Respond to the Public Consultation – ex-Jerma Palace Hotel, Site Development Brief*

** Deadline 11th November **

*Updated: It’s even worse than we thought. Figures below have been updated.

Here we go again. Back in February we urged residents of Marsaskala to respond to the public consultation and object to the monstrous Jerma Hotel proposal. You can read more about what has happened since April in our blog post here. The new owners are now asking for PA’s blessing for an extra 39,000sqm of visible floor space. That’s right, the development application we last heard about in February states on page 4:

“The site will have a total gross floor area of 92,000 sqm, split into 61,000 sqm above plaza level and 31,000 sqm below the plaza.”

Translation: the visible portion of the building was spread over 61,000 sqm in the 2018 application, with the remainder (parking and services) being underground. Now, the owners are asking for the visible portion of the building to be spread over 100,000sqm instead. An increase of 64% over the 2018 application!

ALL of us are clearly in favour of demolition of the current dangerous structure. The point of this consultation is to influence what is done with the space left AFTER the demolition. In order to get rid of the current eysore, do we need to have forced down our throats a 15 storey high-rise and at least 166 new apartments in Marsaskala, with all the additional traffic problems this will invetiably cause? The monstrous 15-storey development previously proposed would likely bring some low-paid jobs to the area, which is positive. However, given the historically low unemployment rate Malta is enjoying, we wonder whether the economic argument is worth making at all. We also ask ourselves, given looming tourist accommodation oversaturation and industry warnings to beware of investing in new hotel accomodation, whether 15 floors (9 more than the current Jerma building) of hotel rooms is justified. Why not keep to the current, relatively low-lying building design? Why include residential buildings at all, when Marsaskala is so overcrowded and its infrastructure strained to its limits?

We now have the opportunity to send our representation to the public consultation – doing so is both important and quick. Representations should be as personal but as knowledgeable as possible. Numbers count! Some points you may wish to submit are outlined below. You can do so UP TO THE 11th November, by doing the following:

1) Start a new email to smlp@pa.org.mt
2) Subject line: Response to open Public Consultation – ex-Jerma Palace Hotel, Marsascala Site Development Brief – South Malta Local Plan (2006) (Phase 1)
4) Copy some or all of the text underneath the line below – feel free to edit and make your representation as personal as possible.
5) Add your name and ID number just underneath

Thank you! The more comments, the better. Numbers matter!


To whom it may concern,

Whilst welcoming the delayed demolition of the existing dangerous structure, and expressing concern at the lack of enforcement, I would like to register my concerns regarding the new site development brief for Jerma Palace Hotel. Over the years, the abandoned hotel has become a structurally unsafe site, with a number of recorded accidents occurring, and effectively depriving the general population from the full
enjoyment of the coastline surrounding it. Marsaskala is struggling with infrastructural issues relating to overdevelopment, public spaces are declining, and property prices are rapidly becoming unaffordable for the local community. While there is a strong general consensus that the current building needs to be demolished and the site needs to be rendered safe, with full access to the coast, a large-scale development could make Marsaskala a less desirable place to live in.

We wish the following points to be considered during discussion around this development brief:

  • We agree with the proposed demolition of the current abandoned hotel and urge the PA to reissue an enforcement order in line with the applicable legislation, and ensure that any fines applicable are collected;
  • The increase in GDF from 61,000 sqm to 100,000sqm is disproportionate, insensitive, and unacceptable, and should not be permitted. Furthermore, St. Thomas Tower will effectively be incorporated into the development: among other conditions, the Height Limitation Adjustment Policy for Hotels states that permission for an additional 2 floors over the statutory building height limitation should only be given if:

    “Site responds positively to its context including natural topography, scale, height,
    streetscape, built form and the skyline”

    &
    “Proposals should be sited where visual impact within their context and on sensitive historic environments and their settings such as World Heritage Sites, conservation areas and scheduled buildings is minimised, and should retain and enhance key strategic, long distant views and important vistas at a national and at the local level.”
    &
    The development shall not cause a detrimental impact on the local community as a result of unacceptable levels of increased traffic, noise and bad neighbourliness;

