Work on an EU-funded new Park & Ride facility for Gozo meant to have been completed years ago was re-started in a rush last week with the government having just a few more months to conclude the project or risk losing around €4 million in EU funding.
The Ta’ Xhajma park and ride facility is earmarked for a site in Xewkija next to Gozo’s horse racetrack. It was originally conceived in 2017 by former Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana.
Work started in 2018 with the excavation of some 40,000 square metres of material at a cost of over €700,000, but the site remained abandoned for years after that until heavy machinery began rolling in last week.
Visiting the worksite together with EU Funds Parliamentary Secretary Chris Bonett, Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri boasted that the new park and ride will be able to accommodate some 300 cars and that it will be connected to Mgarr Harbour by six electric buses.
The minister refrained from giving any details on why the project had been left abandoned since 2018 and from giving a date on when it will be concluded.
The Shift is informed that, after years of the project lying at a standstill, the government now has until June to make use of funds from the relevant EU programme or risk losing them altogether.
The project forms part of the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF programme and carries a €6 million price tag, with 80% of the costs being borne by the EU.
The project’s piecemeal implementation had hit the headlines a number of times, such as when the six electric buses had been purchased from Tum Invest in 2017 – only to have been left idle in a garage for two years until the correct charging points arrived and they could be used.
Since the park and ride facility that the electric buses had been purchased for was still to materialise, the government instead created a temporary facility on the road next to the Ta’ Lambert helipad and began using the electric buses, presumably to give the impression that the EU funds were being utilised.
The temporary park and ride, financed through the national budget, was something of a flop and attracted very little custom despite the hundreds of thousands of euros that had been injected into the temporary facility.
What can one say – besides Mafiocracy?
Not even the Mafia are that stupid. Without any intention to condone in any way the Mafia.
€6,000,000 for a car park! Must be €1,000,000 for the work and €5,000,000 to spread around the contractors etc!
X gharukaza kif gabuha zona!! Imma ghal din l oxxenita kif hadd ma tkellem?? U ara hawn xi hadd jahseb li din ser tirnexxi hux! Min ser imur jipparkja l vettura hemm biex jaqbad tal linja?? Tal misthija!!
Vera Ma jafux jisthu. Certament li se jkun progett fallut. Lanqas fejn tal Lambert Ma kienu jipparkjaw ahseb u ara hemmhekk. Qed isir minghajr studju u ricerka. Imma Billi Ma hemmx oppozizjoni li jridu u li jfetlilhom jaghmlu , basta tal qalba jgawdu minn dawn il progetti. Flus fil hela. Down the drain project.
Companies will park cars for hire, as demonstrated by the example at the Addolorata.