San Pawl il-Baħar – Simon GALEA

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  • Ralph Cassar  On February 20, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    The Times, Friday, February 17, 2012 , by Simon Galea, Qawra.

    Greener forms of activities for tourists
    Long promenades and country lanes incorporating a number of places of interest pose a great cycling potential for the locality of St Paul’s Bay. Apart from the environmental and health benefits, cycling is in itself a niche for ecotourism.

    While so many activities are promoted among the visiting tourists, this niche is barely explored. A half day cycling tour can incorporate visits to a number of sites due to the close proximity to one another. The locality hosts historical sites, nature reserves (such as Simar), beaches and rural areas rich in agriculture.

    An initiative getting all stakeholders together is what’s missing and the local council should seriously consider adopting this role. Diversifying from mass tourism to ecotourism is healthy both for the economy and for the environment. Greener forms of touristic activities minimise the negative impact on the environment and generate more money.

  • Ralph Cassar  On February 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    The Times, Wednesday, February 22, 2012 , by Simon Galea, St Paul’s Bay

    A chronic parking problem

    Lack of parking space is an issue of great concern for residents of St Paul’s Bay, Qawra and Buġibba. Permanent residents contribute towards this problem but the major factor causing such a nightmare is visitors. Available parking spaces can only cater for a fraction of the demand brought about by seasonal residents, tourists and diners.

    Increasing the number of parking spaces is not the ultimate solution. The use of private cars should be discouraged while a number of initiatives towards the use of alternative forms of transport should be in place. On the other hand it is also the responsibility of the relevant authorities to come up with a proper solution to the parking problem. In other words both local and national government should take a holistic approach towards this issue.

    The issue of parking is seen as a challenge for most. I personally consider this an opportunity. A number of existing open-air parking areas can be transformed into multi-storey underground car parks while incorporating recreational open spaces at street level. A reservoir underlying the same car park will serve as a rain water catchment area where the water will be utilised for landscaping purposes. Such a project can be self financed through a number of options including the sale of a number of garages at one reserved level. Less polluting vehicles such as electric cars or motorcycles will be provided with reserved parking slots.

    Finally open spaces which are presently being taken up as car parks will be transformed into landscaped areas including child and sport facilities such as swings and tennis courts or five-a-side football pitches for the benefit of both locals and tourists.

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