Sliema’s promenade is dotted with kiosks, but one new structure which recently showed up alongside the seaside walkway has become the centre of a fresh controversy.
On Monday night, photos of a new white kiosk structure started being shared on social media, and within hours, a petition appeared objecting the new development.
“I cannot suffer and watch our promenade being stripped from its main purpose of relaxation and pleasure and being eaten up by these companies,” the petition started by Free Our Pavements reads.
“The Sliema promenade has been constantly raped by the addition of kiosks, street promoters and labelled advertisement. A once-pleasant walk has turned into an obstacle, an exceedingly difficult one too.”
The online petition goes on to add more photos of the structure from different angles, saying it “has taken advantage of the breath-taking views of Manoel Island and Valletta and stole another portion of our promenade”. Plans also include demountable umbrellas on the side, which will be no higher than 1.2 metres “to be in line with P21 and P22 of the OCA policy” (the part of the policy that does not permit “permanent structures or fittings of a permanent nature”).
The petition has a number of qualms with the development, listing down a list of points it deems problematic.
From the high ‘windbreaker’ screens that have taken the form of “a bulky structure that moreover exceeds this maximum threshold, reaching the height of the kiosk itself” to the new location of the kiosk towards the centre of the pavement instead of the side, Free Our Pavements say the structure is taking up much more space than it should.
With signatures pouring in every couple of seconds, the online petition has already hit 500 signatures at the time of writing. “Enough is enough,” one comment read, with another saying they have “had enough of our birthright sold off for commercial exploitation”.
Set up less than 24 hours ago, Free Our Pavements promises to “fight for our environment”, saying “the Maltese Community is crying for open space”. The Sliema kiosk in question happens to be their first point of contention… but it doesn’t look like this will be the last.
What do you make of this development? Let us know in the comments below.