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The Xlendi tower saga

A letter, accompanied by a photograph, which The Times carried on April 14, 2011, expressed frustration at the disgraceful state of Xlendi tower after incomplete restoration. Six days later, Edward Said, the architect engaged to supervise the works, reacted to that letter assuring us that plans were in hand to carry out a full restoration. He did, however, prudently add two caveats: planning permission had to be obtained and funding had to be secured.

This story had started 20 months earlier, in August 2009, when then Parliamentary Secretaries Chris Said and Jason Azzopardi handed over the tower to the joint care of the Munxar council and to Din l-Art Ħelwa.

In October 2011, six months after the letter appeared in The Times and more than two years after the handing over of the tower, a note posted on the DLĦ website announced that “the site is now being restored as a joint venture between DLĦ and the Munxar council, expenses on a 50/50 basis. Medserv is sponsoring DLĦ’s share of the expenses”.

Nearly three and a half years into this saga, the historical tower is in a state sorrier than the accompanying photo can convey. Comparing today’s photo with that of April 2011 one hardly notes any difference in the tower itself or in its surroundings except for two things and these stand out prominently: the usual explanatory plaque and a board. The first claims that this ‘restoration’ is part of the Eco-Gozo project while in the second DLĦ and the local council congratulate themselves on their joint venture.

One would have thought that DLĦ’s idea of restoration precludes incomplete works and mounds of rubble strewn around the site. And, after all, this restoration concerns a single, small tower, not the Cottonera Lines. Is it unreasonable therefore for the public to expect an explanation?

This could be given by Petra Bianchi, DLĦ’s executive president until February 2011 and now head of the Environment Protection Directorate at Mepa.

An explanation by the local council, or anyone else for that matter, will, of course, also be most welcome.

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