    None of these conditions apply given the proximity of the development to St. Thomas Tower. An open space should be included between the tower and the coastline so that the important visual link between the tower and the sea is restored.
  • The 166 residential units mentioned in the former application (PA/04710/18) have been added so that this massive, large-scale project can be self-financed. This is of great concern, and the mere fact that residential units are required for the economic success of the project should send plans immediately back to the drawing board.
  • Impact assessments: given the density and scale of the project, such a decision should not be taken without having adequate data at hand to highlight the issues and problems that such a large development might create for decades to come. At the very least, independent experts should be commissioned to conduct a thorough:

    (1) Social impact assessment
    (2) Visual impact assessment
    (3) Transport impact assessment
    (4) Health impact assessment
    (5) Environmental impact assessment

    These should be urgently carried out before taking any decision regarding the new site developement brief, and residents informed about the potential impact so as to be able to make an informed contribution to the decision-making process.
  • Residential units: The Jerma site was granted by the Government to Lafico through an act of parliament tourism purposes only. The inclusion of residential units, although permitted in the South Malta Local Plan of 2006, is a betrayal of the original agreement. Including residences in the plan will irrevocably harm the area and further strain the social and urban fabric of Marsascala.
  • The site should be rehabilitated to its original natural state – the land should be given back to the public to enjoy, the tower restored and rehabilitated to continue generating sustainable economic activity, and the Jerma area embellished so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come. Alternatively, only tourist accomodation should be permitted, keeping to the GDF currently occupied by the Jerma Palace Hotel
  • Marsaskala was not among the localities identified in the policy regulating high buildings of over 10 storeys. A 15 storey building will permanently alter the town’s skyline and give precedent to other buildings being raised to similar heights. The development should be scaled down to 10 stories or less, or kept to the current level
  • No real consultation with residents in the area has been carried out. The Local Council gave its approval to an earlier application (PA/04710/18) which is now being superseded, and with no real understanding of the impact that such a huge development will have on the fabric of the area, and on Marsaskala as a whole. Most residents are against the inclusion of residential units.
  • Increase in traffic and pollution in the area: this development will severely exacerbate residential traffic in the area, to the detriment of Marsaskala as a whole.
  • There will be a substantial shadowing effect on nearby residential properties, depriving residents of sunshine during the morning, affecting mental health. This may also have an economic impact as investments in solar PV panels or solar heaters will no longer be worthwhile.

    I hope you will take note of these concerns and reduce, rather than expand, the scope of the development brief.
    Regards,
    [Name]
    [ID Number]

What’s happening at Jerma?

Nothing good. Recent reports that the Jerma site is likely to be (or already has been) purchased by Joseph Portelli – the Gozitan construction baron who is lately on the news for all the wrong reasons, including construction illegalities and ODZ applications (see here, here, here, here and here) – is terrible news for Marsaskala.

Let’s rewind a bit. In our last blog post on Jerma back in April, we posted that the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal had just reached a decision (3 years after the initial enforcement notice was published) not to penalize the owners for abandoning Jerma, or oblige them to pull down the dilapidated building. Instead, they were given 30 days to present a ‘method statement’ describing what they would do to minimise the damage caused by the abandoned building to Marsaskala’s coastline. Since then, absolutely nothing has happened on the ground, except for more rubbish accumulating on the site.

Marsaskala Community & Friends decided to follow up on this and emailed the Planning Authority on the 13th September (more than 3 months after the expiry of the enforcement notice) asking for an update:

Email sent to Planning Authority by the MC&F

We received a reply on the 25th September stating:

Dear Sir,
 Referring to your email below, kindly be informed that a Method Statement has been submitted and is currently being evaluated by the Planning Authority.
[Customer Care, Planning Authority]

Not very informative, but hey, at least the method statement has finally been submitted… it’s only been a few extra months anyway. No penalties of course…

Something is brewing…

On the 18th October 2019, a public consultation on the Jerma site was launched by the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects. The consultation proposes a number of objectives for a Site Development Brief (which sets out the planning parameters for development of the site…amazingly, this had never been done previously). We reproduce the relevant ones below:

Request by the Government for the preparation of a Development Brief for the site of the ex-Jerma Palace Hotel, Marsascala.

a) To designate the site shown in Map A as a Comprehensive Planning Area for Regeneration of the Urban Coast;

b) To promote the development of a mix of land uses which shall include:

• Tourism accommodation which must include Class 3B (Use Classes Order (SL552.15) hotel/s
which shall never be smaller, in terms of Gross Developable Floor space (GDF), than the ex-Jerma Palace Hotel;
Category A residential uses (Use Classes Order (SL552.15) which shall not exceed 40% of the total allowable GDF;

c) To ensure that the overall development density
does not exceed 100,000 sqm GDF, excluding spaces for car parks and services, irrespective of the position of the floor space in relation to any street level;
…….

