Balluta Bay private jetty would constitute complete takeover of private interests over public ones

Balluta Bay private jetty would constitute complete takeover of private interests over public ones

The St. Julian’s Local Council and 11 NGOs are urging the Planning Commission to unequivocally reject the application for a private jetty in Balluta Bay that would serve a hop-on hop-off tourist service run by the Fortina owners. The application will be decided during a sitting at the Planning Authority on Monday 3rd February at 9:30am and the public is encouraged to attend in order to make its concerns heard. Residents of the area have already expressed their total opposition to this project in a public activity last November.

The St. Julian’s Local Council has also written to the Lands Authority categorically objecting to any concession by the Lands Authority of the seabed and/or the sea. It stated that the sea and the foreshore are designated as public domain according to the Civil Code and are consequently subject to the obligations of having them preserved both in substance and form.

Should this application be accepted by the Planning Commission, Balluta Bay would be transformed into a berthing place for Fortina’s private ferry. This private activity would dominate and pollute this small and important bay as well as pose a constant danger to bathers and swimmers. Balluta Bay would thus suffer the same fate as the Ferries in Sliema, where this same company took over the largest part of the shore for its private ferries.

This project also raises serious concerns about its environmental impact on the seabed and on water quality, especially because the application is being submitted in a piecemeal fashion. While this hop-on hop-off service will eventually include a route along the coast and different berthing spots, the application that will be discussed on Monday concerns only one berthing spot at Balluta Bay. Thus, it is impossible to assess the project’s impacts holistically. We also ask whether a wave motion analysis has been carried out to assess how this new jetty will impact currents and sea conditions around the bay.

The construction of a private jetty in Balluta Bay goes contrary to the Local Plan for the area which does not identify that site for berthing facilities. It is bizarre that the case officer is recommending the application for approval on the basis that it encourages “…transport by ferry boat as an alternative mode of transport…” This ferry is, most obviously, not an alternative means of transport since it is neither a public form of transportation nor will it shift any commuting from the land to the sea. It is simply a private ferry that provides an additional service to tourists, from which only Fortina will profit.

It is outrageous that, after having already commercialised every inch of land in that area, suffocating residents and visitors alike, speculators now want to fully commercialise also its sea and its coast. It would be totally unacceptable to have another commercial activity in Balluta that denies the public’s enjoyment of this popular bathing spot and damages the natural environment. This would constitute the complete takeover of private interests over public ones.

Local Council: St. Julian’s
NGOs: Archaeological Society of Malta, Attard Residents Environment Network (AREN), Bicycle Advocacy Group, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Futur Ambjent Wieħed, Isles of the Left, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta and Ramblers’ Malta


Stqarrija Konġunta għall-Istampa 01/02/2020

Moll privat fil-Bajja tal-Balluta jkun ifisser li l-interessi privati qed dejjem jiġu qabel dawk pubbliċi

Il-Kunsill Lokali ta’ San Ġiljan u 11-il Organizzazzjonijiet Nongovernattivi qed iħeġġu lill-Kumissjoni tal-Ippjanar sabiex tirrifjuta, mingħajr kundizzjonijiet, l-applikazzjoni għal moll privat fil-Bajja tal-Balluta li ser joffri servizz turistiku “hop-on hop-off” immexxi mis-sidien tal-Fortina. L-applikazzjoni se tiġi deċiża waqt seduta fl-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar nhar it-Tnejn, 3 ta’ Frar fid-9.30am u l-pubbliku qed jiġi mħeġġeġ jattendi sabiex iwassal it-tħassib tiegħu. Ir-residenti taż-żona diġà esprimew l-oppożizzjoni totali tagħhom għal dan il-proġett waqt attività pubblika f’Novembru li għadda.

