More than a year after it was planned to be completed, the Valletta ditch public garden was inaugurated by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in a ceremony on Monday.

“This place was once a neglected car park with poor accessibility, lacking in light and security. It has now been transformed into a place where families can spend time together, a positive example of urban greenery, and a new tourist attraction uniquely surrounded by the Valletta bastions,” Dr Muscat said.

The regeneration of the capital, he said, had unlocked new possibility for public spaces around the city, which had yet to reach its full potential.

The €5 million Lapparelli Garden, named after the architect who designed Valletta, represents the final piece of the puzzle for the nearly decade-long regeneration of the capital city entrance.

The regeneration has also included the new City Gate and Parliament building, as well as the restored Triton Fountain and square.

Originally planned as part of the City Gate project, the garden was shelved soon after the Labour Party was elected to government in 2013.

It was then revived by the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation in 2016, planned to be finished before the start of the Valletta 2018 programme for the European Capital of Culture, before further delays pushed completion first to July and then to January.

The new garden is accessible by a lift from City Gate and a staircase from the Parliament building, as well as the end of the ditch on Great Siege Road.

Surrounded on all sides by the Valletta bastions, it includes open spaces, benches and green landscaping.

Speaker Anġlu Farrugia, tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, parliamentary secretary for Valletta Deo Debattista, and GHRC chairman Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi were also present for the opening.

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