Map A of the Site Development Brief. Note how St. Thomas Tower is now included in the site.

In addition to the inclusion of St. Thomas Tower in the site plan (Map A), objective (b) is truly shocking. It is clear that the developer is betting on people not understanding what 100,000 sqm (square metres) of development means for Marsaskala.

By the numbers…what do they mean?

  • The current site boundary of the Jerma Hotel occupies 17,500 sqm. All of the current abandoned building and landscaped areas fit within this area. All of the proposed development will also have to fit within this area.
  • According to the Floor-to-Area Ratio policy, the scale of public open space should never be less than 50% of the site area.
  • The development density (EXCLUDING parking areas and services) will be 100,000sqm. This is 63% higher than the 61,000sqm of the application currently being considered by the PA. Based on the site brief, not less than 40,000sqm of the density will be dedicated to residential use (apartments), and 60,000sqm to a mix of tourism and commercial use.

Now for some math…

  • Assuming FAR applies, the land area actually available for building is:
    17,500 ÷ 2 = 8,750sqm
  • Assuming all of the above area will be built up, and dividing 100,000sqm by 8,750sqm, gives us a figure of 11.4. At this point, these are just assumptions as we do not yet have a project application to look at, but let’s say that the building or buildings (previous applications have proposed more than a single building) will be around 11 floors high as a minimum. Each floor equates to roughly 3m height, give or take, depending on use, so the building will be around 34m high.
  • Assuming that an existing policy loophole will be exploited (while the policy regulating high-rise buildings excludes Marsaskala, the policy regulating hotel heights permits four and five star hotels to extend their accommodations to more than two floors over and above the permitted number of floors in the Local Plan), let’s add another 2 floors – equivalent to 6m – to the total height.
  • This brings the potential total height of the building up to 40m. Again, these are rough estimations, but for the moment they are what we have to work with.

In short, it’s a monstrosity

Anybody living in Marsaskala should be horrified at this news. Think about it… the current Jerma building is around 5 storeys + penthouse above street level. Think about what a building 3 times this height will look like. What kind of shadows will it cast?

ALL of us are clearly in favour of demolition of the current dangerous structure. The point of this consultation is to influence what is done with the space left AFTER the demolition. In order to get rid of the current eysore, do we need to have forced down our throats a 15 storey high-rise and at least 166 new apartments in Marsaskala, with all the additional traffic problems this will invetiably cause? The monstrous 15-storey development being planned will likely bring some low-paid jobs to the area, which is positive. However, given the historically low unemployment rate Malta is enjoying, we wonder whether the economic argument is worth making at all. We also ask ourselves, given looming tourist accommodation oversaturation and industry warnings to beware of investing in new hotel accomodation, whether 15 floors (9 more than the current Jerma building) of hotel rooms is justified. Why not keep to the current, relatively low-lying building design? Why include residential buildings at all, when Marsaskala is so overcrowded and its infrastructure strained to its limits?

What can you do about it?

You could send an email to smlp@pa.org.mt with your objections. These should be received by 11th November 2019. We are working on a template submission and will post this for you to copy/edit and send in the coming hours.



Local Council elections – getting to grips with the Single Transferable Vote

As Marsaskala grows, so does the proportion of non-Maltese residents who might not be familiar with the voting system in Malta. Young Maltese residents voting for the first time (any 16 year old readers out there?) might also be new to the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, one of the fairest forms of proportional representation in the world. STV gives voters a choice among individual candidates, rather than political parties. It does this by asking voters to rank their preferences for various candidates, so that each vote contributes to the election of one of the voter’s choices irrespective of party lines. Only two countries – Malta and Ireland – use STV for national elections, although a few others use it for regional or local elections as well. But how does it work?

How does the single transferable vote system work?

In 2019, Marsaskala Local Council (LC) has nine seats up for election, and this year there are 11 candidates from across three parties. On the 25th May, voters are provided with a ballot list of candidates at the election booth. They can mark their favourite candidate as number one, their second favourite number two, and so on. Voters can put numbers next to as many or as few candidates as they like. The numbers tell the people counting to move your vote if your favourite candidate has enough votes already or stands no chance of winning.

