The Opposition has temporarily blocked the government’s intention to give an area at sea the size of two football grounds that is a popular swimming zone adjacent to a rocky beach in Tigne’ to the owners of the Fortina Hotel to turn it into a yacht marina – at a bargain price.
Economy Minister Silvio Schembri on Wednesday presented a parliamentary motion proposing to award close to 16,000 square metres of the sea in front of the Fortina Lido to the hotel’s owners, the Zammit Tabonas.
The Nationalist Party objected and voted against the motion.
Dismissing arguments from PN MPs Darren Carabott, Graham Bencini and Rebekah Borg to the effect that granting the sea area to private interests would deprive residents and other frequent users of the zone of a popular swimming zone, Minister Schembri insisted that, “no one uses the area to swim” and that this was “a passageway for yachts”.
Contradicting the minister’s assertion, PN MP Graham Bencini, who lives close by, said the allocated zone was a very popular swimming zone, particularly with residents.
PN MP Darren Carabott said the sudden decision to give the area to the Zammit Tabonas did not form part of the government’s recent masterplan for Tigne’.
The decision goes against the government’s rhetoric in favour of more open spaces for the public, Carabott added.
He said the PN had also been insisting on the need for a national policy on berths and seacraft anchorages, which have been entirely ignored by the government.
PN MP Rebekah Borg said the PN wanted the area to remain open to Sliema residents and the public, as opposed to it being given to private interests.
Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield accused the PN of opposing the project because of the involvement of members of the late Robert Arrigo’s family. PN MPs objected, accusing him of disrespecting a former colleague who recently passed away.
Arrigo’s family has nothing to do with the ownership of the Fortina Group.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, presiding over the committee, said that since there was no unanimity over this motion in the National Audit Office Accounts Committee, it would be presented to the plenary, where a simple majority would be needed to give away the public asset.
Only a few days ago, The Shift revealed plans, kept hidden by Minister Silvio Schembri, that apart from 504 square metres of public land to the Fortina to enlarge its private lido, it inserted another 16,000 square metres of the sea to give the Zammit Tabonas the right to build a yacht marina hosting at least 40 yachts.
The sea area is being given to the Fortina owners for 65 years at just €5.63 per square metre.
Heqq, Malta taghna lkoll hux !!!
Government to force motion through despite objections from residents THIS is what we voted for- THIS is what we get. Abstainers cannot whinge; by not voting you let the MLP in through the back door. Now sit back and enjoy it.
The Sliema Council Leader Mr. Pillow should go up Kastilja and give the PM a piece of his mind, and take all of Santa Liena with him.
Glenn Beddingfield, as usual, has reached the lowest of the low by involving the late Robert Arrigo who had absolutely nothing to do with the project. Beddingfield has no respect for anyone. He is a waste of precious space.
Mela l ewwel Abela b hafna shows tah gieh ir Repubblika lil Arrigo issa jzeffnuh fin nofs.Ipokriti kollox falz
Heqq Malta tal ftit (hbieb tal hbieb) kif jghid FREDU SANT HUX veru FRED? MONEY TALKS SHAME
Ghaxar snin renju tal-mafja. Mill-but tal-poplu ghal bwiet tal-privat u tal-partit. Fil-kamp tal-energija, sptarijiet, art pubbliku u issa anki l-bahar taghna.