This week marks the second anniversary since the Kottonera Strategy was published. This plan is a game changer for the area. This is the people’s plan. A wide consultation period preceded the publication which yielded around 200 submissions, some of which are already in the process of being implemented. After years of neglect, this Government wanted to look at Cottonera and appreciate its potential.
For many years under previous administrations, Cottonera was completely forgotten. Regarded as inferior to other localities. I have an idea why and so do the people of the area. We can never forget Simon Busuttil’s comments about the people of Cottonera and drug problems. This is the way the Nationalist party has always seen Cottonera.
I am proud of my origins and feel privileged to have been tasked to lead the regeneration of the three cities and Kalkara. This government recognized what previous Nationalist governments have allowed to fall by the wayside. For this reason, this government drew up the Kottonera strategy and founded the Kottonera Foundation so that a government entity dedicates itself entirely to the regeneration of the inner harbour area. There are three main areas which we are looking at to improve. The urban infrastructure, heritage, and social standards.
Three main capital projects are underway creating new open spaces and regenerating the beautiful coastal landscape. We are also overseeing the implementation of various restoration projects. In this year only the Government is investing €22 million in Cottonera and its people. This is unprecedented. No other administration valued the three cities more than we are doing, because we believe in it and its people.
Our main objective is improving the standard of living, creating more jobs with decent earnings by attracting new investment. We have the potential to do so. The assets are there, we just need to take full advantage of the assets we have and believe me we are spoilt for choice. There are 7km of fortifications and Fort Ricasoli, unused. In a country where space is an issue, these spaces are laying dormant. It’s time to change, time to think ahead for a better Cottonera.