Draft ballot paper with the list of local council candidates.

Voters can choose to mark just one box with ‘1’ next to their favourite candidate. Alternatively – and this is the beauty of the STV system – they can choose to number all boxes from 1 to 11, or anything in between (e.g. marking only 1 to 3, leaving the rest of the boxes empty) thereby ranking the candidates in their preferred order. The important thing to remember here is that political parties don’t matter – only the individual candidate’s abilities matter. Marsaskala Community and Friends has asked all candidates to reply to a list of questions dealing with local issues – hopefully some of you will use these replies to make an informed decision.

How votes are counted

To get elected, a candidate needs a set amount of votes, known as the quota.
The quota is calculated based on the number of empty seats and the number of votes cast. In 2013, the quota for Marsaskala was 720. Given that the number of seats has remained the same (9 seats) but the population of M’Skala has increased, the quota for this election is likely to be higher.

Marsaskala LC election results, 2013

Each voter has one vote. Once the counting has finished, any candidate who has more number ones than the quota is elected. But, rather than ignore extra votes a candidate received after the amount they need to win, these votes move to each voter’s second favourite candidate (this is why four of the councillors have a negative number (in red) in the image above: they were elected, and their ‘extra’ votes transferred to somebody else. If no one reaches the quota, then the people counting the vote remove the least popular candidate. People who voted for them have their votes moved to their second favourite candidate. This process continues until every seat is filled.

How should I vote?

Well, that’s entirely up to you, of course. Start by writing the number 1 next to your preferred candidate, and if you like, go on with the other numbers in the remaining boxes. As mentioned earlier, you can mark just a single vote (1), or put in the top 3, top 5, or rank all candidates from 1 to 11. Your choices will have significant repercussions, particularly if you keep to the spirit of the STV system and vote for the candidates, rather than for a particular party.

Be sure to write numbers like 1, 2, 4 and 7 clearly. If a number is not clearly written, there won’t be an impromptu debate in the counting hall on whether that’s a 1 or a 7; your vote will be considered invalid. Check out this article for examples of errors that might nullify your vote.

And that’s it….

Still confused? If you found the explanation a bit complicated (and even if you found it intuitive but you really like animals) you might find this video helpful.

Lastly, remember to take your voting document with you! No document, no vote.

Sources: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/voting-systems/types-of-voting-system/single-transferable-vote/ and https://www.um.edu.mt/projects/maltaelections/stvsystem

[P.S. A longer version of the ‘Voting in the animal kingdom’ video is available here.]

Update 2: Jerma doublespeak

Well, that’s rather disappointing, to say the least. Following this morning’s Environment and Planning Review Tribunal meeting (more info on the meeting here and more info on the politically appointed EPRT here), developers have been given 30 days to present a method statement aimed at “minimising” damage caused by the Jerma site to Marsaskala’s coastline.

As reported on MaltaToday, “While confirming the legality of an enforcement issued by the Planning Authority against developers in which it decried the state of abandonment of the Jerma site, the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal has modified the notice giving developers more lee-way in addressing the situation.

In its decision, the tribunal insisted that due to the large size of the development, the extent of the damage, and its location on the coast, the original enforcement notice implementing the enforcement notice as originally issued (i.e. removal of the ‘damage’ within 16 days) veered on the impossible.

And that’s it folks. No mention of penalties, no discussion of what measures to mitigate/reduce the damage would be considered to be ‘satisfactory’ by the EPRT; in short, little accountability, if any at all.

To be clear, this is a step forward for Marsaskala residents. At the very least, the irresponsible owners are now obliged to actually propose measures and presumably carry them out eventually, rather than just leaving the site as it is. However, the Tribunal’s change in wording (a good chunk of the 18-page document outlining the decision is dedicated to explaining the difference between ‘mitigation’ and ‘removal’ of the abandoned building) means that developers are NOT obliged to dismantle the building, as the PA originally requested. We’ll keep you updated – more on this next month.

#ħawwadniħanifhmek #wearenotstupid #greedwins #ownerspopthechampagne #30days






Update: Jerma – the end of the line?

