In a new move to try and balance supply and demand for boat berths in Malta, a new plan which was initially put forward last year is now trying to be implemented on Kalkara Creek in Grand Harbour.
The plan follows attempts by Transport Malta earlier this year to develop a 700-berth marina in Marsascala in the southeastern part of the island. The project was seemingly launched without consulting local authorities and was subsequently abandoned after much opposition.
The Kalkara Creek proposal focuses on making more efficient use of the water area. The plan includes the installation of some 330 mooring buoys in an orderly pattern. The berths would occupy an area of 35,000m² in the Creek bordered by the Triq Sally Port and Triq ix-Xatt .
The Creek already has a 173-berth marina which extends over a 21,000m² area. Under the 2021 plan, the new buoys would provide mooring for 90 boats under 6m (20ft), 80 for boats between 6m-8m (20ft-26ft) and 161 for yachts between 8m-10m (26ft-33ft) and a maximum width of 7m.
The plan has inevitably generated opposition, especially from some of the fishermen who moor their boats in the Creek. The local council, however, which initially doubted the plan has more recently come out in favour of it. The Maltese government has confirmed that its plans do not include any expansion of the existing marina.
Also the Maltese Environment Minister, Miriam Dalli has indicated that the plans for the Creek and the new mooring buoys will not have an negative impact on the local environment.
“I have been informed that there won’t be an extension of the marina, so I understand the existing marina will remain in the perimeter it is now,” Minister Dalli told the Times of Malta. “There will be a reorganisation of the mooring site that is there now, so I do not see any negative impact as a result of this, as we are not extending what there is.”
Kalkara Mayor Wayne Aquilina was also quoted in the paper as saying: “We agree [with the plan] and, yes, I will use the words of the minister, we are comfortable with the reorganisation of the mooring. We are in favour of stopping abuse, we are in favour of a project which helps Kalkara’s environment and safeguards those who have a boat in the marina.”
The local council being in favour of the new mooring plan represents a change of heart on its part as it had previously submitted a lengthy objection to the plan.