The Environmental Landscapes Consortium
The embellishment of the Maltese Islands has been on everybody's lips for many years now. Politicians, entrepreneurs and every John Citizen hungered for some positive and tangible results in this respect.
It was during 2002 that at long last people started seeing a dramatic improvement in the landscaping and general maintenance of public areas and gardens in Malta. This new development did not just happen by chance. It was the result of a well planned and coordinated effort by the Environmental Landscape Consortium that entered into the first public private partnership with the Government. Professional management, knowhow and retraining of the work force managed to give the much sought after results. For the first time ever approaching the major road intersections and major thoroughfares all over Malta became a pleasure to witness green turf and a blaze of colour which has put our country at par to its European counterparts.
The very visual aspect of the work carried out by the consortium is very evident in the six major projects that were carried out during the first year namely: Blata l-Bajda, Qormi Roundabout, Mellieha Intersection, St. Venera Clover Leaf By-Pass Approach, Floriana Memorial Area and Castille.
The hub for all this management and organisation activities is at Wied Incita where the Ewropa Nursery has been transformed into a modern and efficient production centre for plants, trees and shrubs which will be required for ongoing maintenance work and new projects. Once again this was one of the most difficult tasks to face but in a very short while the Nursery is producing over 1,5 million of plants annually that in a year or two will be adorning our public highways and gardens. One of the more positive elements at Wied Incita Ewropa Nursery is the recycling of the enormous amount of green waste products during the maintenance exercise. Formerly the green waste used to be dumped at Maghtab Landfill but is now being shredded by special machinery and composted and reintegrated with soil either as an additive for compost or as mulch for water conservation. Also at Wied Incita are the centralized offices which are manned by the management group, the field officers and a good number of clerical and organisational staff who were chosen, trained and upgraded from the existing workforce. What has made all this happen so successfully and in such short time is the feeling of unity and pride which from day one was the main ingredient in the magic formula that made the first ever Private Public Partnership with the Malta Government such a success.
However far more reaching than these new projects the system of ongoing maintenance has been reorganised in such a way to give a long lasting effect which is a far cry from what is better known as cleaning-up maintenance that only achieves a momentary impact soon to be lost in time. This means that as maintenance takes place trees which have grown over the years in a stunted and irregular position are being righted up, properly pruned or in extreme cases removed and replaced by new trees. Also the pruning of hedges and shrubbery, in particular centre strips, Oleanders of which Malta sports miles and miles of such specimen are being pruned in such a way to obtain a better shape and a longer flowering period. The accent on proper maintenance has to be the principal aim of the work of the consortium. Whereas the new projects established a benchmark of standards, ongoing maintenance will prove these standards will be maintained and improved as the workforce undergoes better training and become more proud of its achievements.