In August 2016 the Planning Authority issued an enforcement order against Jerma site owners Jeffrey and Peter Montebello, requiring that the “injury to amenity” be addressed after years of complaints by the local council and residents over the dangerous state of the site.

Two years later, the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal upheld an appeal by the owners and annulled this enforcement order. In the latest twist to the sage, the PA went to court to appeal the decision of the EPRT and won it.

Today, at 13:00, the EPRT will discuss the matter again and hopefully decide in favour of the residents, considering that everyone (including the owners) agrees that Jerma must be demolished.

We’ll keep you updated.

Jerma Public Consultation: will you have your say?

** Deadline 15th March **

Will you take a minute to object to the Jerma proposal in its current form? ALL of us are clearly in favour of demolition of the current dangerous structure – there is no question about that. The point of this objection is to influence what is done with the space left AFTER the demolition.

The monstrous 15-storey development being planned will likely bring some low-paid jobs to the area, which is positive, but it will also harm many who reside in Marsaskala. For those of you who may not be aware, this is proposal PA/04710/18:

Proposed demolition of existing hotel and excavation of site. Proposed construction of two levels of below ground car parking facilities, a chapel, a beach lido with pool consisting of catering facilities (Class 4D) , and a mixed use development consisting of commercial spaces at ground floor (mix of Class 4C, Class 4B and Class 3C) with 12 storeys of overlying residential units (Class 1A) and a 13 storeys high hotel (Class 3B) with roof top restaurant (Class 4D) at penthouse level and outdoors pools. Extension of the landscaped area around Torri San Tumas to create a public park and construction of a Public Open space at ground floor above the proposed parking as an extension of the existing promenade.

Some additional info: there will be a mix of 128 self-catering apartments and 250 5-star rooms. In addition, there will be another 166 residential units. It has been alleged that the residential units have been added to generate money to finance construction of the hotel, because otherwise the development would not be “financially viable”. In other words, it has been said that the owners do not currently have enough capital to independently finance the hotel itself, so the prime waterfront residential units will be sold at (presumably) sky-high prices, in an area originally meant for tourist purposes only.

We now have the opportunity to participate in the Environmental Impact Assessment being carried out. Taking part in this consultation process is important, and quick. Some points you may wish to submit are outlined below. You can do so UP TO THE 15th March, by doing the following:
1) Open a new email
2) Email address: eia.malta@era.org.mt
3) Subject line: Public Consultation re. PA/04710/18
4) Copy some or all of the text underneath the line below
5) Add your name and ID number just underneath

Thank you! The more comments, the better. Feel free to edit the text as you deem fit.


Whilst welcoming the pending demolition of the existing dangerous structure previously known as the Jerma Palace Hotel, I would like to register my concerns regarding the proposal PA/04710/18 as it currently stands, for the following reasons:

  • The proposal is misleading from the start, since the application refers to 12 and 13 storeys, whereas the text in the EIA refers to thirteen storeys (residential units) and 15 storeys (hotel).
  • Residential units: The Jerma area was granted by the Government through an act of parliament to Lafico for tourism purposes only. The inclusion of residential units in the plans, in an area supposedly reserved for tourism-related development only, is a betrayal of the original agreement and will irrevocably harm the area.
  • The site should be rehabilitated to its original natural state – the land should be given back to the public to enjoy, the tower restored and rehabilitated to continue generating sustainable economic activity, and the Jerma area embellished so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come
  • It is unclear whether the tunnel underneath the proposed open space between Jerma and St. Thomas Tower is still being considered. Digging a tunnel may cause structural damage to the tower itself and requires an impact assessment, whereas if a tunnel is no longer an option, the Tower will be transformed into a glorified roundabout. As the PDS itself states: “The presence of St. Thomas Tower and the proximity to the existing residential areas may also cause adverse impacts that hinder their ‘key strategic, long distance views and important vistas at a national and local level’. “
  • Marsaskala was not among the localities identified in the policy regulating high buildings of over 10 storeys. The development should be scaled down to 10 stories or less.
  • Impact assessments:
    No Transport Impact assessment has been carried out (as noted by Transport Malta on the 5th June 2018, who reserved its right to require consultation at a later stage)
    No Social Impact Assessment has been carried out
  • No consultation with residents in the area has been carried out. The Local Council have been asked to vote on very preliminary plans, with no real understanding of the impact that such a huge development will have on the fabric of the area, and on Marsaskala as a whole. They are against the inclusion of residential units, and the proposal has been visibly changed since the last consultation period.
  • Increase in traffic and pollution in the area: This development will severely exacerbate residential traffic in the area, to the detriment of Marsaskala as a whole.
  • St. Thomas Tower will effectively be incorporated into the development and mostly hidden behind the hotel when views from sea level
  • It is not clear from the site plans whether access to the foreshore will be retained, or whether it will be physically possible to access parts of the foreshore where the rubble boundaries seem to touch the shoreline. This is unacceptable; the foreshore belongs to the public, and the boulders currently blocking access (which were placed illegally when Jerma was in operation) should be removed and not retained in the proposal.
  • It is unclear whether the land owners will take responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the public open space in the area – this is not mentioned in the PDS.
  • There will be a substantial shadowing effect on nearby residential properties, depriving residents of sunshine during the morning, affecting both mental health. This may also have an economic impact as investments in solar PV panels or solar heaters will no longer be worthwhile.

