[WATCH] ‘Green space’ projects planned for 12 localities

Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg says embellishment projects will balance out the construction drive • Sirens to get new water polo pitch

The Sirens water polo pitch is in a disastrous state but plans for a €2.6 million regeneration are in hand
The Sirens water polo pitch is in a disastrous state but plans for a €2.6 million regeneration are in hand
Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg says planning funds will be used for 'green spaces' projects in 12 localities

A total of 22 projects are planned to enhance “green spaces” as part of government’s drive to balance out the construction frenzy, Ian Borg said.

The Infrastructure Minister said €4 million will be invested in the projects that will be carried out in 12 localities. The money will come from the Planning Authority’s development planning fund.

"These green space projects will balance out the increasing development that, while helpful, needs to be sustainable," Borg said. 

He noted that the decision was the result of pressure put on government by local councils to embellish regions across the island.

"The many planning permits for hotels, residences and complexes may be a cause of inconvenience, so this fund will motivate positive projects that will balance out heavy infrastructure and create green spaces," Borg said. 

He was speaking at the Sirens Aquatic Club in St Paul's Bay that will too see a major regeneration thanks to the planning fund.

The regeneration of the Sirens water polo club include a new pool, an indoor pool and a gymnasium for a total investment of €2.6 million. Of these, €2.2 million will be granted by the planning fund. 

John Farrugia, vice-president of the club said that the Sirens water polo pool had previously been the largest swimming pool after the national pool. 

The water polo pitch at Sirens was badly damaged by stormy weather
The water polo pitch at Sirens was badly damaged by stormy weather

"This is the largest swimming club, with 350 persons in the Sirens nursery," he said, adding that the pool has now been in a state of decay for quite some time. 

Chairperson of the planning and development fund, Vince Cassar, said this is the first time that the fund was contributing to a project related to sports. 

"We have opened the way for organisations that aren't local councils to submit their proposals to apply for funds," he said, adding that this was also the first time that a contract was being signed with a private entity, a sports club, rather than a local council. 

Cassar announced that the fund still had €29 million in available funds and he encouraged entities to apply for funding.

The fund promotes improvement and embellishment works in urban areas, such as landscaping, traffic management and other urban projects which are considered beneficial to the wider community. 

Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, Chris Agius, Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government, Silvio Paris, and Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, Clifton Grima, also attended.

The contract between the fund and the Sirens Aquatic Sports Club was signed on site. 

Cheques were also distributed to the local councils of Birkirkara, Attard, Dingli, Hamrun, Marsaxlokk, Mosta, Pembroke, St Julian's, Sannat, Santa Lucia, Siggiewi, and Sliema for their respective projects.

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