Minister for Gozo outlines new projects and initiatives for Gozo
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The Minister for Gozo Dr Justyne Caruana, yesterday addressed the House of Representatives with her Budget Speech with regards to various important initiatives and new projects for Gozo.
The budget speech focused mainly on a plan that the Ministry for Gozo will undertake as part of a process by which it said, “will help more Gozitans to live, work and succeed in Gozo.”
Among the initiatives mentioned by the Minister there were the following:
– New Law Courts in a new location in Gozo – A project long in the waiting.
The Minister said that the present premises are not accessible, do not cater for today’s needs and there are serious health and safety issues.
The site originally proposed in Victoria, contains several challenges, the Minister said, especially in the terrain where there is a substantial amount of clay and a fault. This has resulted from geological tests carried out in the proposed site.
“In view of all this and after seeking expert advice, we saw that it was necessary to change the location and seek other sites,” said Dr Caruana.
“Today we are in discussions with the Planning Authority to seek alternative sites. There will be a public consultation on the new site proposed and design.”
– Preliminary study, CBA and location identification of a prospective Hostel/ accommodation for Gozitan students studying in Malta
The Minister said that, “we are aware of the challenges that Gozitan students are facing in Malta to rent an apartment to stay in while studying in any institution.
“In the meantime, we are working on a new project to build and run a hostel/ accommodation in Malta to cater for the students’ needs. We are undertaking a cost benefit analysis while exploring different sites to render this project a reality,” said Dr Caruana.
– Regeneration of Mgarr Harbour including Yacht Marina and services for fishermen
The Minister for Gozo mentioned that this project is listed as being part of the list of capital projects for this year – anyone who visits Gozo must go through Mgarr Harbour.
Among the projects the Minister said that they are earmarking are:
New premises for the Customs Department and more berths to address the needs of the local fishermen.
The Minister added that in recent weeks a winch was made to work so that it can be used by fishermen. “This winch is a new service being offered free of charge and available twenty-four hours a day especially at times of emergency.”
She said that the Ministry for Gozo is also working on a project for improving the infrastructure around the port of Mgarr through European funds.
Along with Transport Malta, studies were completed and will now begin the implementation of the project which among others, will see the sediment that has accumulated over the years, being removed, Dr Caruana said.
The Minister added that following discussions with the restaurant and bar owners, “we intend to give more life to the area around Mgarr harbour by organising cultural activities.”
– Underground parking project
The Minister also said that together with the Planning Authority, “we are in discussions to seek alternative sites in Victoria to build multi-store car parks, as we are aware of the present challenges.”
– Park and Ride project
Referring to the park and ride proposal for Mgarr, as stated in the electoral manifesto. The Minister said that this is to ease the life of the daily commuters who must cross over to Malta for work and study on a daily basis.
“We’ve issued the tender for study on this project and the cost benefit analysis that shall identify business model and possibly identify a site. There will also be a public consultation session.”
– Continuation of Elderly Home in Ghajnsielem + re-arrangement of certain areas of the home for persons with dementia
Dr Caruana said that “the new home for the elderly in Ghajnsielem has to be state of the art . That is why we have again seen the project, and have changed the plans so that the house is according to recent standards, introduced new facilities – especially for cases of dementia.”
she added that, an amendment has been submitted to the Planning Authority so that a permission is granted to carry out such alterations.
The Ministry for Gozo is currently completing the tender for the finishings and household operation, the Minister said.
Dr Caruana said that, “along with this house, we intend to open other houses so that we respect the pledge listed in the electoral manifesto of having 500 beds for elderly in Gozo because demand is on the rise.”
– Revival of Gozo Heliport
The Minister said that “after many years, this legislature donated back to the Ministry for Gozo the Gozo Heliport premises. The members of the Gozo Heliport Limited were appointed with the aim to injection new ideas and eventually the service starts to operate.”
“We intend to have a helicopter service which at least caters on an agreed schedule. In fact, there are ongoing talks with Malta Enterprise and the Malta Government Investments Limited and we are exploring the way forward.” the Minister for Gozo concluded.