Revisions to the Ta’ Qali Action Plan currently in consultation stage
In 2006, due to the great demand for activities and fairs, which year after year, keeps drawing a considerable amount of traffic to their doors, it was acknowledged that an alternative site to the existing exhibitions and conventions centre needed to be identified to accommodate the growing needs of such events. A design proposal for this facility, which was included in the Ta’ Qali Action Plan was submitted in 2007 but following prolonged discussions between MEPA and the applicant, considerable difficulties emerged in the attempts to accommodate the operational needs of such a facility on the indicated site without creating a significant visual impact resulting with the need for the 2006 Action Plan for 2006 to be revised.In response to this, MEPA reviewed the plan and proposed a number of changes which are currently open to the public for consultation. The review considers the retention of the fairs and exhibitions facilities in the area which are currently occupied by the existing conventions centre but also seeks to extend the area available to these facilities. The current centre was only meant to be temporary and another area was devoted for its development, however now this area will be used to accommodate motor sports activities. Joe Scalpello, MEPA Team Manger responsible for the north-west local plan area explains that “a convention centre of this kind, which is able to host conventions fairs and conferences, is highly needed in Malta and for this reason MEPA is giving it the attention it requires , whilst also addressing the issues of traffic management and parking and most importantly keeping in mind environmental sensitivities.” The plan is also proposing amendments to the policies related to the National Recreational Centre, and an indicative route is identified for the creation of a jogging/cycling track together with support facilities. Further space will also be allocated to the Malta Model Flying Association to accommodate additional flying facilities.The plan also proposes additional sports and recreational facilities, and seeks to upgrade the road network with an aim of bettering traffic management. The Formal Garden in the National Park will now be extended to occupy the space between the Adventure Park and the park’s entrance in order to provide more recreational areas for families, and an additional area opposite the flea market, close to the new animal care centre, will also be designated for car parking in order to compensate for the loss of car parking spaces. Alongside this, the consultation also encourages the Malta Football Association and the appropriate government agencies to construct a multi storey car park on the site of the existing car park. This will provide increased parking capacity for the benefit of the users of the National Recreation Centre and would reduce pressure on the existing parking areas. The draft plan is open for consultation until the 7th May 2012. To view the draft policy changes log onto www.mepa.org.mt/public-consultation. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.