An extension to the Marsa Sports Complex including eight squash courts and a weightlifting hall meant to be finished in time for the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) starting on Sunday 28 May is still being under construction, making it the third sports project that remains unfinished by tomorrow’s deadline.
The promised weightlifting hall and squash courts formed part of a €5.2 million investment announced in 2019, along with a tennis complex in Pembroke, which also remains unfinished.
The project, which later ballooned to €9 million, forms part of a larger investment costing €37.3 million that is undertaken by SportMalta and which falls within Education and Sports Minister Clifton Grima’s portfolio.
This is the third time that Malta will be hosting the small nations games, which will run this year between 28 May and 3 June. The games will involve 10 disciplines, nine nations and around a thousand athletes.
Plans for the project (PA/5600/19) show that it was meant to include the publicised weightlifting hall, six singles squash courts, two doubles squash courts an administration block along with a restaurant and parking spaces, all within a three-storey complex.
The plans for both the Marsa Sports Complex extension and the Pembroke Tennis Complex were both announced in April 2019, with SportMalta CEO Mark Cutajar pledging they would be finished in time for use in the 2023 GSSE.
In June 2020, the facilities were re-announced as part of a larger €9 million project involving the restoration of the nearby ‘1903’ building (PA/2118/20).
A site visit by The Shift reveals that construction of the project is still in its infancy, with groundwork and foundations still being laid on Saturday 27 May, a day before the start of the games.
The Shift reported on Thursday how a €2.9 million Tennis Court Complex in Pembroke, also promised to be finished in time for the GSSE, is nowhere near completion.
That project consisted of six tennis courts and a car park, along with the construction of offices, a lounge, storerooms and facilities. A site visit by The Shift confirms that only initial works have been completed.
Earlier in May, The Shift reported how an aquatic sports centre in Gozo costing €16 million, which is €7 million over budget, also completely missed its 2021 deadline and will similarly not be used for the small nations’ games as planned.
With the small nations games right around the corner, it remains to be seen what ad-hoc solutions the Maltese government will resort to in an attempt to accommodate and host the games given that at least three of the planned complexes are nowhere near finished, with the government seemingly stacking more plates than it could handle.