Local Councils should truly belong to residents – AD

In a press conference in Attard, Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party said that its candidates are emphasising that local councils should truly belong to residents. AD said that voting green is the best way to ensure that residents’ rights are voiced in local councils.

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson and Sliema Local Council candidate said: “This 10th March, I invite those with goodwill to vote for local councils which truly belong to residents. Not for councils that are controlled by big developers’ lobbies that are destroying our councils. Not for councils that are characterised with partisan bickering and personal feuds. But for councils that look ahead and give priority to the resident’s quality of life.”

“Alternattiva Demokratika’s policy goes beyond the PNPL partisan divide, and AD councillors always work so that the resident’s rights come first and foremost. For councils which truly belong to residents, one can choose with courage and a sense of optimism Alternattiva Demokratika’s councillors. I urge voters to continue voting other candidates which truly want to work for their locality.”

“As Chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika, and as a Sliema local council candidate I wish to thank the other AD candidates who chose to get down to work: Ralph Cassar (Attard); Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer (St. Julian’s); Simon Galea (St. Paul’s Bay); Solange Sant Fournier (Swieqi); Leonard Schembri (Gzira); Michael A. Bajada (Munxar); Henrik Piski (Qormi); Robert Callus (Mosta); Andre’ Vella (Hal Balzan); and Michael Briguglio (Sliema).”

Ralph Cassar, AD Secretary General and Attard local council candidate said: “For years AD always worked in favour of residents. It spoke about all unsustainable development around Malta and Gozo; including the disastrous Governmental decision in 2006 of increasing building zones and height limitations in places such as Attard, Swieqi, Sliema, Gzira and Balzan. AD made various proposals on the need of open spaces even in zones such as St. Paul’s Bay and about the need for environmental protection and resident facilities in Gozo such as Munxar. Over the years AD councillors worked to defend open spaces from development, worked to start introducing pedestrian facilities for bicycle users and made pressure to halt unsustainable development. AD councillors give due importance to community facilities such as libraries, cultural and sport activities and emphasise the importance for safer roads for the use of the whole community.”

Carmel Cacopardo, AD spokesperson on sustainable development and Home Affairs, said: “AD is presenting candidates who deserve a vote because through their work they will give a definition to practical policies which seek to better the resident’s quality of life. In every locality AD candidates will uphold environmental policies which should be an integral part of local councils. The global environmental impact can be mitigated if we work on a local level. As we are mitigating the environmental impact we are improving the residents’ quality of life in the process. Think Global, act Local.”

“That is why AD is adopting policies in favour of alternative energy in public facilities, gardens, roads and Council offices. That is why Alternattiva Demokratika councillors give importance to environmental criteria in the process of green public procurement.”

“The candidates being presented by AD give priority to sustainable mobility. They encourage the use of public transport which has to be used and developed in order to offer an alternative to private car use. The local councils can give a contribution to the improvement of air quality on a local level through an efficient public transport service on a regional level so the number of cars on the street is diminished. All this leads to the roads being given back to the residents and to remove the excessive dangers for those who those who make use of bicycles for short and long trips.”

“The candidates being presented by AD see an important role for local councils in the implementation of climate change strategies. In particular AD insists that local councils are more actively involved in policies that mitigate the problem of flooding.”

“AD is the only party that is conscious of the sustainable development impact caused by the building industry which brought about 70,000 empty residential properties around Malta and Gozo. These empty properties are leaving a negative impact on the local communities because these are requiring them to dedicate a part of their finances for services in the zones where there are empty properties. These empty properties in Malta are equivalent to nine times the size of Birkirkara, which means that the expenses that go for roads infrastructure, lighting, pavements and sewage and any other general infrastructure would be much more useful if used for areas without empty properties.”


Some campaign photos

Preżentazzjoni tal-programm tagħna KL2012

Preżentazzjoni tal-programm tagħna KL2012

Ħal Qormi - Henrik Piski

Kunsilli Lokali 2012 - Ħ'Attard

Gżira press conference

Paceville - Konferenza stampa

Ħal Balzan - Konferenza stampa

Mosta - Wied il-Għasel

Circus animals activity

Ministries and Authorities should co-operate with local councils – AD

AD appeals to government to help local councils carry out their duties effectively and treat them as autonomous elected bodies and not as an extension of government departments.

