Gżira council pens deal with Manoel Island developers
Guardianship agreement described as a 'significant milestone'
The fort itself, originally earmarked for a hotel, will instead be turned into an arts and culture centre, comprising galleries, museums, shops, restaurants, which will be open to the public.
The latest masterplan, submitted to the Planning Authority in November, also drops plans for mooring points in the current swimming area beneath the fort, which will be retained for public use.
These plans are currently awaiting an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) ahead of a decision by the PA.
This partnership is the first of its kind and we hope that it can be replicated in appropriate major projects throughout Malta. This proves that through sensitive dialogue win-win situations can be accomplished.”
Gżira mayor Conrad Borg Manche, who had spearheaded opposition to the project under an earlier draft of the masterplan, said the new agreement ensured the “considerate development” of Manoel Island and that the local community would remain at the forefront of any development decisions.
It commended the inclusion of the fort itself - to be reserved for cultural activities and retail as opposed to the initially proposed hotel - as part of the agreement, as well as the undertaking for the retention of heights and of a green public park which twill not be commercialised or built over.
"This is very positive news," said FAA spokesperson Tara Cassar. "It goes to show how constructive and sensitive dialogue with stakeholders can result in a project which can be enjoyed by all. This is a win for the community and could well be the model for future agreements for other projects.