applied in such cases of unauthorised works on public roads and pavements.
In his letter, Minister Gatt said, “I refer to the works undertaken on the bridge in Marsalforn adjoining Misrah Mikelang Refalo which works consist of the narrowing of the carriageway and the consequent widening of the relative pavement including the pavement adjoining the existing kiosk. The attached photo refers. It is evident that these works will have great detrimental effect on the carriageway since with the narrowing of the road:
1. the previously existing centre strip has been done away with;
2. the road is barely wide enough for two cars to pass together;
3. it is impossible for a coach and car (let alone two coaches) to pass at the same time and this in a road that is two-way.
It does not make sense to me that in a major tourist area, access is restricted in this way.
It is, I believe, more than evident that the sole purpose of the works are to enable the kiosk owner to have a larger area where to put table and chairs and it cannot be a mere coincidence that the pavement next to the kiosk has already been completed and the kiosk owner is already putting tables and chairs on the pavement.
The conclusion is that the public good is being sacrificed to suit private interests and, even worse, those interests belong to a Zebbug Local Councillor (the owner of the kiosk) who stands to gain directly from this illegal action.
The Authority informs me that these works have been undertaken by the Zebbug Local Council and that the Council does not have a permit for the works. I also note that following our exchange of mails in the last days, the Authority has already taken action to stop this particular case.
Since I am sure that this is not the only case of illegal works that the Authority has been faced with, I believe it is opportune to issue a Ministerial Directive that will regulate the Authority’s actions in all similar future cases. I am consequently attaching the said directive and instructing the Authority to proceed on the terms outlined therein both in this as well as in all future cases.”
MINISTERIAL POLICY DIRECTIVE:
Subject: Illegal Works by Local Councils and others in roads and pavements
“In terms of the powers granted to me as Minister responsible for transport in terms of the Constitution of Malta and the Malta Transport Authority Act to issue directives to the Malta Transport Authority (hereinafter referred to as the “Authority”), whenever any Local Council and/or person (whether physical or legal) undertakes works on public roads and/or public pavements of whatever nature without the necessary permits from all the Authorities required at law (including but not limited to the Authority itself, MEPA, the Water Services Corporation and Enemalta Corporation) the Authority is being directed to act as indicated hereafter:
1. the Authority is to immediately alert the Commissioner of Police and instruct him to stop the works immediately and to ensure that they are not resumed before the Authority’s written consent – the verbal request should be followed up by email and/or letter;
2. at the same time an email/letter issuing a stop notice is to be delivered to whoever has undertaken the works without a permit, if known, and the Authority should take the necessary administrative and logistic steps to ensure that works are not resumed and that any public safety hazard is duly rectified and controlled at the expense of the Local Council and person concerned;
3. the Authority will not enter into negotiations about the works with whoever has undertaken the works until such time as the road/pavement has been restored to its original state;
4. the person undertaking the works is to be given a short time period, which period will be at the discretion of the Authority but will not exceed 30 working days, within which to reinstate the road/pavement to its former state, failing which the Authority will carry out the works itself at the expense of the Local Council and person concerned;
5. any delays in the reinstatement of the works beyond the time-limit imposed by the Authority are to bear an administrative fine of €100 per day to be charged both to the Local Council and person that had undertaken the works;
6. the Authority will not entertain any other application by the same Local Council or person to undertake any other works until such time as the road/pavement is reinstated by the Local Council/person concerned or, in the event that the works are done by the Authority, until such time as all expenses and fines have been paid for;
7. the Authority is to seek legal advice as to what criminal and civil suits can be brought against the Local Council and person undertaking the illegal works.
Since this directive impacts all local Councils and various Authorities and Corporations that are somehow connected with the road network and pavements you are requested to circulate the same to all Local Councils and interested parties.”