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Govt sets out Laguna plans after Hassan Nahon raises questions

An announcement on the enhancement of the Laguna Youth Club, adventure playground and other facilities is imminent, the Gibraltar Government said yesterday, after the issue was highlighted by Independent MP Marlene Hassan-Nahon.

The Independent MP issued a statement claiming that recent evidence such as ground sampling for construction outside the Youth Club indicates that works are imminent.

But, she said, parents have yet to be told, if the grounds will be struck off, when, for how long, and if alternative provisions have already been thought of and will be made for the users.

“The Laguna Youth Club is a fantastic tool for children and teenagers in the area who benefit enormously from the activities provided there, as well as, to relieve working parents who depend on this service in the hours their children need supervision while they are still at work,” Mrs Hassan Nahon said.

“In line with this Government’s manifesto promise to relocate St. Martin’s School adjacent to Notre Dame School, it seems that this could be the area indicated for this commitment, but nevertheless, parents deserve to be informed as to what will be happening with this location before finding out through holes in the ground and engineers milling around the area.”

“Furthermore, it goes without saying that there is no doubt as to the highest of priorities that must be given to the new building for St. Martin’s School, but the fear is that if the Laguna youth facilities are not planned for during this overhaul, the domino effect could be problematic, at least, in the short term, while locations are being rejigged.”

Mrs Hassan Nahon has therefore called on the Government to make clear to residents what the plans are for the area moving forward, as soon as possible.

But the Government claimed that Mrs Hassan Nahon’s concerns are premature and added that the public in general, and, in particular, the residents of the Laguna area and the school children who use the facilities will soon have all the relevant information.

In a statement, it explained that before plans can be confirmed, site investigations are essential, as otherwise Government cannot verify that what it expect to announce can be delivered.

It would be irresponsible to prepare plans without checking the sites to ensure that they are viable, it said, adding that the site investigations have been done openly and for all to see.

“They should not come as a surprise and certainly should not be a cause for concern, quite the contrary,” the statement said, adding that the facilities would be modernised and updated to the standard expected in a modern European city.

“In fact, similar investigations are being carried out in different parts of Gibraltar in relation to the Government’s wide-ranging plans for Education and beyond.”

The Minister for Education, Dr John Cortes said: “These site investigations are a sign of good news to come for the regular users of the youth club facilities.”

“We will make a more detailed announcement as soon as we are able to do so and have no doubt that it will be very welcome by the users and their families.”

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