AD Chairperson Michael Briguglio said: “Local councils should have full cooperation by Ministries and Authorities to implement their decisions and to enforce basic civic duties such as bye-laws and laws against littering, nuisance and respect for residents by commercial establishments. The election of green councillors next Saturday will ensure that Ministries and Authorities are publicly called to respect local council decisions.”

“Unfortunately local councils face bureaucratic hurdles, or a lack of interest on government’s part. A case in point is a draft bye-law drafted by AD councillor Ralph Cassar in H’Attard and tabled together with then Deputy Mayor Charlo Bonnici, which despite garnering the support of the whole council never saw the light of day. The bye-law sought to promote good neighbourliness by obliging commercial outlets to clean the area outside and next to their establishment since it is a fact that streets where there are establishments selling food, cigarettes and beverages end up full of litter. The bye-law would have given some extra clout to the local council to tackle this issue. However this bye-law got stuck, probably because of a lack of interest by the Ministry of Justice who are supposed to give the go ahead to councils to approve bye-laws. Local councils are also finding it very difficult to enforce laws, since they depend completely either on local wardens who only enforce traffic rules for a couple of hours a day or else on the police – who are either understaffed or are not interested in enforcing laws related to nuisance, littering and other infringements which they consider unimportant.”

Link to draft bye-law:

Andre’ Vella

It-tielet spot elettorali

It-tieni spot elettorali

Greening the councils

Michael Briguglio

It was a pleasure to announce that Alternattiva Demokratika – the green party will be fielding 10 candidates for the upcoming local council elections in March. Indeed, this represents an increase in green local council candidates compared to recent local elections.

Our candidates are Ralph Cassar (Attard, who is already a councillor); Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer (St Julians); Simon Galea (St Paul’s Bay); Solange Sant Fournier (Swieqi); Leonard Schembri (Gżira); Michael Bajada (Munxar and Xlendi); Henrik Piski (Qormi); Robert Callus (Mosta); Andrè Vella (Balzan) and myself (Sliema).

All localities have their own characteristics, needs and opportunities. For example, Mosta has a failed local council characterised by internal feuds and lack of decision making on important issues. A case in point is the absence of the local council in the legitimate opposition to the destructive development at Wied il-Għasel. Interestingly, both the Nationalist and Labour parties are also dead silent on such development.

Readers can check out http://www.it-tarka.com/ and join the thousands who have signed a petition being raised by NGO Ħarsien Patrimonju Mosti.

If elected, AD councillors in Malta and Gozo will ensure that residents, both Maltese and foreign, who want their quality of life safeguarded will have a legitimate voice in their local council. Issues such as sustainable development, public transport, infrastructure, accessibility, public consultation, social inclusion and residents’ rights will be given priority by the greens.

The AD local manifesto focuses on social, environmental, cultural and economic priorities, among others. For example, it gives due importance to the need of community-building through sports, open spaces and accessibility of vulnerable persons to various services.

As regards waste management, AD is emphasising that recycling schemes should be further extended, coupled with waste reduction in general.

Safe and fully-equipped public gardens will be given the importance they deserve. The same can be said as regards the need to have an infrastructure that is fully accessible to persons with disability, the elderly, children and their parents. This includes not only the need to have professional works on pavements and roads but also to have lower speed limits in residential roads as is the case in various European localities.

As regards infrastructure, various localities are in an abysmal situation. Unfortunately, a number of local councils and authorities such as Transport Malta are allowing developers and contractors to carry out inferior road and pavement works without proper enforcement. This results in potholes, uneven roads and inaccessible pavements.

As I argued in a previous article (January 6), one main reason for inferior works lies in the fact that the correct mixes of required materials are not made when resurfacing. Another reason has to do with the weight of trucks used for construction, frequently being overloaded.

For the umpteenth time, I publicly invite Transport Malta to publish reports on such inspections and on enforcement carried out.

