Today’s Times tells us that the dilapidated Old Customs verandah in Pieta’ is to be restored and converted. The title gave me much hope. The article sank all such hope into the netherworld of thoughts depressed by Maltese planning. It would seem that the most original idea of conversion of an old customs house standing on the water’s edge is – wait for it – A RESTAURANT. Of course. What was I thinking? What were we all thinking indeed? Pieta’ does need it’s very own restaurant that will be inaugurated by a minister eager to tell us how jobs have been generated in this area, then it will be visited by columnists eager to tell us that the quality of the chow was ok pity about the parking. Ah yes. Parking. In that area sucks as it is. All we needed was a restaurant that will probably screw up the restoration, open for a few months then notice that there is not much business to be done without parking places to support it.
Why didn’t they restore the Bocci Club a bit further up the road, well hidden by the trees and turn THAT into a restaurant. Why isn’t the Customs House turned into a living memory museum of some sort? It was used as a boat house recently can’t that inspire some ideas? Why don’;t they start embellishing Pieta’ by removing the ridiculous billboards that grace the roundabouts in this area? What if the Customs House became a berth for a boat transport network that visited various points in the Greater Harbour region. Combining Pieta’ with Sliema front (more old houses to convert there?), Valletta points and the Three Cities for commuters with a Tube Style Boat system sounds a tiny bit more enticing than another Restaurant doesn’t it?
But then what do I know about Urban Planning and Development? Seriously.