Clyde Puli launches Marsa project

Wednesday, August 3, 2011, 6:00

Clyde Puli

A call for an expression of interest has been issued regarding the Marsa Sports Village for which private investors are being asked to develop sports and commercial facilities at the Marsa sports grounds.

Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sports Clyde Puli yesterday morning launched the Marsa project from which 44 sports entities and 10,000 people will be benefiting.

The sports village is planned to give better facilities to people who already use the grounds while improving prospects for collaboration between sports entities, and also to enhance competition and sports tourism.

It was a more toned down launch than that which took place on 9 June last year when it was Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi who had announced a €200 million project for a sports and leisure village at Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq.

Since then, however, there has been total silence on the White Rocks development, with the government hiding behind phrases such as “negotiations are still ongoing”, leading to serious doubts whether the project is still on the agenda. These negotiations were supposed to have been concluded last December.

The secretariat for sports insists that the White Rocks complex is still very much on the government’s mind, but its reluctance to speak about the negotiations over such a long period of time – this newspaper and its Sunday sister have been chasing the government for details on the matter since April – does not augur well for its conclusion.

The government has taken a more cautious approach on the development at Marsa, announcing a call for an expression of interest rather than a fully-fledged programme as had happened last year with the White Rocks complex.

The plan is for the Marsa project to take place on some 812,000 square metres of public land and the chosen investor, following a public expression, will be obliged to make all the necessary investment for the project to materialise while being held responsible for the operational and maintenance expenses of the complex.

An extension to the grounds is planned and a stretch of 62,127 square metres in bare land will be added to the 750,000 square metres at the Marsa sports grounds.

A hotel may be built on site while horse stables and other commercial facilities will also be made available. The total footprint to be built should not exceed 7.2% of the land which will be leased for a maximum of 65 years.

This business model means fewer costs for the government while increasing income from sports tourism and employment. The sports community also tends to benefit from facilities of international level and professional administration without having to carry financial burdens.

Mr Puli pointed out that 41,000 bed nights, double that of 2009, were generated by sports tourism last year as a result of the government scheme to help sports entities organise competitions, training camps and seminars on the island. Such activity is estimated to have generated €2.4 million in revenue for Malta.

In a bid to ease scepticism, Mr Puli gave an assurance that the Marsa sports facilities will not be subject to commercial pressure.

“We are guaranteeing that the facilities will primarily be available for Maltese athletes and organisations,” Mr Puli said. “Time slots allocated to local organisations have in fact been planned with these associations”.

The developer is also being asked to provide open spaces, free of charge, for recreational purposes of individuals, including a track for walking, running and cycling.

The expression of interest obliges investors to complete sports facilities within two years after development permits are issued; the whole project would have to be completed within four years of having obtained the permits.

Several sports disciplines including equestrian sports, rugby pitches, and a golf academy will be provided at the Marsa Sports Village.

There will also be areas for horse dressage & show jumping. Multi purpose turf pitches will include rugby, baseball, cricket and football.

An archery field together with a golf academy and an extension of the present golf course into a championship course are also in the plan.

Its objective is to holistically cater for the various sports already practised there and others as a result of more efficient uses of the grounds.

In reply to questions by The Malta Independent on plans for development of the White Rocks, Mr Puli said the government remains committed to develop the White Rocks Sport & Leisure Village. The Marsa Sport Village mostly caters for different sport activities from those of the White Rocks Project.

Source The Malta Independent

1 Comment

  1. Anthony De Bono says:

    In my tenure as Secretary General of the Malta Racing Club (2000 – 2008) the Council of Administration in close coordination with top notch Architects had presented a plan to Government not to the extent that is being announced by Hon Clyde Puli – Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Education. This is even a more ambitious project and hopefully it gets planned and executed in the shortest time possible. However it is very odd to propose such a magnificent project which should indeed have a profound and indepth study of all ramifications before a decision is made to enter the bidding game and expect a letter of intent in such a short span of time. the two aspects are at variance and clarifications are indeed in order by the Parliamentary Secretary or his team of experts. The recent announcement of the resignation by the Chairman of the Malta Racing Club Dr Matthew Brincat needs also some elaboration considering the good work done by Dr Brincat and his great enthusiasm for this sports. Obviously i am looking only at Horse Racing and I am sure that the MAAA will not hasten to make further input to this note if at all necessary….


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