Judging by house visits carried out in different localities, I sense a feeling of disillusionment in local councils. Other residents will toe the party line while some will not vote in a bid to earn favours, given that PNPL gather data on people who do not vote, with the blessing of Malta’s perverse data protection legislation.

More optimistic and non-partisan residents may believe that, irrespective of one’s political party, the work of a local councillor can be beneficial to residents. I have no doubt about this.

At the same time, however, one should also keep in mind that, unlike other political parties, AD has no obligations to interests such as those of big business developers. Hence, my appeal to voters is to use one’s vote rather than waste it. On a personal note, if elected to the Sliema local council I will continue the work I did when I was councillor between 2003 and 2009. Then, a culture of consultation with residents was introduced and the council started objecting to unsustainable developments.

The strategy was successful in the victories against development at Il-Pjazetta, Chalet and Qui-si-Sana to the benefit of residents.

I also played an important role – often starting the process – for the introduction of alternative energy and renewable energy measures in the local council, bicycle racks, a cat’s cafe’, free Wi-Fi and other initiatives. I also gave importance to sustainable budgeting and value-for-money tenders.

If elected, I look forward to work with other councillors, irrespective of their political background, and with local NGOs. As AD chairman, I give my best wishes to candidates – green, blue, red or independent – contesting the upcoming local elections. Maltese society should be grateful to those who offer their services for the benefit of their respective locality. At the same time, I thank the 10 AD candidates who are standing up to be counted for the greening of local councils. I invite readers of The Times to check out AD’s local council programme at https://kunsilliad2012.wordpress.com .

Mr Briguglio, a sociologist, is chairman and spokesman for economy and finance, Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green party.

L-ewwel messaġġ fuq TVM mil-lejla

Our proposals for our towns and villages

Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party

March 2012 Local Council Elections

Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party will field 10 candidates for the local council elections in March.

These are Ralph Cassar (Attard); Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer (St Julians); Simon Galea (St Pauls Bay); Solange Sant Fournier (Swieqi); Leonard Schembri (Gzira); Michael Bajada (Munxar); Henrik Piski (Qormi); Robert Callus (Mosta); Andre’ Vella (Balzan); and Michael Briguglio (Sliema).

The Alternattiva Demokratika local councillor promises to cooperate and work with residents and local associations to:

1.       promote cultural events, strengthen local identity and foster a sense of community;

2.       promote sports, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle;

3.       defend open spaces and combat overdevelopment;

4.       upkeep public gardens and insist on modern and safe play equipment for children and teenagers;

5.       improve accessibility and mobility for persons with disability, elderly citizens, children and parents of very young children;

6.       improve streets and pavements and insist on good workmanship; 

7.       plant more local species of trees in public spaces to mitigate the effects of traffic;

8.       provide bicycle racks near major bus stops, town centres, squares and gardens;

9.       work on a mobility plan for the locality with short -, mid- and long-term targets;

10.    introduce a low speed limit for residential streets similar to that introduced in villages, towns and cities in Europe, making these roads pedestrian, child and bicycle friendly;

11.   work towards the target of a public library and town hall in every locality;

12.   monitor and promote recycling banks and insist on proper management of these sites with a zero-tolerance approach towards people who misuse them and undermine the community’s recycling efforts;

13.   promote the recycling of different objects such as textiles and clothes;

14.   promote and convince the council to invest in energy efficient lighting for gardens, streets and council property;

15.   promote green jobs;

16.   employ a youth and community worker when possible;

17.   promote a sense of solidarity and community amongst residents;

18.   facilitate access to state services for the vulnerable and people at risk of poverty;

19.   promote good neighbourliness between residents and the commercial community;

20.   ask for a role for the local council in decisions on trading licenses and operating conditions for commercial establishments in the community.

Vote 1  Alternattiva Demokratika. www.alternattiva.org.mt

Il-programm tagħna

Kunsilliera eletti f’isem Alternattiva Demokratika jaħdmu flimkien ma’ kunsilliera oħra u jagħtu prijorita lill-kwalita’ tal-ħajja tar-residenti f’oqsma bħall-ambjent, saħħa, edukazzjoni, servizzi fil-komunita, kultura u sigurta’.

