The Malta Independent 24 March 2019, Sunday

Birzebbuga Aquatic Sports Club

Malta Independent Sunday, 29 July 2007, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

I refer to a letter by Ms Bonnici and, as one of the residents involved and also as a club member, I feel the urgent need to answer, and incidentally also have some questions of my own to ask.

Should the writer fail to know, I would like to inform her that some residents living opposite the pitch had, in the past, contributed towards the club and therefore they too would like to see the pitch as it used to be in its heyday.

Please note that in 2001, I was appointed to chair a steering committee to help the committee of that time to revamp the club due to the dire structural and financial situation it was in.

During our steering committee’s term in office, which only lasted eight months as we were asked to resign by the club’s president, we were in the final stages of closing two deals of the many on our agenda. One was the cleaning of the pitch, which was approved by Jesmond Mugliett then Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Sport, which was estimated to cost Lm10,000; it was cancelled due to our being compelled to resign.

The other was a cash sponsorship of another Lm10,000 by an entrepreneur to go towards the water polo team. The sponsorship was withdrawn following a letter in the newspaper, which stated that the Birzebbuga Water Polo Club was not taking part in the winter’s championship tournament. Also during that period, the majority of the players were transferred. So I ask. Does anyone think that it is not in our interest to keep water polo alive, or is it because someone else maybe has his own ulterior motives not to have Birzebbuga with its own water polo team like it had in the past?

Five years have passed since then. What has been done? Has the pitch been cleaned or structural improvements carried out, or has the situation been left to deteriorate on purpose? Was the water polo team formed? Are the club’ assets (as at 15 Sept 2002 with value of Lm7398.16 on the inventory given to members) still in the club’s possession? If not, who is liable for all this illegality? Are we still going to praise the so-called committee members and defend them as if they were heroes? What about the summer school of two years ago? How clever the so-called administrators were when the income from this activity reads Lm618 while the expenditure was Lm1,107. A loss of Lm489.

If the club made a loss of Lm489 on the children’s summer school, what would the figure be for the competitive team?

In her letter Ms Bonnici stated that the committee is being attacked because they are not accepting memberships. If, in her own words, no one can enrol members when the club can give nothing in return, may I ask, how come this week we received the renewal notice to pay Lm2? How is it that now, the club expects to be in a position to give us members something in return when all access to the club including the pitch is closed and with the entire structural damage that has been done to the clubhouse?

I would now like to put a pertinent question myself. How can the Malta Sports Council (Kunsill Malti Ghal li Sport) and the Lands Department permit all this when most of the clauses imposed in the lease contract were breached? How can they let some people walk free? How can the ASA, with which the club is affiliated, permit the majority of the club’s statute not being honoured, including the clause that specifies clearly that membership must be paid before the start of an AGM? How can one close an eye when no AGM has been held for three consecutive years? This in itself is already enough to make the present so-called committee illegitimate and irregular.

Now let me come to the substance of the issue. I, who am one of the residents mentioned by your writer, condemn all the false rumours that are being widely spread, including the petitions being circulated that us residents living in front of the pitch are against the BASC project. We are only against a kiosk to be built above street level, a construction that was not in the original plans as it is now being shown. Neither the Birzebbuga local council nor the Lands Department have plans with the intended kiosk above street level. We do wish and would really like to see the pitch back to its original functional state, not being downsized as proposed and to be used truly for aquatic sports. Regretfully, the latter is not the case. It is only proposed as a commercial Lido with sun beds, deckchairs and umbrellas and not for water sports.

Why are the promoters giving locals misleading information? Do we Birzebbuga residents deserve to be treated like this?

What is implied by the writer’s opinion that most of those living in front of the pitch are summer residents? Please note that the residents mentioned all own their property and although they are only summer residents, they can live there permanently without interference. That is why they are objecting to the kiosk.

If, on the contrary, we accept Ms Bonnici’s argument that being summer residents doesn’t entitle them to object to any development that obstructs their houses, what we should point out, and it is right that this fact be known, that the so-called president, secretary and a member of the Birzebbuga Aquatic Sports Club are not registered Birzebbuga residents. Is it fair to use two weights and two measures?

As regards the political party mentioned, I would like to inform your readers that the residents living in front of the pitch and others living in the environs who are also objecting to the development of the kiosk, agreed that this issue be brought to the attention of Alternattiva Demokratika, the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister. To date, only Alternattiva Demokratika has gone public on the issue.

To conclude, I would like to reassure the writer again and all your readers that we, the residents who live in front of the pitch together with all those who really love the water sport, would like to see the Birzebbuga Aquatic Sports Club as a truly water sports complex and a true jewel of water sport in the South. The only thing we don’t like to see is this pitch being transformed into a lido where water sports will be abolished, and object only to the construction of the kiosk.

Charles Caruana


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