Restaurant owner Claude Camilleri has been battling far too long to bring peace and quiet to Mistra Bay and has now reached a tipping point as he is considering taking the issue of the mayhem caused by caravans to the courts.
Camilleri, owner of Margo’s Pizzeria in Mistra, has told The Shift that the only step forward would be to take legal action against the unregulated parking of caravans now cluttering the once idyllic bay of Mistra.
“If we decide to move forward with legal action it won’t be for me, but for the sake of the rest of the people who would like to enjoy this area. It will take years to get things done,” he told The Shift.
It’s been a long, hard fought battle, yet Camilleri has had very little success because the authorities simply kept passing him from office to office. He has contacted the Planning Authority, Transport Malta and finally the police to do something about the parked caravans occupying the bay, but to no avail.
“Transport Malta had said they’re dealing with it, but nothing gets done. I spoke to them last year and I’ve now given up. The only way to reach them is by email, and it’s a complete waste of time,” he said.
The Shift has also been trying to contact different law enforcement authorities for weeks, to no avail.
From time to time, the Planning Authority did issue a number of enforcement notices, but when Camilleri saw no results, he was told the Authority does not have enough resources to deal with the caravans.
Emailing Transport Minister Ian Borg proved to be useless, so his last resort was to speak to the police.
When asked if the police were of any help, Camilleri gave a sigh of hopelessness. “I gave up on the police, too. They actually warned me to be careful of the people living in the caravans.”
The Shift has also sent questions to the police, but they remain unanswered at the time of writing.
To put salt to the wound, the police impounded Camilleri’s motorbike and the officer who did the enforcement uttered: “This will teach you to report on caravan owners,” he said.
When contacted by The Shift, the Planning Authority said no action can be taken because the caravans are parked on the road. The spokesperson said the Authority did issue enforcement notices when caravans were parked on the foreshore, but there are no pending enforcement notices for the caravans in Mistra.
“It’s a pity, really, when you consider that Mistra was such a lovely place. This bay is very unique, but I haven’t been able to see it without caravans for years. This is no longer my fight, it’s also the public’s fight. I’d love to bring things back to how they were,” the restaurateur added.
The sprawl of caravans across Maltese bays has been a constant blight in other localities, including Ta’ Fra Ben in Qawra and Marsascala in the area known as Żonqor.
Business owners, such as Camilleri, invest thousands of euro to set up a restaurant with a view, but the lack of proper enforcement is reducing the location’s connection with nature.
Camilleri regularly posts photos of the bay, jam-packed with huge caravans on Facebook. Some owners even place chairs in the gaps between their caravans and block access to the bay.
“Looking at things as they are, and this lack of proper enforcement, gives a sense of impunity,” Camilleri said.