Inklużjoni u identita

Kunsilliera ta’ AD jinsistu li attivitajiet organizzati mill-Kunsill Lokali jinvolvu l-akbar numru ta’ nies u għaqdiet possibbli fil-komunita. Attivitajiet differenti għandhom jolqtu setturi u interessi diversi fil-komunita filwaqt li jippromwovu l-kultura, l-identita lokali, u l-bini ta’ sens ta’ komunita. Enfasi partikolari għandha ssir fuq attivitajiet sportivi u fejn it-toroq fil-qalba tal-komunita jingħataw lura lin-nies.

Spazji pubbliċi u miftuħa għal kulħadd

Kunsilliera ta’ AD jinsistu li spazji pubbliċi jibqgħu pubbliċi u jiddefenduhom minn żvilupp bla rażan. Spazji miftuħa f’żoni urbani għandhom jibqgħu ħielsa u l-uniku żvilupp għandu jkun ta’ pjazzez, ġonna u spazji rikreattivi.

Fejn possibbli ġonna pubbliċi għandhom jiġu atrezzati b’apparat modern u sikur għal-logħob tat-tfal. Għandu jkun hemm ukoll attenzjoni lejn il-kreazzjoni ta’ spazji fejn adoloxxenti u żgħażagħ jirrikreaw ruħhom – per eżempju b’apparat  tal-logħob iddisinjat apposta għalihom.

Għandu jkun żgurat li kull spazju pubbliku jkun aċċessibbli għal kulħadd, inkluż persuni b’diżabilita, anzjani, tfal, u ġenituri bi tfal żgħar.

Toroq u lokalitajiet isbaħ

Kunsilliera ta’ AD jaħdmu biex it-toroq u l-bankini jkunu fi stat tajjeb u aċċessibbli.  Għandu jiġi żgurat li jsir xogħol ta’ manutenzjoni professjonali u mhux bl-addoċċ.  Attenzjoni partikolari tingħata lill-bankini xierqa, aċċessibbli għal kulħadd. L-ispazju għal min jimxi għandu jiżdied fit-toroq tagħna.

Jitħawwlu siġar indiġeni fl-ispazji pubbliċi u fejn possibbli anke fit-toroq. Toroq bis-siġar huma aktar attraenti. Fl-istess ħin itaffu l-impatt ħażin tat-traffiku.

Biex inħajjru mobilita nadifa, kunsilliera tal-AD jaħdmu biex racks għar-roti jitwaħħlu ħdejn il-waqfiet tal-linja prinċipali u ħdejn ċentri kummerċjali u pjazzez u ġonna fil-lokalitajiet.  Jitolbu biex il-Kunsill Lokali jikkummissjona pjan għall-mobilita fil-lokalita b’miri ċari fil-qrib, l-medju terminu u fit-tul.

Kunsilliera ta’ AD jitolbu biex tiġi implimentata limitu ta’ veloċita ta’ 30kph f’żoni residenzjali biex tiżdied is-sigurta fit-toroq residenzjali u biex in-nies iħossuhom aktar komdi jimxu u jużaw ir-rota fil-komunita tagħhom.

Faċilitajiet għall-komunita kollha

Kull komunita għandu jkollha faċilitajiet xierqa biex il-Kunsill jkun jista’ joffri servizzi xierqa lir-residenti u l-għaqdiet fil-komunita. Librerija u sala għal laqgħat u attivitajiet huma essenzjali.  Sfortunatement il-Gvern ħalla ‘l bosta lokalitajiet mingħajr r-riżorsi biex jkollhom ċentru xieraq tal-komunita. Kunsilliera ta’ AD ma jaqblux li Kunsilli Lokali għandu jispekula fil-propjeta biex ikun jista’ jibni jew jixtri ċentru tal-komunita xieraq.  Ninsistu li l-Gvern għandu jgħin u jaġevola Kunsilli Lokali li għandhom bżonn jinvestu f’ċentru tal-komunita xieraq.

