Sliema residents are planning a protest tomorrow against the “concrete monster” being built at Exiles, a project replacing the old aquatic centre.

But for Andrew Paris, Exiles Sports Club president, the protest is “premature” because the project is “half-baked” and is expected to be completed by the beginning of July.

When contacted, Mr Paris said enforcement officers from the Malta Environment and Planning Authority were regularly checking the work, which was being built according to permit conditions.

The permit was issued earlier this year following unanimous approval by the Mepa board. The project, which does not exceed the height of the previous structure, is more voluminous because it includes new facilities for the waterpolo club, such as office space and a multipurpose room that can be used as a gymnasium for Exiles waterpolo players.

It also includes a restaurant, which can remain open all year round rather than just in the summer, shower facilities and dressing rooms. The lido, once finished, will be accessible to the disabled.

Mr Paris said a larger aquatic sports centre was necessary to replace the previous one built when the club had just 28 member families. Now, member families number more than 150 with more than 100 youngsters regularly attending waterpolo and swimming training sessions.

“When the project is finished, people will realise it has been vastly embellished compared to how it was before,” Mr Paris said.

The protest is being organised through the social networking site Facebook to protest against the “new building emerging from a monstrous concrete platform being built right at the water’s edge, with a two-storey building being built that is even an eyesore from Spinola Bay”.

“Come and protest against this gruesome greed that is harming our beloved environment and let’s at least try to put an end to it,” organiser Christopher Vella said in an invitation posted on Facebook.

The protest, “at one of Malta’s most iconic leisure locations”, will be held tomorrow at 3 p.m.

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