The Malta Independent 24 January 2022, Monday

Updated: Captain Morgan drops plans for Balluta jetty

Saturday, 4 December 2021, 10:10 Last update: about 3 months ago

Captain Morgan has decided not to build the Balluta jetty and is evaluating alternative sites after listening to the publics concerns, the company said in a statement Saturday.

The company’s goal has always been to invest in a new maritime transportation node in St Julians; an initiative that came at a significant cost and would have created a new maritime loop in an area synonymous with traffic congestion.

Maltese and tourists alike would have had the opportunity to hop on and off a newly built, environmentally friendly vessel, linking Sliema, St Julians, Bugibba and even Gozo, which would have reduced car journeys between these points, the company said.

The decision comes after months of protests against the idea, spearheaded by the St Julian's local council, which argued against the further commercialisation of the area. NGOs had also vehemently protested against the planned project, saying it would cause environmental damage.

Captain Morgan remains committed towards a modern and efficient intermodal transportation ecosystem that is in line with greener transportation policies, not only in Malta, but across the world.

Captain Morgan has taken the responsible decision not to proceed with the building of the jetty in the Balluta area and we hope to identify an alternative location, in consultation with the St Julians council and relative NGOs.”

The company is now evaluating options for an alternative placement for the jetty that was being built between the St Julians Aquatic Sports Club and Neptunes WPSC, and will continue to do this in consultation with the St Julians local council and other NGOs.

As a Group, we are sensitive to genuine concern, wherever its coming from. The sentiment has been clearly against, so we are discarding our original plans and studying the best alternative options, which we plan to discuss with the local council and NGOs,” a Captain Morgan spokesperson said.

We believe this is the right decision in the prevailing circumstances, even though the jetty is covered with all the planning and environmental permits required at law, and the area in question does not fall within an official swimming zone. Meanwhile, the company has also directed its architects and lawyers to withdraw all applications for the Balluta jetty, with immediate effect."

A victory for common sense - Mayor

In a video posted on Facebook, St Julian’s mayor Albert Buttigieg welcomed the decision, saying that the pressure mounted by the council, NGOs and residents had worked. 

“This is a victory not only for St Julian’s but also for common sense and the common good. It shows that we can reach a good conclusion through dialouge.”

He thanked the Fortina Group for understanding the objections and withdrawing the application. 

“Changing one’s plans and opinions are not a sign of weakness but a sign of maturity,” he said. 

Buttigieg thanked the local council, the NGOs who had supported the council, and the lawyers, but mostly the residents, not only those who had objected but also the ones who had shown support in silence.

 

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