Tuesday, June 28, 2005

New Sports Authority up and running, says Beltran

* Bayside multi-sports complex on verge of completion

Minister for Sport Clive Beltran has announced the successful completion of negotiations with the TGWU and other Unions to incorporate all sports facilities into the newly created Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority as from this year.

Meanwhile Mr Beltran announced that a new swimming pool for the elderly and disabled will be built within the GASA site by the end of the year. The pool will be shared with the swimming club over the winter months.

And he confirmed that a site for a new Duke of Edinburgh Award Centre to be constructed in the new Sports Complex at Bayside has been provided.

As regards the authority Mr Beltran said the majority of the Sports Department’s staff has agreed to transfer and the process to recruit new staff is near completion and this will “ensure a quality service for sport continuing into the future.”

Although the authority will have the power to raise income, Mr Beltran confirmed that the normal use of the sports facilities will remain free. The Minister said that “substantial funding” for sports facilities will be provided to resource the GSL Authority and to progress with the extension to sports facilities project at Bayside.

As regards this ambitious project, Mr Beltran said works on the new hockey pitch spectator stands and changing rooms are practically completed and a large amount of infrastructure works in preparation for the subsequent phases of the project have started.

The sports hall, hockey facilities as well as the new administration areas are practically completed and will become operational as soon as the necessary staff recruiting exercise is completed.

Sports facilities available for use will be greatly enhanced with the Bayside Sports Centre hockey facilities, the new sports hall and new squash court.

The newly resurfaced facilities at Westside will also improve the Community Use of Schools Scheme. It is programmed for more of the facilities within the new Bayside complex to come into operation during 2005/2006.

The tenders for the multi-use games area and the Watersport Centre building are in the process of being awarded and the next phase is expected to start before the end of 2005. Government will be providing £1,600,000 for this purpose.

The Authority will also receive a contribution of just over £1,000,000 to meet its expected running expenses.

Meanwhile Gibraltar sports will again participate this year in a number of official international competitions, including the 2005 Island Games in the Shetland Islands and the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006. Government, will be providing £170,000 to enable local sportsmen to represent the Rock.

Queensway tennis Courts and the Stadium’s old sports hall will also be refurbished to the tune of £200,000. Work on the Kings Bastion Leisure Centre will also commence shortly.

Inces Hall Renovation

The Minister also informed the House of the renovation and enhancement works at the Ince’s Hall theatre and the old Key and Anchor premises. A new rehearsal room and workshop directly linked to the theatre’s backstage area has been constructed. Further works will start at Ince’s Hall this year. The theatre itself has had bookings for every week of the year with a wide variety of performances.

GBC Funding

Mr Beltran said that as in previous years the Government will continue to provide financial support to the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation. This year GBC will receive a total of £1,213,000 and a further £200,000 as part of the Improvement and Development Fund.

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