The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

Refurbishment works on Marfa quay to stop on 14 June and resume after summer season

Shona Berger Monday, 24 May 2021, 08:34 Last update: about 25 days ago

The works on the quay next to the Marfa Breakwater will stop on 14 June and resume after the summer season, Infrastructure Malta told the Malta Independent.

Infrastructure Malta spokesman Brian Meli explained that in preparation for this project, a smaller quay is being upgraded which is adjacent to the breakwater. This is to be temporarily used by fishing and passenger vessels in the area until the breakwater is once again accessible.

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“Due to severe damage caused by waves and inclement weather over the years, as well as the lack of required maintenance, the existing breakwater is in a very bad state of repair, with eroded foundations and other structural damage,” Meli said.

He added that this was confirmed by technical surveys which Infrastructure Malta conducted on its underwater foundations as part of the planning of this project. Substantial parts of the breakwater’s structure are worn out or completely broken.

In a Local Notice published on 3 April, Transport Malta had notified mariners and the general public that the refurbishment works on the Marfa quay is to be completed by 20 April. This local notice was then amended on 30 April, stating that the date of completion has been extended to 20 June 2021.

The dates now seem to have changed, with works planned to stop on 14 June then resume after summer.

Infrastructure Malta is implementing the €2.1 million EU-funded project to repair and upgrade the 85-metre Marfa quay.

This breakwater dates back decades and until the Gozo ferry port was constructed at Cirkewwa, in the mid-seventies, ferries which operated trips between Malta and Gozo used to moor to it. Nowadays it is used by fishers and passenger vessels which operate cruises to Comino.

Meli explained that the “agency will demolish and rebuild the entire breakwater structure which rises above the water surface, including the pier and sea wall. It will furthermore perform extensive repairs to reinforce the underwater foundations and install new mechanical and electrical works on the breakwater.”

Mellieħa Councillor and PN Candidate Ivan Castillo as well as PN MP Robert Cutajar expressed their frustration regarding this situation on their Facebook pages, lamenting that the quay should have been completed months ago during the time when tourism in Malta was slow due to the Covid-19 pandemic and not now.

Castillo argued that after a year and a half of Covid-19 restrictions and complete stoppage of work, this does not help boat operators who have already been hit hard by this pandemic.

He also argued that such works will not attract more tourists during a time when the country needs them the most as it is not only “ridiculous but unsafe.”

Meanwhile, PN MP Cutajar said that this shows the lack of planning and incompetence.

“It is illogical to work on refurbishments during this period, especially when the Marfa quay is located opposite a well-known hotel which usually accommodates many tourists. In addition, the same quay is used by passenger vessels which operate cruises for Comino for tourists and Maltese citizens,” Cutajar said.

 

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