Popular swimming area larger than two football grounds set for Fortina Group

When Minister Silvio Schembri announced the project, he neglected to mention its sheer size.


A popular rocky beach in Tigne stands to be lost to swimmers, with the government giving the Fortina Group an area at sea larger than two football grounds for the hoteliers to develop into a private yacht marina to accompany their hotel and lido.

The Shift can report that the latest deal negotiated behind closed doors between Lands Minister Silvio Schembri and the Fortina Group’s owners will encompass roughly 16,000 square metres of the sea for pontoons to be installed.

In his announcement of the investment, Minister Schembri omitted information on the size of the sea area to be given to the Zammit Tabonas, the owners of the Fortina Group.

The government will also give Fortina an additional 504 square meters of land, which will include reclaiming part of the foreshore, to be added onto the other 1,400 square metres the lido already occupies.

The 65-year concession comes with an annual fee of €5.63 per square metre, or only €90,000 a year, which will be revised according to inflation after 30 years.

Industry sources told The Shift that the annual rent is easily recouped, considering the thousands of euros boat owners pay for berthing facilities.

The sheer size of the concession’s area, in red

The government has also conceded to the Fortina’s owners the possibility to enter into a management agreement with third parties to manage both the lido and the marina on their behalf, allowing the company to trade in public assets and further increase profits.

The government will now take the deal to parliament to seek its approval, although this is expected to be a mere formality since only a simple majority vote will be required.

Minister Schembri recently hyped up the development as an investment by the hoteliers in the regeneration of the lido, which the Fortina Group has held by public concession since 1991.

The Group received the Planning Authority’s permission to increase the size and rebuild the lido in 2019, but a development application has not yet been submitted for the newly proposed addition of the 40-berth yacht marina and ancillary facilities.

While the government is insisting the marina will only be temporary, with the pontoons having to be dismantled during the winter months, The Shift is informed there is no mention of this crucial detail in the draft deed.

While Minister Schembri keeps the deal’s fine details to a bare minimum, hundreds of swimmers who frequent the zone have voiced opposition to the deal.

They have taken particular aim at how the government insists the sea will remain accessible to the public while ignoring the fact that it will no longer be a viable swimming zone because of factors common to all marinas, such as fuel spillage and effluents.

Fortina Group’s spokesperson has not replied to questions on the number of pontoons and boats to be berthed at the new yacht marina, whether the required permits are in hand and or details about how and when the installed pontoons will be removed every winter.

The marina development could also tie in favourably with the nearby Captain Morgan Cruises business, another branch of the Fortina Group.

Concessions for yacht marinas are generally awarded following a public call from Transport Malta. This has not been the case in Tigne’, where the government appears to be disguising the marina development as part of the hotel’s lido extension.


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Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

At this rate, ordinary citizens will only have their home bath to swim in!!!!
Another corrupt practice in the making.
Let’s see what holistic improvement is awaiting Comino.

Last edited 1 month ago by Francis Said

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