Mistra Bay may finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief. After the long-running battle over the permanent presence of numerous caravans on the beachfront threatened to become an immutable stalemate, police action over the past week appears to have prompted some of the vehicles to leave.
A site visit conducted by The Shift on Tuesday revealed that the only caravans left were parked in white parking spaces in front of Margo’s restaurant, along with some cars along the beach side which were offloading equipment.
Claude Camilleri, the owner of Margo’s restaurant, had sued the authorities for neglecting to adequately address the issue over the past decade.
“After such a long time, it’s good to finally be able to give the authorities credit where credit is due and to get some results for everyone who wants access to this beach,” Camilleri said.
“Quite a few of the caravans were moved further up the road as well, so it seems that enforcement is making a difference,” he added.
Camilleri also seems to have cleared things up with members of the local police force, one of whom had fined him over the way he had parked his motorcycle as well as for vulgar language.
“It takes a great man to do what he did over the weekend,” he said referring to an officer who apologised for his colleague’s behaviour and informed Camilleri that the ticket had been rescinded.”
The police force had also previously told the restaurant owner that there was no space within towing compounds, leaving authorities unable to impound vehicles in breach of regulations.
Last week, The Shift also reported that the police force has stepped up regular patrols in the area, with fines being dished out to vehicles that were not parked in a regular parking space.
Immobile caravans were also slapped with notices informing their owners of the authorities’ intent to tow vehicles by 21 June, while large boulders were put in place to deter vehicle access to the beach.
Although a number of caravans were still occupying most of the white parking spaces in front of Camilleri’s restaurant, police officers had previously told The Shift that as long as it was a mobile vehicle and licence and registration were paid, they were free to do so.
Transport Malta can ask owners to remove vehicles that have been abandoned or do not carry a valid licence and registration. Owners that do not remove their vehicles will have to retrieve them from the towing compound at their own cost.
Mistra Bay isn’t the only area of Malta that has seen caravans take up large tracts of space on various areas of the island’s coastline.
Other locations include Ġnejna Bay, Little Armier and ta’ Fra Ben as well as along the Coast Road, all of which have been flagged in news reports throughout the years.
In spite of caravan owners’ repeated clamours for better areas and more camping sites being made available to them, no concrete solutions have been offered by authorities, with enforcement normally occurring only after reports are filed.