Ġnien il-Kunsill in Xewkija will become Gozo’s first carbon neutral garden through a project by Project Green and the Xewkija Local Council. The garden will include a wind tree, kinetic flooring, and other innovative renewable energy technologies.
Minister for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise Miriam Dalli, Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri, Xewkija Mayor Hubert Saliba and Project Green CEO Steve Ellul, announced details of the project during a visit to this garden, which will be transformed into an eco-garden powered by renewable energy generated within the same site.
The plans submitted to the Planning Authority propose the regeneration of this 744-square-metre garden into a self-sufficient green open space, with new reservoirs and advanced irrigation systems that reduce water waste, new trees and shrubs, and solar-powered light poles. Project Green and the Local Council will also introduce other renewable energy systems, including a wind tree, which generates electricity through small wind turbines, and kinetic flooring, an innovative technology with surfaces that convert visitors’ kinetic energy into electricity as they walk, work out or run over them.
The garden’s play equipment will be replaced with kinetic jumping pods and spring riders that generate lights and sounds as children play with them. New climbing structures, slides and tunnels that blend in with the garden’s environment, and a balancing trail made of recycling plastic are also included in the garden’s new design.
The garden will also have USB charging stations and benches for persons who visit this open space to work or study. Project Green is also proposing circular benches around some of the garden’s existing trees. Pathways will not be covered in concrete or other impermeable surface but will instead be formed out of mesh and gravel, to increase rainwater absorption.
Minister Miriam Dalli explained that the opening of Malta’s first carbon neutral garden in Kalkara last year was very positively received, and the Environment Ministry and its entities are working to create more of these sustainable open spaces. Minister Clint Camilleri stated that he looks forward to seeing the first eco garden in Gozo.
Xewkija Mayor Hubert Saliba and Project Green CEO Steve Ellul explained that the two entities are making the necessary preparations to complete this project by the end of 2024. The Mayor explained that the application for the required development permits has already been submitted and the public call for the required materials and services will be issued later this year.
Project Green CEO said that the works contract will also include a 10-year maintenance plan, in line with the Agency’s commitment to longer-lasting, properly-maintained green open spaces that can continue to be enjoyed by the community for many years.