The Malta Independent 29 May 2024, Wednesday
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TMID Editorial: Brace yourself for Ghadira chaos

Thursday, 16 March 2023, 09:53 Last update: about 2 years ago

The minister who does not want to tell us how much the taxpayers are forking out for the Manchester United sponsorship deal and how much the Malta Film Awards event cost has been more forthcoming on the Ghadira project – blaming others when it is his government and the agencies working for it that are responsible.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said that the road works at Ghadira, one of the most popular bays during the hot summer months, will not be ready before summer.

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The government had promised that the €2 million project was supposed to be finished by June, but Bartolo has now said that it will extend to beyond the summer months.

Bartolo said that the completion of the project is impossible to accomplish, but rather than take on the responsibility for the chaos that this will bring about, he chose to blame the Nationalist Party for not doing what, in his opinion, it should have done when it was in government.

Just in case Bartolo has not noticed, the Labour Party has been holding the reins of the country for 10 whole years. What has it done for Ghadira in this past decade? Pinning the fault of his own government’s lack of foresight and forward planning on others is simply not on.

The project, which apart from a new road structure also includes the reconstruction of pedestrian areas, the installation of new lights, CCTV systems and public convenience facilities, has already created chaos in the area at a time when it is not so frequented.

The road in question is the most used by people coming from and going to Gozo, and it is a miracle that so far no serious accident has taken place, given that the northbound stretch – which is currently being used for two-way traffic after it was rebuilt in the first part of the project in 2021 – is not well-marked and well-lit.

But the bigger problems will arise when the summer season kicks in, when thousands will be flocking to Ghadira beach for a few hours of relaxation, while thousands of others will be on their way to or from Gozo.

For one thing, as things stand now, it will be a nightmare to find parking. It was already tough when both the northbound and southbound lanes were open, with parking on both sides of the road. Now, this is not possible.

Added to this, access to the beach itself is now limited, and quite dangerous too, and parents or guardians of young children will have to take extreme care. It’s an added stress for what should supposedly be a day of fun.

This situation has, no doubt, affected the restaurants in the area. They have had to make do with makeshift and dangerous passageways to enable their clients to dine in. They will not be too happy to know that they will probably see a drop in their customer base when summer comes.

As usually happens in Malta, we know when projects start but we never know when they are going to end – because it always takes more time than originally estimated.

Rather than blame the Nationalist Party, Minister Bartolo would have been more credible if he had looked within to see that his own party should have done more in the last decade and that the work in the area should have been planned better.

For one thing – why should the work be limited to a few hours per day? Why not extend it to the evenings and night? It is not a residential area, so there will not be any complaints about noise.

 

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