The Malta Business Weekly
Online survey shows overwhelming opposition to Marsascala marina idea
Ninety-three per cent of respondents disagree to a recent online survey for the 700-berth yacht marina proposed for Marsascala Bay by Transport Malta in August 2021.
The opinion survey was organised by Valerie Visanich from the Department of Sociology, University of Malta.
Just over 1,100 valid responses were secured over seven days that the survey was open (from 14 to 21 November). The survey was drawn up using Google Sheets and was circulated digitally in both English and Maltese, mainly via Facebook groups that bring together those residing or with an interest in Marsascala. The survey was also circulated digitally by the Marsascala mayor Mario Calleja via the Marsascala Local Council Facebook page.
The popular concern, disappointment and anger about the marina proposal partly explains the strong respondent turnout in such a short time, as well as the willingness with which no less than 983 respondents took the opportunity to submit comments in the survey, a statement by the organiser said.
Around 70% of the survey respondents (N=729) are
Marsascala full-time residents; while another 8% are seasonal or part-time residents. Around 67% of respondents (N=735) have a tertiary level of education. More women (N=637) than men (N=458) answered the survey and 61% of respondents reported being between 30 and 59 years old (N=671).
The 1,026 respondents, who disagree with a marina, also agree that a yacht marina development would ruin Marsascala.
Comments received say that it would stifle and throttle the only significant open space left in this fast growing locality; lead to pollution of the bay and the destruction of its natural environment, as well as that of Il-Maghluq saline ponds; obliterate the fundamental characteristics of this fishing village; compromise spaces and areas that are currently used by the public for relaxation and swimming; threaten the livelihood of fishermen whose boats navigate in the bay; increase vehicular traffic into the area and compound an already serious traffic and parking situation; destroy the locality’s current aesthetic and cultural appeal to tourists and visitors and eliminate a unique public good for the benefit of a few foreigners.
Other comments were aimed at the manner in which this development was being proposed, without proper consultation with residents and without following the national planning application regime. Still other comments reflect a broad picture approach and criticise the marina as yet one other development that threatens the whole fabric of Marsascala, with references to the AUM project at Zonqor Point, the apartments proposed for the Jerma Palace Hotel site and a fresh water waterpolo pitch inside the bay.
Some of the 55 respondents who agree with the marina development spoke of the economic spinoffs that may accrue to the locality; others felt that the current haphazard layout of berths in the bay needs action and a marina could help to organise berths better; others admitted that they have a marine craft which they would like to berth in the bay.
A more elaborate analysis of the survey responses will be available in the next few weeks.