Santa Venera Mayor Stephen Sultana objected to paying the €3,000 bill for the Slow Streets initiative during a local council meeting on 15th June.
The project was coined by the Local Council Association in collaboration with the Transport Ministry and Transport Malta earlier this month, in a bid to mimic the significant decrease in emissions that Malta saw throughout its semi-lockdown by temporarily pedestrianising streets and limiting vehicle access.
As of the project’s launch date, 42 councils were known to be participating – the Santa Venera Local Council being one of them.
The €3,000 asked of councils participating in the Slow Streets initiative will reportedly go towards hiring professionals to analyse the town’s roads, prior to temporarily pedestrianising certain spaces.
Mayor Sultana saw the hiring of professionals to implement road studies as futile, saying that ultimately “no one knows our village better than we do”.
Sultana also expressed concerns that parking spaces within Santa Venera would be negatively impacted as a result of the Slow Streets initiative.
“One of the things they mentioned was that with the pedestrian zones, parking won’t be affected – and I challenged that point,” said Sultana. “Especially when you consider that in our locality, from a survey that was implemented scientifically by a professional company, 45% of respondents stated that the biggest problem in Santa Venera is the lack of parking spaces.”
Whilst Sultana was not entirely opposed to the notion of implementing the Slow Streets initiative, he was adamant that it is the region that should pay the €3,000 fee, not the council.
“Obviously I kept insisting that eventually, if this study had to take place, the region should foot the bill and not us,” said Sultana.