Fabian Demicoli

GRTU’s Position on the Sliema Parking Scheme


GRTU represents a wide cross section of businesses
operating in Sliema and though we are interested in the provision of parking
slots for business owners and their employees, our primary aim is to ensure
that there are sufficient parking slots available for the largest possible
number of consumers that wish to be serviced by the commercial and servicing
business community that has invested in Sliema.

Without the patronage of a vast and expanding
clientele the businesses cannot sustain a decent level of profitability that
keeps them efficient and well stocked, provides for a larger volume of
employment and help this important commercial sector compete with other centres
in other parts of the Island and other shopping facilities not so far from the
Sliema shopping quarter where parking is more easily available.

Our discussions included meetings with The Local
Council, Malta Transport, the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs (MRRA),
the Ministry for Transport (MITC), the Ministry for Tourism, and the Ministry
responsible for Local Government, Wardens and the Police.

Numerous consultation meetings were held with our
members and other associations representing other stakeholders.

Discussions with the Local Council and all the Sliema
Mayors have been going on for a long time. We do our best to understand the
tremendous task faced by the Local Council to address the conflicting demands
made by the various road network stakeholders. We also discuss with private
investors and support private projects that aim at increasing private parking
facilities. In this context we also hold discussions with MEPA and invite MEPA
officials to meet and discuss options with our members.

Together with the Local Council we have also been
lobbying with the Ministry for Resources to invest more funds to provide
additional parking facilities and new investments as indeed already has taken
place along the promenade and elsewhere.

Our aim is to encourage new capital investment on a
planned medium to long term period and in the short run to encourage better and
more efficient and accessible public transport service and optimum turnover of
the parking slots volume that currently exists. We recognise the plight of
residents and we do our utmost to reach compromises as the local resident
community are also essential to sustain the businesses we represent but we
strive to convince residents that the businesses in the community are an essential
part of what makes Sliema so special and what keeps the value of property in
Sliema on the upper scale and compromises by what resident's and businesses
need is the best way forward.

GRTU believes in practical compromises and not in
action and conflict.

Compromises require sacrifices by all to achieve
results that are satisfying for all stakeholders. The current plans are not
perfect and it is definitely transitional and we will continue to discuss to
achieve further fine tuning but the basic concepts are right. Change had lately
become a popular theme but too many people say yes to change but not in my
….. Parking bay!

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