The Malta Business Weekly

Online survey shows overwhelmi­ng opposition to Marsascala marina idea

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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.

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