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Injecting funds into urban improvement projects

Posted on: 27/05/2009

UIFprojects01MEPA and 8 local councils sign agreement for funding of nine
projects worth over €290,000

The Malta Environment & Planning Authority (MEPA) has signed an agreement with 8 local councils to fully or partially fund nine projects that will contribute towards the urban improvement of the respective localities. The highly successful, Urban Improvement Fund, will be financing over €290,000, as it keeps living up to its aim of 'creating better places to live in'.

In his address MEPA Chairman Mr Austin Walker said "The success of the Urban Improvement Fund stems from the sound working relationship and understanding the Authority has with local councils." Mr Walker also promised that MEPA "will continue to engage and invest in new, more efficient and effective ways to work hand in hand with local councils to ensure that all localities will continue to achieve high quality results through the promotion of more holistic and sustainable projects."

The projects that are being funded include the embellishment and upgrading works at Oreste Gardens in Hamrun, the Housing Estate in Ghaxaq and Birkirkara and Kennedy Square in Rabat (Gozo). Other projects also include new paving works around a number of streets in Msida, Zabbar, Marsascala and Marsa.

Speaking on the issue of sustainable localities, Dr. Chris Said, Parliamentary Secretary for Public Dialogue and Information concluded "that the Government's primary aim is to have sustainable localities, a concept that can be achieved only if we work to create and improve the urban environment of our country."

He added that "through this urban improvement fund, the Government is once again showing its commitment for sustainable localities, whereby MEPA is addressing the impact that development has on localities, by funding projects that 'create better places to live in.' The requested planning gain are used for projects within the same locality whereby the applications could not meet the parking provision criteria. Besides the 17% increase in direct funds allocated to local councils this year, amounting to €28 million, there are additional funds at the disposal of local councils, such as the Urban Improvement Fund that over these two and a half years has accumulated over €8.1 million."

The UIF committee, to date, has approved and financed 160 projects, equivalent to nearly €5million.