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‘Judgements Are Premature’: Architect Behind Controversial New Paola Square Defends His Work

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Christopher Mintoff, the architect behind the newly redesigned Paola Square, has written a public post calling out “social media enthusiasts” for spreading misinformation about his project. The new square has come under a lot of criticism since being unveiled, from politicians to environmentalists, for its lack of trees, as well as looking “dull”.

However, Christopher Mintoff instead pointed towards the doubling of pedestrian walking space, less pollution, and the relocation of the trees that actually resulted in a “net increase” in trees in Paola as reasons the new design should be applauded.

“In the last hours, the Paola Pjazza has become the latest target of social media enthusiasts who have been spreading a lot of misinformation, so let’s clarify.”

“Why remove the existing ficus?
It would have been the nicer and cheaper option to leave the existing trees but unfortunately it was not feasible:
– The existing trees were slated to be removed for a long time, before the idea of the new design began. The trees were planted without containment and were damaging paving, the road, a large underground reservoir, and a WW2 shelter.
– The trees were damaging underground infrastructure including water, waste water, power etc. Major regional connections pass from the pjazza.
– Property owners in the area were reporting damages from the roots too, and some even resorted to taking matters into their own hands.
– Ficus produce sappy spores which make the floor filthy – attracting insects and putting off pedestrians.”

“Public space
– Pedestrians were also put off by the fact that the pjazza was essentially a round about, getting polluted from all around, with dangerous access to and fro.”

“Redesign
– The somewhat clean slate meant that we could remove the round-about, and substantially reduce the impact of traffic in the area.
– This meant a doubling of pedestrian space with much less idle pollution.
– All trees but one which roots had surrounded power cables were relocated within Paola (You don’t need to believe it – there is proof). This results in a net increase of trees in Paola.
– The new trees within Paola have large containers with root barriers which will mean they can grow without damaging the infrastructure.
– The porvido road is MEANT to be uncomfortable to drivers who exceed the 30km/hr speed limit in a built up area. If it annoys you, slow down. That’s the point.
– This will reduce noise, pollution and danger in the area.”

“The project isn’t even complete, so judgments are premature.”

“Also, if you’re going to use a low res web-cam screenshot to try to tarnish a much needed and researched project, at least use the latest feed to compare. “

“BONUS: With the new road layout, we could finally access the long lost WW2 shelter and make it accessible to the public.”

Architect Christopher Mintoff

The square has been criticised since its unveiling

The new square
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The old square
35649162 10156552752406584 6009412863540592640 N

What do you think of his reasoning?

READ NEXT: Those Two Landmark Trees In Balzan Are About To Be Sacrificed To Make The Road More Drivable

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