Last Updated on Thursday, 30 September, 2021 at 1:31 pm by Andre Camilleri
12,000 workers and 270 businesses to benefit
Business activity is expected to double by next year and create hundreds of jobs
The Central Business District in Mrieħel has been given a new lease of life with the completion of industrial works after a dearth of more than twenty-five years. Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri announced that, with an investment of around twelve million euro, which is the first of its kind, this area, which covers a land mass the size of the capital city Valletta, saw the completion of the first two phases out of three of the industrial work plan. The Minister congratulated the Central Business District Foundation, which is composed of members of the government and private operators and is led by CEO Keith Fenech, which completed these enhancement works five years ahead of completion deadline.
Minister Schembri explained that this project’s contribution to the economy is highly significant as more than 270 businesses, most of whom are small industries, operate from the Central Business District with more than 100 different business activities. The number of employees reaches more than 12,000 and, with the development that is taking place, it is estimated that the commercial activity in this area will increase by approximately 50% by the year 2022 and will create hundreds of new job opportunities. The Minister stressed that, although this is an industrial area, over time, the number of residents in the vicinity has also increased and therefore investment has been made in projects that improve safety, cleanliness, traffic, and public spaces.
“We are realising the dream to make Mrieħel a professionally run trade and business area for any thriving and growing operation, where businesses and workers have a point of reference,” Minister Schembri said. He went on to explain that, among the projects completed in the first two phases, there are:
- Roads: Over 13,000 square meters of tarmac, repairs to various pavements and on-street parking;
- Parking and traffic plan: This includes the opening of new roads, a new public transport service, as well as temporary parking in the centre of the area. Several new roads have also been opened for the benefit of Qormi residents, with an expenditure of more than €3.8 million by the central government. Work is underway on a road which will benefit the residents of Santa Venera. Two main junctions serving as entrances and exits from the Central Business District have also been refurbished and upgraded;
- LED Street Lighting Project: After an investment of almost €850,000, today the area has around 400 LED (Energy Saver) lamps;
- Flood project: With an investment of €160,000, new drains were installed so that water can be smoothly directed into the national flood system;
- Public garden: With an investment of €650,000, an abandoned area has been transformed into a public garden which is being enjoyed by workers as well as residents who work and/or live in the Birkirkara area. The garden includes the placement of benches, running track and swings for children;
- Community police: An agreement has been signed with the Police Force to have two police officers and an electric police car on the beat during working hours to educate and enforce the area;
- Waste collection: Over 3,137 tonnes of waste were collected;
- New signage: This includes street names as well as large maps in strategic locations to indicate the five areas;
- Area branding and postal code;
- Mobile application: Providing information on works and developments in the area, especially traffic diversions or temporary road closures.
Minister Schembri mentioned that among the projects currently underway are a CCTV system, installation of 14 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (EVC) in the area and a second temporary car park. After the foundation managed to lease land which accommodates over 150 private car parking spaces, the government land has now been identified in Commerce Street for a second temporary car park. This space will accommodate over 300 cars. He concluded his speech by outlining that the next step is to analyse a long-term strategic plan to provide the area with a vision for the next decade.