Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne came out against the proposed Marsascala marina project, which is set to be built in the third electoral district which Fearne will be contesting. On Monday, Fearne told Times of Malta that he believes the undeveloped area around the bay should remain as it is. Instead, the berthing area should be reorganised, taking into consideration the traditions of the village and all those who have moorings in the bay.
The plans were made public in August after Transport Malta published a pre-qualification document which suggested most of the bay be taken up by pontoons and yacht facilities. Following this, protests in opposition were a regular occurrence. When asked, Fearne said that he believes that the part of Marsascala which is undeveloped and where residents can enjoy swimming, recreation and fishing should remain undeveloped. ‘On the other hand, the part of the Marsascala Bay where there are moorings should be reorganised with respect to those who have their moorings there’ he said.
Fearne went on to say that the government acknowledges the importance of natural zones in the south, and that it had announced an afforestation project which will be carried out over the next five years in the Inwadar area which extends to Żonqor. However, Transport Minister Ian Borg, Fearne’s cabinet colleague and who is responsible for the project, refused to take a similar stance as Fearne. He said that the public opposition to plans to build the marina in Marsascala was part of a Nationalist Party candidate’s bid to get elected on the district.
Borg said he was not obliged to campaign for a Nationalist Party candidate. ‘The local plans that were devised by the PN in 2006 are the local plans that govern the country today and these say that a marina can only be built in two places, in Marsascala and Xemxija’.
‘Ive met the council but I’m not going to be a canvasser for a PN candidate in Marsascala’ he said. The locality’s council minority leader John Baptist Camilleri was one of the first people to bring the plans into public eye and has been campaigning against it. He is also contesting as a PN candidate in the third district in the general election.
When asked about his personal stance, Borg said that it was not a matter of personal opinion. ‘I am the minister of the entire industry and I do what is needed in the widest possible sense, including meeting with the local council, which I did’ he said. This also follows a movement among protestors and those who oppose the marina which sees residents placing yellow squares on their doorbells, warning party politicians to stay away unless they planned to oppose the marina plans.