Ramblers’ opinion on proposals for commercialisation of sports facilities

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Ramblers' opinion on proposals for commercialisation of sports facilitiesThe Ramblers' Association of Malta has expressed its opinion regarding the proposed White Paper for the Commercialisation of Sports Facilities.

In its submission the Ramblers' Association of Malta said that it appreciates that Sports in general will be better served should its facilities be as economically self-sufficient as possible, if not totally viable financially. "No efforts should be spared in obtaining the position of financial sustainability for sport through the commercialisation of its existing and potential facilities."

It added that, "however care must be taken that such sustainability through commercialisation will not come about at the cost of negative impacts on the urban, rural and natural environment. Attention has to be given that:"

a) "Existing facilities are improved without the need of expanding footprint, by planning for maximisation of use of existing areas and use of basement areas for expansion for commercialisation purposes. Contextual height limitation should be enforced.

b) Additional areas for new facilities for commercialisation purposes should not come at the expense of ODZ and the coastline. Disturbed areas in ODZ should in no way be used as excuse for such development.

c) Any additional development to increase or ameliorate facilities for commercialisation purposes can be promoted in degenerated areas especially where they can improve the condition of such areas, as long as disruption and inconvenience are not caused, and they do not pose risk to historic/heritage sites

d) Betterment and commercialisation are bound to improve participation and thus increase the need for parking and/or transport facilities. Disturbance of residential areas through noise, parking, traffic, etc should be avoided at all costs by the utilisation of underground space beneath football grounds, tennis courts and the like for parking, gym and entertainment areas.

e) Consideration that noise, light and air pollution will not result from such commercialisation. Physical body sport will not normally pose risk in this direction but attempts at racing circuits should be refused outright as our islands are too small and therefore susceptible for unhealthy effects deriving therefrom.

f) Hostels and similar residential homes for sporting purposes do not fit into the scheme of such commercialisation considering the small size of the island where hostels/hotels are never far apart. Malta has reached saturation point as far as tourist accommodation is concerned and further development in this direction will only aggravate congestions of all sorts. Moreover this will invite abuse and more nibbling into ODZ."

The Ramblers' Association of Malta concluded by saying that "these and other similar consideration need to be taken at the tendering stages so that any call for applications makes clear what must be avoided and what is not acceptable. With the issue of tenders it should be made clear that development on ODZ land is not admissible and that speculation will not be considered."

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