Sta. Lucia’s Chinese Garden badly lacking maintenance

The Chinese Garden, or as its official title goes, the ‘Garden of Serenity’,
was a gift from the Republic of China on July 7th, 1997.

The Santa Lucia local council and its community have every right to feel frustrated and aghast at the near total neglect and abandonment of one small niche of tranquility in their neighbourhoods. The Chinese Garden, or as its official title goes, the ‘Garden of Serenity’, has been fast deteriorating with its typical Chinese architectural designed pavilions and gazebos whilting away, exposed as they are after all these years to nature’s elements.

The garden’s construction way back July 7th, 1997 was a gift from the Republic of China. The public garden is of beautiful design and yet over time, the number of complaints and publicly shared exposing the long overdue cleaning and maintenance required have increased even more.

Although the Sta. Lucia local Council was landed this garden’s donation on its lap, the Mayor Chairmaine St John has lamented to the Maltese language web news portal talk.mt, that maintenance and upkeep costs of this much valued and appreciated public space are far to high to be covered by the locality’s council on its own. Notwithstanding this, the local council has made small interventions while the larger projects the garden needs are taken care of by the central government. Even the Chinese Embassy in Malta has intervened, Mayor St John explained.

  • 'Garden of Serenity': Chinese lantern - Photo by talk.mt

Two water features, a small and a large fountain, are being handled by the Ministry of Public Works and Planning, with the smaller of the two having been completed just a few months ago. The on site electrical system which needs overhaul and replacement is on project the local council is drawing up estimates for, which project shall also include the installation of a CCTV security system. The mayor ass that interventions of sorts will also be undertaken on the apertures pertaining to three of the structures in the garden.

According to talk.mt, the Ministry of Public Works and Planning is assessing what needs to be done and are so conducting their planning accordingly. The Ministry’s spokesperson added that although the Sta. Lucia public garden does not fall within the Ministry’s remit of responsibility, they would be doing all they can to carry out the interventions needed in an effort to repair the existing damage on site.

A €500,000 extension had been promised

Dr. Miriam Dalli, the Energy Minister, whose portfolio also includes responsibility for sustainable development, had pledged a €500,000 regeneration project in July 2021 that will renovate an abandoned section of Santa Lucia’s Chinese Garden for public use. This was to be a Parks Malta project in conjunction with the local council. The initiative, according to Dalli, would provide “a area where local families, children, teens, and the elderly may unwind.”

The construction works were supposed to transform the vacant plot of land into a public space with a pond, playground, and Greek theatre, among other amenities. The architectural design was influenced by Chinese feng shui principles.

The goal of feng shui is to achieve harmony between people and their surroundings. The top and bottom paths of the garden would connect “to highlight the life cycle: birth, youth, middle age, and senior age,” according to a statement released by the ministry at the time. Parks Malta director general Adrian Attard indicated during a press conference at the project site at the time of the announcement that he expected the project to be finished “by 2022.”

A screen grab from a video showing a three-dimensional render of the proposed project.

The news conference had also been attended by Yu Dunhai, the Chinese ambassador to Malta, and other members of the Santa Luija local council. Santa Lucia Mayor Charmaine St. John had stated the initiative will continue to improve the Garden of Serenity as well as nien l-Iskultura. “I’ve wanted this since I became mayor,” she stated.