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USA UK and Malta News
04/05/2012 - 20:57

Malta news: Helping the blind

Malta news: Helping the blind - Parkers resisting planned reforms - Decision on Xewkija Lidl postponed - Helping the blind to travel.

Malta news: Helping the blind
Helping the blind to travel
Twelve blind people are undergoing an orientation and mobility course to help them travel safely and effectively – and to help others in their situation – through funds raised in the Strina campaign.The course is being held at the Birkirkara Civic Centre, which was visited by President George Abela yesterday. The course was the brainchild of National Commission Persons with Disability (KNPD) chairman Joe Camilleri, who described the initiative as a great example of collaboration. It is spearheaded by the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation, which accepted to become the lead partner in the initiative. Significant funding was necessary, especially since instructors had to be brought from overseas. But the record amounts collected in the 2011 edition of L-iStrina made it possible. The 12 students taking part in this course, Mr Camilleri explained, are among the most active of blind Maltese, and are all employed. But until now, they relied simply on their own resourcefulness to get around, as their instructor explained. The course, he added, aimed to teach them how to move around in a structured manner, in a way which they themselves can use to teach others.(independent.com.mt) This is a very good thing.

Parkers resisting planned reforms
The government’s proposal to issue tenders for the management of parking areas is being opposed by many of the car park attendants presently operating in them. Car park attendants are represented by the Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin, and the union has been involved in discussions with the government over the planned reform. Nicholas Baldacchino, the UĦM section secretary for the private sector, had noted that these discussions were fruitful, with the government finding solutions to concerns the union had raised. Parking attendants had to wait until last Saturday to be formally informed about what the reform entailed, in a meeting organised by the union. Nevertheless, details had apparently leaked by then, as a parker who contacted this newspaper noted that he and his colleagues were “99% certain” that the reform would involve the issuing of tenders, as the meeting subsequently confirmed. Based on current proposals, tenders would have to be issued every six years, with the current parking attendants given first preference first time round. Presently, tipping car park attendants is voluntary – although complaints of undue pressure on motorists to pay up are numerous. But the reform would involve setting up barriers and a ticketing system, making payment for parking in the sites in question mandatory.(independent.com.mt) In an island like Malta, always wear a big attention to workers.

Decision on Xewkija Lidl postponed
A planning decision for the development of a Lidl Supermarket in Xewkija, Gozo, has been postponed. The decision was deferred to give the applicant time to address a number of traffic management issues within the site and provide better entry and exit access for trailers. The planning report presented to Mepa this morning noted that the supermarket's structure and external car parking area fell within the limits of development, within an area zoned for the acceptance of such uses. But a board member pointed out this morning that while other planning policies for other areas in Gozo listed supermarkets, there was no specific mention of supermarkets for this specific area. This was a point that had to be clarified. Following this morning’s decision, the objectors said they were grateful that the board discussed the traffic management problems presented by the project in detail but they were very disappointed that issues of water management and the need for a retail impact survey were virtually ignored. The application is being opposed by seven environmental NGOs which claimed earlier this week the supermarket was being built on "virgin land" at Xewkija valley, where run-off water from more than a quarter of Gozo collected. The NGOs maintained that if the Environment Planning Board continued to be limited to the letter of the law and technicalities without viewing the bigger picture, which the studies would reveal, there could be no hope for progress as outlined in the National Environment Policy. Lidl is a European discount supermarket chain of German origin that operates around 5,000 stores in more than 17 countries.(timesofmalta.com) All these discussions to a supermarket, still this is ridiculous.

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