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Letters | Wednesday, 24 March 2010 Issue. 156

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Strengthening civic responsibility

I have been involved with the Local Council at St Julian’s for a number of years and my experience of these structures is that they have created a sense of belonging and a great sense of civic awareness among local residents.
I remember a time, not too long ago, when it was very difficult to get anything done in the locality because the concept of local government was always overshadowed by the greater need to do things centrally, and under the ever-watchful eye of the Minister.
With the advent of the decentralization process in 1993, all this changed. Suddenly decisions were taken within the confines of the town and village which were directly affected by these decisions. The people who took these decisions did not sit in some office in Valletta, nor were they detached from the realities of the area they had to develop.
I think we could all notice a difference in the cleanliness, the state of the pavements, the roads, the lighting and the street furniture – I will not say that this work is concluded: the process is an ongoing one, and the upgrade of our localities is generated from an ever present need to reach new expectations for the resident as well as the visitor – be they local or foreign.
St Julian’s is a locality that has to service all of these needs, as well as being an important hub for entertainment and business for the islands.
The new administrative committee that will soon be operating for the Paceville area should not consider itself as another entity, working in competition with the Local Council. On the contrary, these structures should consider themselves as complementary to the Council.
The elected members of the committees need to ensure that the very specific needs of the areas under their care enjoy the basic necessities such as a sound infrastructure, accessibility and public services which enhance the quality of life for the resident and visitor.
Paceville is an area that needs special attention, particularly because of its strong presence of outlets serving the entertainment industry, as well as the accommodation sector but also because there are at least 500 local residents in the area who have a right to a decent quality of life in the area.
I live in the Paceville area, I know the difficulties that exist in trying to juggle between business and resident issues: the traffic, the influx of visitors, the consequent problems of waste, infrastructure and parking.
The St Julian’s Council, together with the Central Government, has invested heavily in Paceville but now it is still important to maintain a professional sense of management.
My case example of Paceville needs to be replicated in all those areas where there are elections for the administrative committee, and I reiterate again – these are not elections for a new council, nor are they general elections, but they are intended to build closer attention to specific areas for the good of all: residents and visitors alike.
It is everyone’s duty to exercise their right to vote and select those persons who they feel can fulfil this role effectively.



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