Inauguration of new service for access by sea between the Grand Harbour and Esplora
Prime Minister Robert Abela has inaugurated a new sea transport service from the Grand Harbour to Esplora as part of a full restoration project for the Kalkara waterfront close to the Centre for Interactive Sciences, carried out through a 2.5 million euro investment from national funds.
During the inauguration, the Prime Minister described the project as one that weaves together innovation, infrastructure and the environment.
“Once again, we are witnessing land that had been derelict and in a dangerous state being transformed into a space for the relaxation by families. This project is part of our vision for the environmental sector, as its function will also be linking up with our efforts as Government, as reflected in the National Transport Strategy plan, to reduce pollution whilst continuing to boost the marine sector. This project accordingly reflects our vision for the country. An innovative Malta with an infrastructure it deserves and which operates projects respecting our historical heritage and the environment,” the Prime Minister added.
Dr Abela also spoke about how this project is just part of another series of projects on which is being carried out in Cottonera and the surrounding areas.
Minister for Equality, Research and Innovation Owen Bonnici expressed his satisfaction at seeing this iconic zone restored and being handed back to the public in a way that fully respects the authenticity and unique historic value of the locality. Dr Bonnici praised the initiative of the Malta Council for Science and Technology, MCST, and explained that through this work the council went beyond its main duties and embarked on the challenge of this project to the benefit of the whole community.
The Minister explained that the Project for the Rehabilitation of the Esplora Waterfront now provides safe access to the public all along the Kalkara waterfront up to the Cot Lift.
In his speech, MCST Executive Chairman Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando described the rehabilitation of the waterfront near Esplora as “the latest acquisition by the Malta Council for Science and Technology in its continuous efforts to convert the Bight Peninsula into a National Scientific Centre.”
The speaker added that over the course of the past years, efforts by the Council have focused on the restoration and rehabilitation of Villa Bighi and the setting up of Esplora.
“Esplora was declared a flagship project for Malta by the European Commission and is considered one of the leading Interactive Centres for Science in Europe. Preparatory work has now started on the rehabilitation of the rest of the coast around the peninsula and the creation of a passageway that will link up Kalkara with Rinella Bay. Our next main project is the setting up of a high-level experience focusing on natural history – EsploraNatura – on the eastern side of Bight, leading to the creation of a unique complex in the Mediterranean,” Dr Pullicino Orlando stated.
The land area between Esplora and Kalkara Valley had been in an abandoned and dangerous state, reclaimed land with lots of rocks strewn on it since the end of the 40s and 50s. This meant the sea was constantly eroding this rocky area.
The Bight Cot Lift, which is of great historic value, has also been restored. Historically, the Cot Lift had been used to carry injured or sick patients on stretchers directly from sea level up to what had been the Bighi Naval Hospital. The lift has been replaced with a modern one that conforms to today’s standards, and the surrounding tower has undergone extensive restoration. Visitors arriving at the new Esplora jetty can now gain access to Esplora directly through this iconic lift.