Temporary pontoons to be installed at Fortina Lido as government to invest €173m on new projects

Last Updated on Saturday, 4 February, 2023 at 12:00 pm by Andre Camilleri

Temporary pontoons will be installed at Fortina Lido in Sliema for boats to dock, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri announced on Friday.

Government is to invest more than €173 million on projects coming from the private sector, Schembri announced.

Schembri will be bringing four parliamentary resolutions to launch four projects before the National Audit Office Accounts Committee. The projects will make a significant contribution to the economy of the country, he said.

Permits from the Planning Authority have already been issued to three of the four projects, while the planning process for the fourth project is still ongoing. The investments are expected to create over 441 new jobs in the next four years.

The projects will take place on land which has already been developed or disturbed.

Schembri said that “the economic performance of our country is going at a good pace and that the forecasts for the future are good. This is not only said by the international credit agencies, but by the private sector which is investing millions in various projects in our country.”

Fortel Service Ltd will make an investment of €7 million for the improvement of the existing lido. The place where the Fortina Lido is located was given with a land title to Fortel Services Ltd in 1991 on land of approximately 1,400 square meters.

According to the permit issued last year, this project involves removing the existing swimming pool and building another one in its place, extending the foreshore, building a restaurant, and creating a square along the shore where at present there is a restaurant.

In this square, a garden will be built, and benches will be installed for use by the public.

Fortina Developments Ltd. are obliged to build a path for the use of the public at all times, at their own expense, as an extension of the already existing path around the Tigne Shore. The said path should go around the periphery of the new lido as proposed.

The same company are obliged to take care of the maintenance and repair of the same passage and pier without being entitled to any compensation or public funds for that purpose.

The project also includes the air space on the sea which is intended to complement the proposed development by placing temporary pontoons on the surface of the sea, linked to anchors placed on the seabed, to facilitate boarding and disembarkation from sea crafts.

These pontoons must be installed according to the conditions, obligations and permits imposed by the competent authorities, and to be dismantled in winter.

The details of the remaining projects are as follows:

The Squaring off of Terminal 2 in the Freeport

The project involves a significant financial investment of more than €103.8 million, of which €55 million is related to infrastructural works, and €48 million is linked to the purchase of new equipment and related infrastructure.

It is estimated that 85% of all imports to the country pass through this port. It is currently being run by the Freeport Terminals Company, which has made several investments to turn Malta into a major maritime transhipment centre in the Mediterranean.

The company is predicting an organic growth of more than 3.5%. Malta Freeport Terminals intends to enlarge Terminal 2 to accommodate increasing space challenges.

It intends to square off the terminal through land reclamation, with an expansion of 176 metres in the Northern Quay, and 195 metres in the West Quay, with a space of more than 30,000 square metres in order to allow vessels of 24,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) or more.

Government will support this project by deducting the equivalent sum from the lease paid by Malta Freeport Terminals to the owner of the land, being the Malta Freeport Corporation, over a period of seven years.

The aid includes a number of conditions which must be met, revolving around the need to reduce inconvenience for residents. Malta Freeport Terminals must waive the right to install Quay Cranes in parts closest to residents on the West Quay Terminal 1, which therefore waives the right to operations.

Any activity close to residents of Birzebbuga can no longer be carried out. Any Roll-on Roll-off activity can also no longer be carried out late at night or in the early hours of morning, to further reduce inconvenience for residents.

The Malta Freeport Terminals is also giving an additional contribution of €300,000 as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to be used for social purposes in Birzebbuga.

Government’s support was approved by the State Aid Monitoring Board after an extensive exercise was carried out to ensure that this assistance is in line with the applicable regulations of the European Union regarding State Aid.

Regeneration of the abandoned site of the former Edible Oil Factory

Entirely financed by the private sector, this €50 million project is expected to create 200 new jobs. The project involves regeneration of the abandoned site of the former Edible Oil plant and its surroundings.

This project will be carried out on public and private land, with a total of 44,000 square meters, in the area known as l’Mgieret, limits of Marsa/Ħal Luqa. It will consist of the construction of an industrial complex, among warehouses, and complementary buildings such as offices, catering facilities, day care centre and shops.

The original emphyteusis was given in 1964 to Poultry Products Ltd. for 99 years.

A condition that was in the original census had to be removed for the investment to be made.

The condition was that part of this area must be used strictly for a chicken farm, as well as a condition that no building can be built on approximately 220 square meters of land intended only to serve the operation of the company’s own vehicles.

For the removal of these conditions, the consortium will pay a one-time sum of just over €3 million. This was after an assessment of the value of the conditions was made by independent architects hired by the Lands Authority.

Investment on the site of SMW Cortis in Zebbug

For this project, the Central Business Centre Ltd, along with an international company, will invest around €12 million, primarily towards a supermarket in Mdina Road and a wood factory in Triq H’Attard in Zebbug. 46 new jobs will be created through this project.

As indicated in the Planning Authority’s permit issued in August 2021, in the site known as SMW Cortis Building in Zebbuġ, all existing structures will be demolished, and the ground will be excavated to create reservoirs.

Structures will be made below street level for commercial and industrial use, and below street parking space, street level parking space and street level supermarket will be built.

Central Business Centre Ltd will be taking a land title of approximately 1,400 square meters for a period of 65 years so that it can be used as an internal road and other services. Thus, development can be done on the rest of the private land with a total land area of approximately 15,500 square meters of which approximately 4,700 square meters will be landscaping and open spaces.

The mill located in the same area and the land around it will remain untouched, and will remain government property.

Schembri said that no virgin land or land outside the development zone will be used for these projects.

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