“The artisanal village in Ta’ Qali will be ready by the end of this year. As a Minister, I directed INDIS Malta to help those artisans who have fallen behind in building their business premises” – Minister Schembri
In view of the fact that some of the artisans fell behind in their work, the Ministry through INDIS Malta sought to intervene to help them out with the works on their premises, with the plan for the Crafts Village in Ta’ Qali to be completed by the end of 2021.
This was announced by Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri, when he was visiting ongoing works which have brought about the remarkable changes that have taken place in the village. Minister Silvio Schembri explained how, while works on the key components of the common infrastructure were completed in March 2019, some of the artisans and businesses operating in the area could not keep up, and therefore the government felt it should offer its assistance.
“To this end, at the beginning of February, as a government together with INDIS Malta, we have worked on a framework agreement, whereby contractors will be hired at pre-established rates by INDIS Malta on behalf of the artisans, who will, in due course, pay INDIS Malta over an agreed period of years. Through the support provided by this agreement, the construction on all the remaining plots that need to be renovated to complement the rest of the village will start next June,” explained Minister Schembri.
Minister Schembri explained how around 35 artisans have already expressed their interest in the agreement for the construction of the remaining plots. Just under 20 artisans launched their construction works before this agreement, and almost half of them are already working from their new premises. The rest are those who have yet to start construction, but who, in any case, will not be using the INDIS Malta agreement but will be using their own contractor. These will be required to commit themselves to completing the construction of their plot.
“Above all, we have ensured that this area gives back to the public, as the plans include open spaces for families to enjoy. Therefore, we made sure that there are several open spaces around this artisan village including a playground, parking, public amenities, and open spaces at the outskirts of this village. Moreover, this village will be a tourist area that generates economic activity,” said Minister Schembri.
He added that the work related to the award of tenders and proposals for the installation of security equipment in the area is well underway. Tenders have been drafted for the additional building for the service of artisans, as well as the start-up centre, for which construction will begin in the second quarter of this year. The tender for the administration of the kiosk, parking on the north side, and the childcare centre has also been awarded, and works are expected to begin imminently for the kiosk to start operating by the summer.
Work is underway on the tender for new direction signs, together with work on the Foundation’s administrative building. An immersive visitor attraction will be built in the area, which will also be the first of its kind in Malta, attracting thousands of people to the artisan village, thus generating additional activity in the area, which will ultimately benefit all artisans, and the tender for which has just been judged. This area will also provide an additional scope for artisans, such as a large open space that can be used for large artisan fairs, art exhibitions, family and cultural events, and for which the tender will be issued by the beginning of the second quarter.
Chairman for INDIS Malta Jean Pierre Attard said that the work on the second phase of the project for the regeneration of the village faced two main challenges; “One was the lack of liquidity that was affecting the artisans due to the pandemic and which drastically reduced the capital they could invest; while the other main challenge was the difficulty of finding builders specialising in traditional Maltese stone and style, who could carry out the work in a timely manner. That is why as INDIS Malta we have decided to intervene in order to offer our help to artisans through a published Framework Agreement, and a financing scheme that we are offering to artisans to help them at this crucial time.”
Chief Executive of the Malta Crafts Foundation Elton Micallef welcomed the assistance being provided by the government through INDIS Malta for the construction of the buildings. “This aid is of great benefit to artisans, especially in the context of the pandemic, which has had a major impact on this sector. With this support, we will be taking another important step towards completing the regeneration of the handicraft village in Ta’ Qali, in a way that will provide a more appropriate environment for the artisans and at the same time attracts more visitors to it. In addition to infrastructure work, in the coming months we will be taking other initiatives that will pave the way for the revival of this sector.”
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Original article found on Malta Winds