A new PN councillor in Santa Venera has criticised the former council’s decision to spend almost €20,000 on a steel bus shelter described as an eyesore.

Karl Carabott was shocked when he found out the price of the bus shelter, considering the aesthetics of the final product, and the fact it provides practically no shelter from the sun or rain.

He told Times of Malta: “Considering that it is attached to a UCA building, it isn’t aesthetically pleasing either... But one of my main issues is that when the mayor was asked about how much it cost, he didn’t respond.”

The bus shelter was first discussed on social media platforms when Carabott questioned the then mayor, Stephen Sultana, on whether it cost €18,000. Sultana did not respond at the time.

Many people agreed with Carabott’s point of view, with a fair number commenting that the structure did not provide sufficient shelter from the rain or the sun. Many others called it ugly and one individual said it looked like someone had stolen their garage door.

The tender was awarded to its sole bidder for €19,872.The tender was awarded to its sole bidder for €19,872.

The bus shelter on Triq il-Kbira, San Ġużepp in Santa Venera, cost the local council €19,872 and was installed in the week before the European and local council elections. 

The bus shelter was selected by tender and the sole bidder, George Vella, was awarded the contract in October 2023.

But according to many Santa Venera local councillors, it was only installed during the week before the elections.

Sultana told Times of Malta the cost of the shelter was listed in the tender.

“This was a normal, transparent tendering process,” said Sultana. He added that the award of the tender also had the approval of the other members of the council.

The ex-mayor denied the timing of the bus shelter’s installation was connected with the recent local elections.

Nationalist MP Mark Anthony Sammut uploaded this Facebook post comparing the situation in Sta Venera with Utrecht in the Netherlands, where a much greener bus shelter cost €12,000, paid for by the bus operator.

Sultana said the shelter had to be replaced because it was no longer suitable and had become dangerous. He said a part of it was damaged. 

He added that the size of the shelter had to be changed in view of the number of people who use it.

“We could not ignore the number of commuters using the bus shelter, which is about 74,000 people a year, and let them stay in the sun and the rain,” he said.

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