Ta’ Kola Windmill in Xagħra Gozo is open again to the public after restoration works on the final phase of the windmill’s mechanism reconstruction project, carried out by Heritage Malta. The inauguration of the restoration works carried out in these last three years was held today by the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government, Dr Owen Bonnici, and the Minister for Gozo, Mr Anton Refalo in the presence of the Chief Executive of Heritage Malta, Mr Kenneth Gambin.
The project to restore Ta’ Kola Windmill kicked off after the windmill was damaged in a windstorm in 2008. Laboratory studies were carried out on the woodwork of the damaged vanes and the internal mechanism. After the vanes were removed since they became safety hazard. After close inspection, Heritage Malta came to the conclusion that most of the old wood was in a poor state of conservation and had to be entirely replaced if the windmill had to be functional.
The works consisted of the removal of the old milling mechanism, the installation of the wooden structure which supports the two milling stones and extensive work on the internal mechanism and the wooden cone. The restoration project was completed recently when the antennae of the mill were reinstalled back to their original status. All the works were carried out in house, with Heritage Malta’s own technical expertise.
In his address Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government, Dr Owen Bonnici, said that this project is an exemplary venture bringing together cultural heritage and local communities. The Minister said this project goes hand in hand with other initiatives taken by the government through entities such as Heritage Malta to make museums and site not only accessible to the visitor but also relevant to the surrounding communities. ‘’Similar projects bring out the endemic features and study the cultural fabric of societies recognizing aspects that shape local and national identities. Similar initiatives give also higher value to the environment of the locality making the community and its surrounding more unique. These upgrades affect directly aspects under the remit of local councils and upgrades particular features such as local tourism, environmental issues and planning issues amongst others’’, said Dr Bonnici.
The Minister for Gozo, Mr Anton Refalo, stated that Ta’ Kola Windmill’s restoration and reconstruction project is the latest in a series of projects aimed at preserving Gozo’s unique cultural heritage. He said that this project is in line with the government’s vision to transform Gozo into a unique destination. ‘’The island’s rich cultural and historical heritage is indeed a unique contributor for the island’s tourism product and a major economic resource. Improving the appearance of our island, care for our natural and cultural aspects, respect for our traditions, reawakening of our heritage are part of the Ministry for Gozo strategy’’, said Mr Refalo.
The Chief Executive of Heritage Malta, Mr Kenneth Gambin, said that Ta’ Kola Windmill restoration project is one of the Gozo projects which Heritage Malta embarked on and finalised in recent years. Other projects involved were the extensive conservation and interpretation measures at Ggantija Temples and the transformation of the Folklore Museum in the Citadel into a Historic House.
Mr Gambin thanked Heritage Malta expertise and employees for their efforts to finish successfully the Ta’ Kola Windmill restoration project which was long and unexpectedly difficult. He reiterated that Heritage Malta is presenting back to the public such an important monument, a landmark in the cultural landscape of Xagħra and Gozo.