Watch: ‘Disastrous’ Bormla playing field to be rebuilt, but will it last this time?

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Posted by George Ebejer on Sunday, August 23, 2020

A new playing field is set to be developed in the Fuq Verdala area of Bormla by the end of 2021 – if government estimates are any indication. But this expense could well have been avoided if the existing playing field – which is barely a decade old – was properly maintained in the first place.

The playing field bears the name Ġnien Delceppo, and lies on the edge of the Fort Verdala barracks, which presently serve as public housing.

Then-mayor Joseph Scerri had applied to rehabilitate the site back in 2003, and a permit was granted two yars later. The project was completed by 2008, and the Verdala Playing Fields were renamed in honour of Peppi Delceppo, who had played for, captained and coached the city’s football team St George’s FC and who had died in 2006.

The new complex consisted of two 5-a-side football pitches and an office which was subsequently converted into a snack bar, and for a brief period, the area had been regenerated.

But maintenance was sorely lacking, and by 2016, as had reported, Ġnien Delceppo had been transformed into a dumping ground, littered with garbage and even used syringes.

A recent video by area resident George Ebejer highlights that in the last four years, the situation had become even worse. The artificial turf has all been ripped up, and the piles of rubbish have only grown further, particularly inside the former snack bar – where Ebejer did not dare enter.

“Now it’s not just abandoned; it has become disastrous,” Ebejer lamented in his video.

New multi-purpose ground now planned

In his video, Ebejer suggested a boundary wall should enclose the site until it is returned in its former glory, but as it happens, a complete rebuild is in the works.

A development application filed by the Bormla local council’s executive secretary in 2018 seeks the embellishment of the existing playing field “including a new multi-purpose ground, playing equipment, restoration, amendments and replacement of existing railing, the introduction of tables and chairs and maintenance works to an already approved snack bar.” A permit was granted on January 2019.

The site was devolved to the local council in April 2019, and in reply to a parliamentary question by district MP Carm Mifsud Bonnici last March, Local Government Minister José Herrera confirmed that the aim is to complete the project by the end of 2021.

While sent questions to Bormla mayor Alison Zerafa Civelli on the project, no reply was forthcoming.

The biggest question, perhaps, is obvious: will the area be properly maintained this time?