Insaħħu u nsostnu r-riċiklaġġ

Filwaqt li kunsilliera’ ta’ AD jaħdmu biex jonqos l-iskart, jaħdmu wkoll sabiex l-iskemi għar-riċiklaġġ fil-komunita jirnexxu. Kunsilliera tal-AD jinsistu mal-Kunsill u l-operaturi ta’ dawn l-iskemi li l-bring-in-sites jinżammu nodfa u jinsistu fuq politika ta’ tolleranza – zero għal min jabbuża minn dawn is-siti.

Kunsilliera ta’ AD jappoġġjaw skemi u inizjattivi ta’ riċiklaġġ fil-komunita, kif ukoll jaraw kif itejjbu l-iskemi u li dawn jinfirxu għal affarijiet oħra, bħal ħwejjeġ u materjal ieħor.

Enerġija nadifa

Kunsilliera ta’ AD jipproponu użu akbar ta’ enerġija nadifa, sabiex jonqos it-tniġġis u tonqos id-dipendenza fuq energija li dejjem qed togħla fil-prezz. Dan jinkludi  użu ta’ apparat li jnaqqas l-użu tal-elettriku fil-lokalita, fosthom fil-ġonna, t-toroq u l-bini tal-kunsill permezz ta’ bozoz energy saving, LED u pannelli solari. Fil-proċess ta’ bidla, jiġu ġġenerati aktar ‘green jobs’.

Komunitajiet ħajjin, vibranti u solidali

Kunsilliera ta’ AD jaħdmu bi sħab ma’ komunitajiet lokali, individwi, għaqdiet non-governattivi, u oħrajn, f’kuntest ta’ konsultazzjoni kontinwa. Fejn vijabbli u fejn possibbli Kunsilliera Lokali ta’ AD jitolbu li l-Kunsill jimpjega persuna bil-kwalifiċi jew esperjenza neċessarji bħala Youth and Community Worker. Din l-persuna tmexxi u torganizza servizzi u attivitajiet li jibnu s-sens ta’ komunita u solidarjeta bejn ir-residenti tal-lokal u tiffaċilita l-aċċess għal servizzi għal persuni vulnerabbli u f’riskju ta’ faqar.

Ġirien tajba

Alternattiva Demokratika taħdem biex ir-regoli ta’ ‘bon viċinanza’ bejn il-ġirien jiġu rispettati.  Stabbilimenti kummerċjali għandhom jirrispettaw id-dritt għall-kwalita’ tal-ħajja u għall-mistrieh tar-residenti f’dak li għandu x’jaqsam ma’ ħsejjes, storbju, ħmieġ u rwejjaħ. Is-sitwazzjoni fejn il-Kunsilli Lokali mhux involuti fl-għoti tal-liċenzji tal-operat tan-negozji u l-kundizzjonijiet tal-operat mhux aċċettabbli.

Il-programm f’għoxrin punt:

Il-kandidati ta’ AD – Green Party candidates 2012

Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party announced that it will field 10 candidates for the local council elections in March.

These are Ralph Cassar (Attard); Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer (St Julians); Simon Galea (St Pauls Bay); Solange Sant Fournier (Swieqi); Leonard Schembri (Gzira); Michael Bajada (Munxar); Henrik Piski (Qormi); Robert Callus (Mosta); Andre’ Vella (Balzan); and Michael Briguglio (Sliema).

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, said: “We are proud to announce an increase in green local council candidates. The election of green candidates will ensure that residents, both Maltese and foreign, who want their quality of life safeguarded, will have a legitimate voice in their local council. Issues such as sustainable development, public transport, infrastructure, accessibility, public consultation and residents’ rights will be given priority by Green local councillors”.

 “AD’s appeal to voters is to use their vote rather than wasting it. Voting AD is a vote for residents’ rights”

Carmel Cacopardo AD Spokesperson for Home Affairs and Sustainable Development said seven of AD’s candidates are employed in the public sector. They would have had considerable difficulty to contest the elections if Directive 5 issued by the Principle Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister was implemented as originally drafted. Fortunately, added Cacopardo, Dr Grima contributed to solving the problem by accepting that the Directive was drafted defectively. His acceptance that public servants presenting themselves as candidates for Local Council elections should not be forced to go on leave was in line with what is acceptable behaviour from the civil service towards its employees.”