The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Deckchairs reappear at water’s edge at Għadira Bay as MTA fails to reply

Julian Bonnici Sunday, 19 August 2018, 10:00 Last update: about 4 months ago

Għadira Bay beach in Mellieħa is once again plagued by endless rows of sun-shades and deckchairs right up to the water’s edge, with photographs sent to The Malta Independent on Sunday showing that the majority are being put in place early in the day, before any requests from beach-goers are made.

This comes more or less a year after the Malta Tourism Authority and Lands Authority clamped down on operators during the summer after a significant number of them were found to be exceeding their boundaries, with media reports quoting beach-goers who were annoyed to find Għadira Bay beach taken up by empty deckchairs at 6.30am.

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The MTA has repeatedly insisted that it carries out regular inspections and supervision on bathing beaches to ensure that operators are not infringing the conditions of their licences or concessions, despite social media and websites such as Trip Advisor showing tourists complaining about popular bays that had been completely taken over by deckchairs and sun-shades which, they said, are also excessively over-priced.

The strong-armed enforcement appeared to have worked, with a number of operators changing their practices to abide by the regulations. This enforcement, however, appears to have gone out of the window at Għadira, with what appears to be little or no reaction from enforcement officers.

Regulations regarding the placing of deckchairs and sun-shades on beaches are governed by the Planning Authority in terms of Class 15 – Beach Management Facilities of Legal Notice 211 of 2016, with permits and enforcement for such facilities being spread between the MTA, the Lands Authority and the Planning Authority.

The MTA has previously told this newsroom that it is responsible for the beach concessions at Għadira Bay regarding a specific area in which the concessionaires are allowed to place sun-shades and deckchairs for hire. This, they said, is monitored by MTA’s enforcement staff daily.

The authority has yet to reply to questions sent regarding this latest development, its current enforcement, and to establish the boundaries set out for the operators.

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