The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Foundation set up to safeguard Manoel Island’s green spaces, heritage buildings, and foreshore

Julian Bonnici Wednesday, 14 March 2018, 10:05 Last update: about 2 years ago

MIDI, together with the Gzira Local Council, has signed a Guardianship Deed which establishes a non-profit foundation to ensure that Manoel Islan's heritage buildings, foreshore, and significant green park spaces are restored and preserved for the whole community.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who attended the signing, said that the project should serve as a model for the relationship between the community and the investor. 

"It is a balance between the natural, cultural, and historical environment which embraces sustainable commercial activity," he said. 

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The Administrative Committee of 'The Manoel Island Foundation' consists of four members, Gzira Mayor Conrad Borg Manche, who will act as the Chairman of the foundation, Lawyer Claire Bonello, Deputy Gzira Mayor Ralph Mangion,  and MIDI CEO Mark Portelli. 

Bonello, who is part of Flimkien Ambjent Ahjar, said that she fully endorsed the agreement as it safeguarded the interests of the community, while also creating an environment for both residents and the public to enjoy. 

Alec Mizzi, the Chairman of MIDI, explained that the project will ensure the careful restoration and preservation of Manoel Island and deliver significant green space.

Through the deed, MIDI has bound itself to commitments ensuring public access to the Manoel Island Public Park, the Foreshore, Swimming Zones, Fort Manoel, as well as the building heights of the residential units that will be developed on the island. 

The natural area will be landscaped to deliver an 80,000 square metres public park. 

The fort will be designed to become a central attraction that will house galleries, museums, shops, restaurants and a parade ground for open-air events. The proposed casino will no longer take place.

The Lazaretto will be restored to become a 5-star hotel with serviced apartments.

The development, which was designed by Foster and Partners, will also see the construction of a number of open spaces and public squares.

The revised Masterplan is still being considered by the PA, and the company is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment from the ERA. 

MIDI was first granted a 99 year concession by previous PN administrations (with the approval of the entire parliament) for the development of Manoel Island, where it has restored the historic fort, in 2000.

In September 2016, activists from the Kamp Emergenza Ambjent, joined by Borg Manche, cut through a fence and broke open a gate that was blocking public access to the foreshore at Manoel Island. the local council had also initiated legal proceedings against the MIDI consortium, saying that it was breaching its contract terms by barring public access to the foreshore.


 

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