Dingli college’s sports complex ‘excessive and unjustifiable’

A proposed sports complex around the St Nicholas School in Dingli, has been described as “excessive and unjustifiable” by the Environment and Resources authority

The site includes numerous trees, some of which are protected, and the majority of the fields in the area are still being cultivated
The site includes numerous trees, some of which are protected, and the majority of the fields in the area are still being cultivated

A proposed sports complex around the St Nicholas School in Dingli, which is set to occupy 22,000sq.m of agricultural land, has been described as “excessive and unjustifiable” by the Environment and Resources authority.

The site includes numerous trees, some of which are protected, and the majority of the fields in the area are still being cultivated. “The construction of the sports facility would lead to the loss of valuable agricultural land and further intensify the presence of built structures in this ODZ site resulting in the loss of rural character of the area,” the ERA said.

The authority questioned the justification of the new sports complex due to the other sport complex facilities already present in the vicinity of the site, including the St Nicholas primary school, Savio Collage, the Dingli Swallows football ground, and the Ta’ Qali national stadium itself.

The Environment Protection Directorate – ERA’s predecessor – had already expressed its concern on the development of the existing school which was approved in 2016. One of its main concerns was the “overall incompatibility with the rural character of the area”. In addition, the EPD had already expressed concern on pressures for further commitment of sites beyond the school’s boundary in form of extensions, parking facilities and playgrounds.

The facilities will cater both for the school and the wider community, a spokesperson for the government’s Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools told MaltaToday last month.

Students attending this school already have access to limited sports facilities consisting of an outdoor sports ground and an indoor space used for physical education lessons.

The new school facilities will include a sports hall with an inside court which can be used for various sports disciplines, an indoor swimming pool for waterpolo, two basketball courts, two five-a-side football pitches and a 200m athletics track. The proposed extension also includes offices built over 520sq.m.

The environmental impact of the new development will be mitigated by reconstructing random rubble walls and the landscaping of the surrounding area through the planting of a number of indigenous trees and shrubs.

St Nicholas College receives 650 children from the localities across Attard, Mgarr, Rabat and Dingli.

The school itself had been approved in 2015, instead of an already existing old building.

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