Four years after construction began, Ta’ Xħajma Park and Ride in Gozo still under excavation

€4 million project which began in 2018 still a hole in the ground

 

A €4 million park and ride project that began construction work four years ago in an area on the limits of Xewkija known as ‘Ta’ Xħajma’ remains in the initial stages of excavation, a site visit by The Shift has confirmed.

Construction works on the facility at Ta’ Xħajma began in 2018, before a Planning Authority permit was issued in 2019. According to the permit, the 23,000sqm site will include a bus terminal, charging points for electric buses and “a roofed deck to house recreation areas”.

In a move that The Shift had previously reported as a rushed PR stunt following Prime Minister Robert Abela’s return from the COP26 climate conference in November last year, six electric buses were wheeled out from the garage they were in to provide a park and ride service from Ta’ Xħajma to Mġarr’s Harbour Ferry.

At the time, the government had trumpeted the announcement of the project as part of the government’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions in Gozo.

While the six electric buses, purchased by the government from Tumas Group offshoot Tum Invest for €1.7 million, are operational, the heliport they were supposed to be servicing in Xewkija isn’t, meaning that the only aspect of the park and ride that is actually operational four years down the line is just the buses themselves.

A shot of the heliport’s landing area, with two helicopters parked in the background.

A site visit by The Shift revealed what seems to be a completely abandoned heliport that was not manned by anyone, with two helicopters laying dormant on the nearby runway. Reports suggest that the heliport has been largely unused for years, with the government bringing up potential plans for its use every now and then, but with no concrete results to date.

A look at the heliport’s deserted terminal.

In February, the Gozo ministry launched a public consultation about whether to potentially extend the heliport to accommodate a small runway for light aircraft. Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri has previously spoken of converting the airstrip into a small air-taxi service connected to Malta International Airport.

Meanwhile, the ‘100% electric’ park and ride service from Xewkija to Mġarr remains limited to the operation of the buses themselves, which The Shift spotted on a site visit to the abandoned heliport.

One of the electric buses providing the park and ride service from the heliport to Mgarr’s habour.

At the time the project was announced by Camilleri in November, the bus service which was supposed to be manned by the Gozo ministry had instead to be staffed by Malta Public Transport drivers due to the haste with which it was put together.

This was not the first instance in which the Gozo ministry took years to pull together a project that either went over deadlines or required extra costs beyond what was originally budgeted, with the ministry often resorting to using additional direct orders further funded by taxpayers.

A major example of this was the Gozo sports complex project, the costs of which ballooned from €9 million to at least €16 million. The project was supposed to be operational by the end of 2021.

                           
                               
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KLAUS
KLAUS
2 days ago

I suspect that the money has disappeared into some greedy pockets? OMG Labour or MAFIA.


Now imagine that the P-olitical L-ooters should build the metro: It would take forever and 3 days and after that we need a new island.

Francis Said
Francis Said
2 days ago

Dr Alfred Sant had clearly stated that having light planes land in Gozo would not be financially feasible.
Secondly the rotten administration of this government, particularly where taxpayers’ funds are concerned is evident for all to see.
An interesting exercise done by a reputable firm of accounts (anyone but Nexia BT) should be carried out to quantify the exact amount and contractor/supplier of the total amount of direct orders issued from 2013 to date.
Finally the PL is master of spin, half truths, no comment and unfinished projects. It is a real shame that Gozo has been transformed in a modern slum area, with excessive buildings practically over shadowing all the natural and man-made landmarks over the years.
Maltese, who have bought a property in Gozo, as a relaxing place to spend some quality time there are certainly disappointed.
It is preferable to travel to Sicily and spend time there.
The food and accommodation are reasonably priced The quality of the food that one finds in Sicily is well above some of the rubbish that one finds here in Malta is overpriced.
This is what Gozo is risking, that the Maltese would rather take a catamaran and spend their money for better quality and price.
Unfortunately this is not progress but regress.
SHAME.

Last edited 2 days ago by Francis Said
MR K HODKIN
MR K HODKIN
27 minutes ago

Camilleri is as useful as a chocolate tea pot xagrhas roads are worse than Ukraines war torn regions all this clown is interested in is extending the airstrip so he can fly to “work” shooting anything that flys..Grunters

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