Il-Kunsill Lokali ta’ San Ġiljan kiteb ukoll lill-Awtorità tal-Artijiet sabiex joġġezzjona b’mod kategoriku għal kwalunkwe għoti tal-qiegħ tal-baħar u/jew tal-baħar mill-Awtorità tal-Artijiet. Il-Kunsill iddikjara li l-baħar u l-kosta huma deżinjati bħala dominju pubbliku skont il-Kodiċi Ċivili u għalhekk huma soġġetti għall-obbligu li jiġu ppreżervati kemm fis-sustanza kif ukoll fil-forma.

Jekk il-Kumissjoni tal-Ippjanar tilqa’ din l-applikazzjoni, il-Bajja tal-Balluta se tiġi ttrasformata f’moll għad-dgħajjes privati tal-Fortina. Din l-attività privata se tiddomina u tniġġeż din il-bajja ċkejkna u importanti, kif ukoll toħloq periklu kostanti għall-għawwiema. Il-Bajja tal-Balluta b’hekk tispiċċa bħaż-żona tal-Ferries f’Tas-Sliema, fejn l-istess kumpanija ħadet l-ikbar parti tax-xatt għad-dgħajjes privati tagħha.

Dan il-proġett iqajjem ukoll tħassib serju dwar l-impatt ambjentali fuq il-qiegħ tal-baħar u fuq il-kwalità tal-ilma, speċjalment minħabba l-fatt li l-applikazzjoni qed tiġi ppreżentata biċċa biċċa. Filwaqt li dan is-servizz ta’ “hop-on hop-off” se jinkludi rotta tul il-kosta u postijiet differenti għall-irmiġġ, l-applikazzjoni li se tiġi diskussa nhar it-Tnejn tikkonċerna biss post ta’ rmiġġ wieħed fil-Balluta. Għalhekk huwa impossibbli li jiġu vvalutati l-impatti tal-proġett b’mod olistiku. Nistaqsu wkoll jekk saritx analiżi taċ-ċaqliq tal-mewġ sabiex jiġi vvalutat x’impatt se jkollu dan il-moll fuq il-kurrenti u l-kundizzjonijiet tal-baħar madwar il-bajja.

Il-kostruzzjoni ta’ moll privat fil-Bajja tal-Balluta tmur kontra l-Pjan Lokali taż-żona li ma jidentifikax is-sit tal-Balluta bħala żona għall-faċilitajiet ta’ rmiġġ. Huwa tassew stramb li l-case officer qed jirrakkomanda li l-applikazzjoni tiġi approvata abbażi tal-fatt li tinkoraġġixxi “…t-trasport bid-dgħajsa bħala mezz alternattiv ta’ trasport…”. Dan is-servizz, ovvjament, mhuwiex mezz ta’ trasport alternattiv minħabba li mhuwiex la forma ta’ trasport pubbliku, u lanqas ser ibiddel l-ivvjaġġar lejn il-post tax-xogħol u lura mill-art għal fuq il-baħar. Dan huwa biss katamaran privat li jipprovdi servizz addizzjonali għat-turisti u li minnu se jagħmlu profitt biss il-Fortina.

Tal-mistħija kif, wara li diġà kkumerċjalizzaw iż-żona kollha, pulzier b’pulzier, u fgaw lir-residenti u lil min iżur iż-żona, l-ispekulaturi issa jridu jaħtfu wkoll il-baħar u l-kosta. Huwa totalment inaċċettabbli li fil-Balluta jkun hemm attività kummerċjali oħra li ċċaħħad lill-pubbliku mit-tgawdija ta’ dan il-post popolari għall-għawm u tagħmel ħsara lill-ambjent naturali. Dan ikun ifisser li l-interessi privati qed dejjem jiġu qabel dawk pubbliċi.

Kunsill Lokali: San Ġiljan
NGOs: Archaeological Society of Malta, Attard Residents Environment Network (AREN), Bicycle Advocacy Group, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Futur Ambjent Wieħed, Isles of the Left, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta u Ramblers’ Malta