Plans to construct a marina at Marsascala bay sparked anger in the community, as preliminary drawings published with a call for tenders show popular recreational areas along the coast could possibly be swept away by yachts and pontoons.

After the initial news sparked outrage on social media, residents who spoke to Times of Malta expressed anger and frustration that a major project for the locality was in the works without seeking feedback from those who would have to live with the impact of such a development for years to come.

Marvice Attard Gialanze said she was “irritated by the atrocity”.

“Even the preliminary plans are way over the top but we know how this will pan out, they first announce a giant project and ‘concede’ to a smaller footprint,” she said.

“Marsascala has experienced a building boom, where zoning laws no longer apply and parking issues are rampant. Streets have gone from having houses and maisonettes to six-storey blocks.”

'Parking problems to intensify'

She said that plans for a marina would inevitably bring about worse parking problems for the locality.

“We already have huge problems, even our cycle lanes were taken over.”

Attard Gialanze added that the introduction of pontoons all over the bay would eat up precious recreational space enjoyed by residents.

“A marina will ruin the quality of the sea. We already face slime from nearby fish farms but a marina will be the death knell to our bay,” she complained.

“There are hardly any open spaces in the urban area, just the new park in Nwadar, Munxar, at St Thomas Bay and the sterile family park near the recycling plant. A lot of our points of recreation are in the bay.”

A life-long resident and recreational boat-owner, Ryan did not think it was necessary to take up more space to organise the moorings in the bay.

“Personally, I don’t agree that we have to take up other parts of the bay to have a marina. I think it should be more than enough if we regulate and fix up the part already in use,” he told Times of Malta.

“If the breakwater was strengthened and the berths organised from that point inward, it should suffice. People do not swim there, anyway. And I know boat-owners like myself would be more at ease knowing there was better organisation.”

“For hobbyists and fishermen, I think it’s more important to have facilities and safety like CCTV. Presently, it’s quite messy. There is barely a fairway and it is difficult to manoeuvre in and out of the berth. But there is no need to touch the bays. There should be space for everyone to enjoy themselves at sea.”

'Bay the last bit of open space left'

Eleanor Magro agreed that overdevelopment in the locality would be impacted by a marina.

“In the last 10 years, buildings have mushroomed in every corner and there is a lot of neglect as the local council cannot meet the demands of 25,000 to 30,000 residents given its limited resources, let alone if you throw a marina into the mix,” she said.

“The bay is the last bit of open space left. They built the local council offices in a public garden.

“They took part of the school parking lot to build a police station and they took part of the bay to build a waterpolo pitch because we sold the one we had to foreigners, not to mention the fact that our yearly festa fireworks will have to be stopped as they are let off from the sea,” she continued.

Transport Malta said on Sunday there were no final plans in place for the marina and that the tendering process was still in its early stages.

The regulator said once a shortlist of contenders had been drawn up, more extensive studies and processes would be held, including consultation with locals.

Plans for a marina in Marsascala had been in place in the local plans drawn up in 2006, it said.

The local council will be holding an emergency meeting on Monday evening to discuss plans for the marina.

Deputy mayor Janice Falzon and minority leader John Baptist Camilleri oppose the project, as does district MP Jean Claude Micallef.

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