Thank you for your time,
Regards































Jerma – what’s in it for you?

This post is the first in a multi-part series about the abandoned, dilapidated Jerma Palace Hotel, and applicant Mr. Charles Cammileri’s proposals to redevelop the site from a 5-storey, 4-star hotel into a massive highrise with residential units spread over 13 floors and the hotel rising to 15 floors.

Throughout the series, we will be extensively referring to official documents available from the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate change’s request for public consultation, which closes on the 15th March. These include the Project Description Statement, and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening report, both publicly available as pdf documents.

This is an opportunity to make an informed choice about the proposal, ensuring that you have your say while basing your actions and opinions on facts. It is also a chance to engage with other residents in a spirit of amicable discussion.

Stay tuned to Marsaskala.org for more.

Jerma site, with St. Thomas Tower in the background


Services for the elderly

The below are services for the elderly provided by the Department for Active Ageing and Community Care (DAACC)​

• Għajnuna fid-Dar (Home Help)
• Servizz ta’ Handyman (Handyman Service)
• Servizz ta’ Kontinenza (Continence Service)
• Telephone Rent Rebate
• Ċentri ta’ Anzjanità Attiva (Active Ageing Centres​)
• Meals on Wheels
• Telecare+
• Night Shelters
• Social Work
• Servizz ta’ Respite (Respite Services)
• Domicilliary Nursing/Caring
• Dementia Intervention Team
• Dementia Activity Centre
• Carer at Home
• Servizz ta’ Ġerjatrija fil-Komunita` (Community Geriatrician Services​​​)
• Respite at Home
• Servizz ta’ Occupational Therapy (Occupational Therapy Service)
• Servizz ta’ Fiżjoterapista (Physiotherapy Service​​)
• Servizz ta’ Podjatrija (Podiatry Service​)

More information about these services can be found at www.activeageing.gov.mt where you will find the full list of services, information about each, and also details about how you can benefit from them.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Exercise is key to good health and an essential feature we need to integrate into our daily life. Four types of exercise: strength training, aerobic training, balancing and stretching are necessary ingredients keeping us active, mobile, and feeling great 1. They do this by helping us achieve a good level of health-related fitness components, namely body composition, cardio-respiratory endurance, flexibility, muscular endurance, strength and power.

Aerobic exercise speeds up our heart rate and breathing, increases our endurance, and is important for many body functions. Regular moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, dancing, or step aerobics will, over the long term, reduce our risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls 1.

Strength training (re)builds our muscle mass; especially important as we age and our muscle mass diminishes. Regular strength training (2x to 3x a week) helps us walk up the stairs, get up off a floor or a chair, carry groceries and heavier objects around the house. Strengthening our muscles makes us stronger, it stimulates bone growth and density, lowers blood sugar, assists with weight control, improves balance and posture, and reduces stress and pain in the lower back and joints 1. Squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and exercises using weights are some examples of strength training.

Stretching our muscles routinely makes them longer and more flexible, thereby increasing our range of motion and reducing our risk for injury. Aging leads to a loss of flexibility in muscles and tendons. Stretching three or four times a week is especially important as we grow older.

Balance exercises are especially important as we age when our vision, our inner ear, and our leg muscles and joints tend to break down. Training our balance (three times a week) can help prevent and reverse these losses. Balance focused exercise include tai chi and yoga.

