Opposition to the proposal has grown, with a protest by local residents and others adding to the local council’s decision not to endorse the project and its demand to abandon it.
What became evident last week was that addressing local recreational boat ownership. That was a fundamental motivation for the new marina in the first place, was one of three possibilities evaluated by the government. According to local media sources, the three alternatives are as follows:
- New marinas at Marsascala or Xemxija
- More boatyards
- Stopping boat registrations
Ian Borg, Malta’s Infrastructure Minister, revealed the three choices last week. He stated that the new marina in Marsascala Bay option was chosen to keep up with the locals’ increase in recreational boat purchases. This prompted Transport Malta to announce a tender for the projected 700-berth marina in Marsascala two weeks ago.
Both the Marsascala and Xemxija marinas have been planned for at least 15 years. Near March of this year, Transport Malta announced that construction on a new marina for small craft in Xemxija, in St Pauls Bay, would begin. Boats moored at Xmexija were reportedly forced to leave their berths.
The Xemxija marina development came to a standstill in July of this year when the Maltese Public Contracts Review Board found a concession agreement awarded by Transport Malta to be unlawful (PCRB). Transport Malta was judged to have behaved illegally and in violation of the law. Since the invalid declaration, there has been no more discussion.
The Marsascala marina project tender, which was issued earlier this month without consultation with the local council, sparked a surge of resistance, including an emergency meeting of the Marsascala council, which voted against the proposal and demanded that it be removed.