Minister announces fifth date for opening of Gozo sports centre

The Gozo Ministry has announced that the new multi-million euro Olympic-sized swimming pool and sports complex will open later this year, the fifth deadline since the project started seven years ago.

During his latest visit to the construction site last week, to which the media were not invited, Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri toured the works and announced, through a press statement, “As we announced last year, we will be keeping our promise to open the pool later on this year.”

The project was first mentioned in 2012, with construction work starting in 2017 with an initial budget of €9 million. In the meantime, local athletes have been forced to use alternative facilities for seven years while the severely delayed and overbudget project continues.

Minister Camilleri discussing the latest delays on the pool project

The project has been subject to many different completion dates over the years, including five from Camilleri alone.

In 2020, when he took over from disgraced former Gozo minister Justyne Caruana, Camilleri announced it would be completed in 2021.

But as the date came and went with no complex in sight, Camilleri told former Nationalist Party MP Joe Ellis that it was in the last stages of construction and would be ready by October 2022.

Once again, this deadline was missed, and a new deadline was set for October 2023.

Again, the deadline was missed, and when Nationalist Party MP Alex Borg asked the minister what was going on, Clint Camilleri said the pool would open by June 2024.

However, this date is also expected to be missed following Camilleri’s comment that it would be finished “later on this year”.

But the delays in opening date are not the only issue as the project is expected to have gone significantly over budget.

Through a tender awarded to PoliExcel Ltd – a joint venture between Gozo construction magnate Joseph Portelli and his Maltese counterpart, Charles Polidano, known as Ic-Caqnu, the project was estimated to cost €9 million.

However, payments made by the ministry until the middle of 2023 had already reached €13 million with no completion date in sight.

Sources close to the ministry calculate that the pool may cost nearly €20 million, more than double its original budget.

All major infrastructure projects under the Gozo Ministry during the last decade have been severely delayed, costing multiple times the initial estimate.

                           

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3 Comments
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makjavel
makjavel
1 month ago

And these have the gal to mention Mater Dei Hospital. These havn’t completed anything that deserves the name of a building. The only thing they have completed is their bank account target.

Nigel Baker
Nigel Baker
1 month ago

20 million euros for a medium-sized complex with limited sporting facilities and zero dedicated parking arrangements. I think something went wrong somewhere over the last few years but, of course, giving money away is no problem to the Maltese government.

D M Briffa
D M Briffa
1 month ago

I look forward to the announcement of the sixth date for the opening. Will it be 2025 or 2026?

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