Why exercise?

Exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health. Current recommendations is to reach a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week for seniors and a minimum of 300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week for children and young adults. For starters a gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended 1. We are more likely to stay on track and avoid injury if we start gently. If we cannot reach these minimum targets, we can still beneft from some activity.

Regular exercise improves our health in various ways:

a. It lowers our risk of developing various chronic diseases including cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers.

b. We develop stronger bones, muscles and joints and have less risk of osteoporosis and falls.

c. Above all, it makes us feel more energetic, less stressed and we sleep better.

d. It boosts our immune system. We recover better from periods of hospitalization or bedrest.

Making Exercise part of our daily life

Integrating exercise into our daily life needs the right mindset and a SMARRT approach. Check first with your doctor before starting out on any program. If you get the all clear, start gradually increasing frequency, time and intensity over time. SMARRT stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic (available resources), relevant (fits within the bigger picture), and time-bound.

Journalling about our exercise schedule, listening to our body carefully and noting how we fare on our exercise schedule help us tailor out adjustments and keeping ourselves accountable. Consult your doctor if in doubt. Looking at past mistakes and learning from them help us grow 2. Journalling also helps us reflect on easy ways to get more steps into our day – like ditching the car or the bus for short distances and going for a walk during our lunch break.

For most of us, moderate intensity exercise is sufficient to improve our overall health. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – alternating low intensity (can easily talk in full sentences) activity with high intensity activity (too breathless to speak in full sentences) will help us squeeze a better workout into a shorter period of time. As long as your doctor has cleared you to safely exercise this way, it can help you lower your blood pressure, lose weight around the middle and maintain muscle mass.

For more information regarding recommendations on physical activity kindly visit the World Health Organisation links:

For young people 5-17 years

For adults 18-64 years :

For adults over 65 years and above

Sports and Leisure Opportunities

Here are some clubs and groups in Marsaskala and elsewhere that can help us in our exercise regimes

Marsaskala Football Club

Marsaskala Girl Guides

Inspire

Diving Centre

Marsaskala Power walks

Marsaskala Sports Club

Klabb tal-Boċċi Marsaskala

Marsaskala Netball team Tel : 21633547

Outdoor Sports Association Tel: 21637428

Cottonera Sports Complex

Ramblers Malta

Nature Trust Malta

Kunsill Malti għall-iSport

Malta Exercise Health & Fitness Association (MEHFA)

Malta Geographical Society

References

1. “The Four most important types of exercise”: Harvard Health Letter January 2017 https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/the-4-most-important-types-of-exercise

2. How to start Exercising and stick to it: Making exercise part of your everyday life”; Helpguide.org: Trusted guided to Mental, emotional and social health. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/how-to-start-exercising-and-stick-to-it.htm/

3. Corbin, C. B. (2016). Concepts of fitness and wellness: A comprehensive lifestyle approach. McGraw Hill.

Waste Collection in Marsaskala

Introduction

We’re proud of our Island Republic, and we want to keep it looking its best.  Litter and incorrectly discarded waste have marred our island’s beauty and several litter ‘hotspots’ are a major source of frustration. Keeping Malta clean is a shared responsibility. It’s time to work together to clean up our Island.

Purpose

  • Clean, attractive streets are a necessity for any livable country, including ours.
  • Malta strives to be a sustainable island with a circular economy that makes responsible use of scarce resources.

Result

  • All of us, on the Maltese Islands, collaborate together and assist in a separating system that includes organic waste;
  • This in turn supports creating resources from waste.
  • In keeping the island clean, we employ efficiency and sustainability.

The better we sort our waste, the more resources we can recover through recycling, and less residual waste translates to less environmental impact.

Methods

While the local councils take care of street cleaning and waste processing, Residents, Visitors and Tourists are responsible for separating and sorting waste for recycling, and keeping the island tidy. More importantly, they are responsible for reducing the amount of waste they generate by avoiding excessive packaging wherever possible.

In order to extract as many resources as possible from our city’s waste, all waste must be sorted (separated) prior to collection. This is more effective and cheaper than sorting it after collection. To make this possible, all of us need to sort our household and commercial waste so that it can be collected separately. This will also help to cut down on litter, which is often the result of waste that has been disposed of incorrectly.

Source:  Recycling and Waste Management

 

Household Waste in Malta: The Basics

In Malta households use three separate waste bags.

