The Ministry for Gozo and the Priests of the Order of Friars Minor have reached an agreement so that Villa Lauri in Birkirkara is made into accommodation for students and families of Gozitan patients. During a press conference, it was said that the agreement was for 15 years, and there would be space for 33 people.
Minister Justyne Caruana described the project as an ambitious one, speaking of the importance of helping students and the families of patients recovering in hospital. Caruana explained the Ministry will be speaking to the University of Malta regarding students to ensure that only those most in need, or in emergency situations are referred there. She insisted that she does not wish to see students labelled if they use the place, explaining that emergency situations include when a landlord gives students a week’s notice for renovation work, among others.
‘The project is planned to finish in 2020’ – Architect
The Architect present at the press conference explained that there are already plans for the place, as well as the necessary tenders having been put out, and the application will be decided on by the Planning Authority in the coming weeks. He said that once approved, work will be starting on site so the project can be concluded by the beginning of next year.
It was explained that there might be the need for a number of interventions, as there are condemned ceilings. The Architect also said that the residence will be wheel-chair accessible, as well as having emergency stairs. He also said that the residence will include a number of studio apartments with beds, bathrooms, and kitchens. Other rooms which are simply a bed then have a common kitchen area.
‘This property will be available to people who need it’
Fr. Richard Stanley Grech explained the history of the site to Newsbook.com.mt. He said that the original place was bought by Fr. Alessju of the Order and was used for different reasons. More recently, the place was given to the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) and used for a number of years. Fr. Grech explained that the place returned to the Province yet they did not have the means to renovate it.