Amateur fishermen and small boat owners with vessels moored in Gżira have asked what is to become of them and their hobby once MIDI develops Manoel Island.

“If land reclamation goes ahead and the slipway and facilities are removed as is envisaged in MIDI’s plans boat owners will be at a loss as to where they can launch and moor their vessels,” Għaqda Sajjieda Dilettanti Gżira said.

The amateur seafarers said that MIDI’s plans, which include a higher bridge to Manoel Island, a tract of water reserved for yacht yard customers and a third-party lido along part of the shoreline, would all significantly reduce the amount of space available to them and their boats.

They acknowledged that MIDI’s new plans for the site – which were revised following significant protest – were “more attractive” than the original design put forward.

Read: NGO backs calls to revoke Manoel Island project

They would not, however, protect Gżira’s decades-old slipway or the boat owners who use it.

The port of Gzira will also lose over 100 mooring points,” the group warned, saying the “famously attractive” boats that had “fascinated locals and tourists” for generations would disappear.

“The members of Għaqda Sajjieda Dilettanti Gżira have strong emotional and psychological ties to the sea. Their way of life is under severe threath from this development. Proposed changes are expected to cause trauma and grief for a lot of fishermen and small boat owners,” they warned.

Għaqda Sajjieda Dilettanti Gżira represents common people who do not deserve to be treated with such disrespect by the wealthy and powerful,” they said, arguing that MIDI had never made any plans for them.

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