Times of Malta, 14th October 2008 –

Heritage Malta said yesterday that the installation of temporary shelters over Ħagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples had entered its final stage and should be completed by the end of the year.

The agency was reacting to media reports which said that the project was facing delays.

“The installation of the two temporary shelters remains on track for completion by the end of this year. At no point has Heritage Malta been informed that some of the EU funds will be lost for this project as erroneously alleged in reports,” the agency said.

“All the equipment and parts have been shipped over to Malta and have been transferred on site,” it said.

Heritage Malta said the visitors’ centre being built on part of the present-day car-park will welcome its first visitors in the second trimester of 2009 as planned.

Meanwhile, measures to manage water runoff on the surrounding landscape were only medium-term since the designs may only be finalised and submitted for approval on the basis of at least one season of monitoring after the completion of the shelters, and are being treated as a separate application by Mepa, it said.

“Heritage Malta is endeavouring to limit to a minimum the number of days when these two Unesco World Heritage Sites are to be kept closed to the public. At present, visitors are still allowed partial access to the two sites as a safe area has been set up inside the two temples.”

Visitors may ring staff on site on 2142 4231 for updates regarding site access.