€ 3 million project for Street Lighting Devolution in Gozo
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Following the signing of an agreement by which the Government has passed the responsibility of all Gozo road lighting to the Gozo Regional Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government Dr Stefan Buontempo presented the first instalment of € 50,000 to the President of the Gozo Region Dr Samuel Azzopardi, in the presence of Gozo Minister Dr Anton Refalo.
Dr Refalo said that this project makes sense in Gozo. Because this project will contribute fully to the vision of Eco-Gozo through its environmental contribution. "Less energy will be wasted and this means that there will be improvement in the quality of life of the residents as well as smarter use of energy."
The Gozo Minister reiterated that the project helps to achieve the objectives of the Government, by 2020, that 10% of the electricity consumed is generated from renewable sources such as sun and the wind as well as to transform Gozo into an ecological island by the same year.
Parliamentary Secretary Buontempo said that through this first agreement of its type, the Government is showing with facts that it believes in the principle of subsidiarity so as to devolve this responsibility to the Gozo Region. "This is the first agreement of its kind," said the Parliamentary Secretary, "but it is certainly not the last one," he added, "as already indicated, discussions are underway for the Devolution exercise to start in regions of Malta in the near future."
Dr Buontempo explained that through this agreement, the Gozo Region will be responsible for all street lighting in Gozo, and added that the Government will support this new responsibility by the financing of € 50,000 a year. Apart from this direct financial support, the Region will also be given adequate human resources in order to cater to this new responsibility.
Through this project, which cost around € 3 million and was partly financed by European funds, the Gozitan street lamps, which are very old and waste electricity, will be changed with new energy-efficient LED lamps.
Parliamentary Secretary Buontempo remarked that in addition to giving more power to Gozo Councils and the same Gozo Region, this devolution will be of benefit to Gozitans because it will directly translate into more efficient lighting. Moreover, the Gozitan residents can now report any damage or faults directly to their Local Council, resulting in repairs be carried out more efficiently and in the shortest possible time.
The Parliamentary Secretary thanked the Sustainable Energy and Water Conservation Unit (SEWCU), Enemalta, the Ministry of Health and Energy, the Department for Local Government, the Gozo Region and Gozitan Local Councils, who had all worked closely with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government to enable this project to become a reality.
Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri