The Marsascala Residents Network (MRN) has called on the Prime Minister to afford the locality’s bay, which was recently under threat from a prospective marina development, the same protection status that he recently announced for Hondoq ir-Rummien in Gozo.
The MRN congratulated Qala Mayor Paul Buttigieg for his “hard work, resilience and persistence” that were crucial to saving Ħondoq ir-Rummien, and for “defending the principle that public land and sea belong to the public and are to be enjoyed by the public”.
Along those lines, the MRN today penned an open letter to Robert Abela asking him to permanently exclude the use of Marsascala Bay as a marina and to commence a similar process to safeguard and protect the bay for posterity as he has for Hondoq ir-Rummien.
After an appeals court recently confirmed an Environment and Planning Review Tribunal decision to reject an appeal filed by Hondoq ir-Rummien’s once-prospective developer, Abela pledged that the government would begin enacting changes to planning laws to ensure Hondoq ir-Rummien will never be developed.
Now Marsascala residents are asking for a process “in the same spirit” to be undertaken to amend planning laws for Marsascala Bay so that it could never be designated as a location for a marina.
Back on 23 February 2022 in the run-up to the general election, Abela promised Marsascala residents that the concept had been completely scrapped.
They are now asking him to give “permanent peace of mind to all those who hold the bay close to their hearts” by taking similar steps as are being planned for Hondoq ir-Rummien for Marsascala.
According to the MRN, a yacht marina would pollute the bay and compromise the quality of the brackish water of il-Maghluq, a Natura 2000 site that supports the protected national fish, the Mediterranean killifish (búzaqq), and a species of eel in danger of extinction.
The pollution, coupled with a marina’s infrastructure, would lead to the destruction of the bay’s posidonia oceanica pastures, which are also a protected habitat.
Apart from altering the fabric of Marsascala residents’ lives – since that most of their personal, social, sporting and cultural activities take place around the bay and on its surrounding promenade – a marina would also stand to threaten the town’s economic activities related to fishing and especially those related to fishing and coastal tourism.