Tista’ taqra bil-
The Planning Authority has refused to give its blessing to the Malta Sailing Federation’s plans to build an “Olympic training base” on largely-undeveloped land at Mistra Bay, with the planning commission dealing with ODZ applications unanimously giving its thumbs-down.
The project had been endorsed by both Sport Malta and by the Malta Olympic Committee, but was opposed by the Mellieħa Local Council and by the Environment and Resources Authority. An objection was also filed by NGO Din l-Art Ħelwa, one of no less than 1,500 objections the NGO filed last year.
The assigned case officer also recommended refusal, citing many of the concerns made by the objectors as he did so: the project was ultimately deemed to fall foul of planning policy.
A decision on the relevant planning application had been scheduled to take place in January, but it was postponed at the federation’s request, with its architect Christopher Micallef insisting that the project was justified as it was in the national interest.
The MSF said that it hoped the new facilities would help improve the fortunes of Malta’s sailing athletes in the upcoming Olympic Games, stating that it firmly believed in the country’s potential to challenge for Olympic medals in the sport. It insisted that Mistra Bay was the only site in which a suitable sailing base could be set up in short order, and emphasised that the project was meant to be temporary, until 2028 Olympic Games.
The federation did not elaborate on any plans beyond that date.
As it postponed its decision, the planning commission asked the federation to submit more information from Sports Malta to back its national interest claim. No such documents have been made publicly available – though private correspondence may have been sent – but in any case, the planning commission was not persuaded to change its mind on the project.
Its minutes highlight simply that the application was rejected unanimously in the presence of the architect on Tuesday morning.