Marsascala residents are receiving phone calls from pollsters asking for their voting preferences alongside their views on a controversial marina and other projects planned for the area.

It comes as Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, an MP on the district, last week came out against Transport Malta’s draft plans, saying any undeveloped areas should remain “as is”.

The poll is being carried out by university statistician Vincent Marmara, who runs polls for the Labour Party and government entities, among other clients.

Asked who the survey was being conducted for, he declined to comment, citing client confidentiality.

The survey asks residents to rank possible projects in the town from one to 10. 

These include a revamp of the former Jerma Hotel, a green project in Żonqor, a general sprucing up of the locality and whether they are favour of the proposal to develop a yacht marina in the town. 

The pollsters then ask residents how they voted in the last general election and how they plan on voting this time around. 

'Mark it down as zero'

Marsascala resident Jacquelin Rotin said she had received a call for the survey as recently as Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m against the marina, so I told them I would not be in favour,” she told Times of Malta

Another resident, Joe Cauchi, said he too had been asked to rank the marina proposal and told the pollsters he was headset against it. 

“I told them to mark it down as zero,” he said.   Objectors to the project believe plans for a Marsascala yacht marina will ruin the bay

Draft plans for the yacht marina were made public in August when Transport Malta published a pre-qualification document that suggested most of the bay would be taken up by pontoons and yacht facilities.

Since then, residents of the area have held regular protests against the proposal.

Last week, residents, fishermen, feast enthusiasts and environmentalists gathered to protest plans for the marina, along with members of the local council

Prime Minister Robert Abela, Transport Minister Ian Borg, and Fearne have all weighed in on the matter in recent days. 

Fearne, who is also health minister and will contest the next election on the Marsascala district, said last week that the undeveloped area around the town’s bay should remain unchanged while the berthing area should be reorganised, taking into consideration the locality’s traditions as well as those who have moorings in the area.

Borg, who is politically responsible for the project, has suggested that public opposition to the plans are part of a Nationalist Party candidate’s bid to get elected on the district.

However, he later said that he agreed with Fearne.

Abela, on the other hand, said that Fearne’s position mirrored what he had said all along. He also said that he would listen to residents’ views on the matter.

“The main principle has always been that we will listen to what residents have to say. Residents’ voice is sacrosanct to us as a government,” the prime minister said. 

The Labour Party did not respond to questions.

A Nationalist Party spokes­person, meanwhile, said that the PN did not need a survey on Marsascala.

This, he said, was because the party had been “speaking to residents from day one thanks to our minority leader John Baptist Camilleri who has done an incredible job at understanding and representing the needs of residents”.

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