The Malta Independent 8 April 2020, Wednesday

Moviment Graffitti files application for preservation of Balluta Bay

Saturday, 22 February 2020, 10:45 Last update: about 3 months ago

Activist group Moviment Graffitti has filed an application with the Lands Authority to manage Balluta Bay, in a bid to ward off the commercialisation of this public space and keep it permanently accessible and safe to bathers and the community.

The application states the group’s intention to retain Balluta bay as a space for “public recreational activities including citizen science, social and community activities and ecological monitoring activities," the group said in a statement.

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“This application is necessary because we cannot allow further take-up of public bays from private interests,” said a spokesperson for Moviment Graffitti. “At the moment, there is a pending planning application for a private ferry pontoon to be installed right in the middle of this popular bathing zone,” a reference to Fortina Group’s recently-rejected application which is subject to a decision on the 2nd March. The Fortina Group is the same group which has virtually colonised the Sliema Strand zone and which has been awarded a monopoly over the Comino ferry transport system. Fortina now seeks to take further control of public swimming zones.

“This eating up of our public spaces is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. Ferry transport should not be allowed in bathing areas in close proximity of swimmers, and the public should not be relegated to bathing in little swimming pens. Fortina should find an alternative and move their tourist ferry to a more suitable spot and allow the public to exercise its right to enjoy the sea.

In the meantime we shall await the Planning Authority’s decision on this matter, noting that this decision has been mysteriously put off for a long period, Graffitti said. "We hope that this move is not intended to allow any lobbying behind the scenes, and we urge the public to remain vigilant regarding any developments in the area,” the group said in its statement, adding that it has no intention to manage the site for commercial or fundraising initiatives of any sort.

 

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