  • White bag for organic (including food) waste
  • Grey/green bag for unsoiled and clean paper, plastics, metal, and drink (PPMD) packaging
  • Black bag for all remaining waste (mixed waste)

In reality, after placing organic waste in the organic bin and clean paper and plastic/metal packaging in the recycling bag, few items will need to be thrown away in the black bag.

However, it can take a bit of time to get used to this system! Here are some tips and useful links to get you started:

  1. When you first arrive in a new neighbourhood, visit Waste Serve  to find out when your locality is served, or visit the local council of your community. Take note of which bag is collected when. If you place the wrong bag on the curb side, it will not be collected. Make sure you place your own bags on the pavement in front of your own residence between 6.00 and 7.00 a.m. Do not leave your uncollected bags on the street at the end of the day!
  2. At the core of good waste management are three principles, also known as ‘The three R’s. These are to Reduce, Re-use and Recycle. Through the website Wastetips you can download factsheets with some useful tips on each of these waste management techniques. Resources provides other useful information.
  3. Be a good neighbour and a good sport.
  4. You risk being fined for failing to abide by the rules.

 

Organic waste = White bag   

Bones Flowers Plant trimmings
Cheese Fruit Raw food
Coffee Fruit and vegetable peels Seeds
Cooked food leftovers Fruit and vegetable seeds Soiled newspapers
Dairy products Honey Soiled tissues
Egg shells Icing sugar Sugar
Eggs Leaves Tea bags
Expired food Meat Tea leaves
Fish Pips Vegetables

Collection on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

 

Paper, Plastic, Metal and Drink packaging (PPMD) waste recycling = Grey or Green bag

Card paper Jar lids Plastic bags (clean)
Carton boxes (clean) Juice cartons Plastic bottle
Clean aluminium foil Liquid soaps (clean container) Plastic caps
Clean plastic bags Magazines Plastic containers
Clean takeaway boxes Margarine tubs (clean container) Plastic food packets
Cooking oil bottles Metal caps Shampoo (clean container)
Cosmetic container (clean) Milk cartons Shower gel (clean container)
Detergent bottles (clean container) Newspapers Spray cans (empty)
Detergent Boxes Notebooks Toilet paper rolls
Drink cans Paper Toiletries containers
Food cans Paper bags (clean) Yoghurt container (clean)

Collection in Marsaskala on Tuesday and Friday

Please be sure to put:

  • Only unsoiled paper and carton into your paper bin;
  • All cans, drink packaging and plastic bottles are to be empty, rinsed and clean as are other plastic materials such as bags, and so on.

Please note: glass is collected separately on the first Friday of every month!

Rest Mixed Waste = Black bag

Adhesive tape Hair Stickers
Soiled Aluminium Foil Jablo good items Toothpaste tube
Baking paper Labels Used cleaning materials
Broken ceramics Photographs Used cling film
Dirty food wrappers Nappies Used floor cloths
Cellophane Plant pots Used rubber gloves
Dirty take-away boxes Sanitary items Used sponges
Foil coated packets Shoes Wax paper
Dust Small broken mirrors Wet wipes

Collection in Marsaskala on Monday, Thursday and Saturday

Batteries, bulky refuse, construction waste, hazardous waste and commercial waste are disposed of otherwise.

Civic Amenity sites

Civic Amenity sites cater for the disposal of

  • Furniture, mattresses, carpets and clothing
  • White goods such as fridges, cookers and microwaves
  • Electronics such as computers, monitors, mobile phones, printers, electronic toys and tools
  • Garden waste
  • Edible oil and lubricant oils
  • Batteries, spent bulbs and neon tubes
  • Expired medicines, empty inhalers and used syringes
  • Solvents, chemicals, paint and other hazardous waste
  • Small quantities of household construction waste such as stone and tiles
  • Tyres

For Marsaskala the site at Hal-Far located on Hal-Far Road, close to the ETC Head Office and the site at Luqa located just outside the Marsa Industrial Estate are the two closest ones.

Civic Amenities sites are open from 7.30am – 5.30pm including weekends and public holidays.

For further information please call WasteServ on Freephone number 80072200.

Final Note: We are looking for feedback about the garbage collection scheme in Marsaskala. We kindly invite you to fill in this short survey.

We thank you for your cooperation.