Private jetty project will further commercialize the overdeveloped area, says Mayor

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Swimming zones are for boats not to enter rather than for swimmers to remain within the lines as swimmers cannot be pigeonholed, stated the Mayor of St Julian’s Albert Buttigieg.

Buttigieg was reacting to the news that Fortina Investments brand new ferries will not enter any swimming zones in Balluta Bay nor will the landing place be placed anywhere near the sandy beach in Balluta. The company also said that no ticket booths be set up along the St Julian’s promenade.

In his comments with Newsbook.com.mt the Mayor of St Julians said that the Fortina Investments failed to mention that all current policies underline that the whole of Balluta Bay is a swimming zone and not a port for a 33-meter long catamaran. Buttigieg also said that the vessels are expected to enter and exit the bay 22 times, as stated in their application.

Albert Buttigieg also stated that such project will further commercialize the area which is already overdeveloped.

“During the last Labour Party fund raising marathon, Captain Morgan offered a hefty donation to the Labour Party. Scratch my back so that I can grant you a permit?” asked Mayor Albert Buttigieg.

Regarding the ticket booths which Fortina investments said will not be set up along the St Julian’s promenade, Buttigieg stated that yes, they will not apply but will their subsidy companies apply?

Back in February this year, St. Julian’s Mayor expressed his serious concern regarding the application to build a ferry pontoon on the Balluta, St Julian’s seashore. He stated that the manner in which the application was being treated is giving rise to suspicions of “behind-the-scenes negotiations by the wealthy and powerful developers”.

Buttigieg had stated that the application clearly violates planning policy, and yet it is not being refused immediately. Furthermore, he had explained how the St Julian’s Local Council has been struggling against developers even taking over parking spaces and pavements. Some had already started applying for permits for ticketing booths blocking the promenade, to service the ferry. 

The following month, the Planning Authority had given the green light to Fortina’s private jetty service in Balluta Bay.