Breakwater to protect St Julian’s Bay not a priority for government
The government is prepared to support water polo clubs that were damaged by last weekend’s storm, but at present is not considering the idea of building a breakwater to protect St Julian’s Bay, a spokesman said. With plans for a breakwater to be built at Marsaxlokk, St Julian’s Bay is not a priority for the government in view of the financial burden it would entail.
Over the weekend, the San Giljan Aquatic Sports Club was completely destroyed in a heavy north-east storm that hit the islands, while the Exiles Sports Club was also severely damaged. Both clubs are situated on the bay, with the San Giljan club facing the open sea directly and always having to deal with problems when a storm hits from the north-east, while Exiles are located right at the tip of the bay.
Another club, Sliema ASC, was also heavily damaged in the storm. The Malta Independent spoke with the presidents of all three clubs, who all said that the storm had caused heavy damage to their premises. While San Giljan was the worst affected, so much so that the damage is so far inestimable, Exiles and Sliema were also not spared by the rough seas.
Contacted by this newsroom, a spokesman for Parliamentary Secretary for Sport Chris Agius said the government has asked water polo clubs affected by last weekend’s north-eastern storm to calculate the cost of damages suffered, and will be supporting them to “continue to function as normal.”
This newsroom also asked whether the Parliamentary Secretary for Sport would be assisting the clubs in view of the fact that these clubs run on a voluntary basis, that they promote physical activity – of importance while Malta remains the fattest of EU countries, and lastly their activities are in line with the government’s commitment to place to promote sports among the public.
In response, a spokesperson said: “The situation for most clubs situated in locations facing open seas is evidently challenging. The Parliamentary Secretary has personally spoken to most of the water polo clubs affected this weekend and asked them to perform an assessment of damages suffered. The clubs are analyzing the costs and we will support them to continue functioning as normal.”
Asked about the possibility of a breakwater being installed in order to shelter clubs such as San Giljan and Exiles, the spokesperson said:
“As a government, we have already identified the project of a breakwater at Marsamxett harbour, which obviously comes at an enormous cost, and so other similar projects will have to be considered at a later stage.”
Asked whether the Finance Ministry is considering helping out through the Good Causes Fund, a spokesman for the ministry said “each application is treated on its own merit based on the published criteria of the Good Causes Fund and that the ministry cannot pronounce itself before any application is received, reviewed and processed.”