Open letter to Ian Borg on the Marsaskala marina | Marianne Theuma

The Marsaskala marina is not just about swimming, and having ice-cream! 

Dear Minister Borg,

Thank you for the offer to reserve some space for us to swim in the proposed marina area, as is planned for Marsaskala Bay. Using your same logic, yes, one can still swim with an elephant in a swimming pool.

Dear Minister, It is high time you realise that the Marsaskala marina issue is not just about swimming, and perhaps having the occasional ice-cream! There is much more to a beautiful bay than just a dip in the water and a pleasurable, delectable comfort.

At the top of one’s pleasurable things in life, are is peace and serenity. There are sounds that soothe the ear. There is beauty that feasts the eye. When that natural beauty incidentally happens to face East, it is enhanced even further with breath-taking views of daily sunrises over the horizon casting reflections straight and deep into the bay to the enjoyment of one and all. Just quietly gazing at it, is therapy in itself. Apart from the contribution to one’s mental well-being, the bay is a unique tourist attraction sought by many, especially those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of today’s busy life.

A really clever entrepreneur would flaunt its uniqueness, without killing the goose that lays the golden eggs for him. A marina with pontoons and land reclamation will stupidly and irreversibly destroy all this, forever.

Then there’s the issue of our mental wellbeing, an issue which is often being ignored on a national level. Soon we will be doomed to spend the rest of our lives ‘existing’ as opposed to living decently in a simple, humble, yet pleasurable way which is what most of us are asking for. No, we cannot always ‘get away from it all’ by going a cruise or on holiday for a week or two. It’s not just about money: COVID has taught us this too.

A “happy” country indeed! “Thousands” of people owning yachts are no gauge for the happiness of a country. The thousands who, for several reasons, do not own a boat also deserve respect. These are unashamedly being expected to give up their breathing space to a marina for the dumping of yachts, while their owners are enjoying themselves elsewhere! How caring and respectful is that to the very people who in their vast numbers have cast their vote in your favour?

No Minister, we will not accept the very wrong decision, made by a selfish few, to wilfully take away our bay in Marsaskala. By human standards, this is a completely different story. This is not a ‘Hand of God’ occurrence. This is an atrociously man-made, arrogant consequence of a selfishly entitled decision, and it is utterly unacceptable.

This time there is a lot we can do to prevent it. Marsaskala Bay is practically the only decent bay left in the South. It is too much to lose. The handing over of our coast to a number of Maltese/foreign boat owners who are registered under the Maltese flag is an utter no-brainer. Stubbornness will not prevail over common-sense; we will not let it happen, no matter what.

Seeing the insinuation that thousands of Maltese seem to have the money to afford having a yacht or other leisure boats, then we don’t see the reason why these people cannot afford to own a garage and solve their own problem. The simplest solution is to own/rent a place to park their vessels rather than sacrificing our precious sea for their personal use. It is absurd that pleasure boat owners are given the sacrosanct right to inflict their problems on a whole town, for a whole year, while residents have to simply accept it.

Our appropriately named ‘Grand Harbour’ is a truly magnificent and grand harbour, a vast stretch of coastline already protected by a highly effective breakwater. It is naturally designed and long recognised as ideal for the harbouring vessels. Upgrading dilapidated areas within the Harbour and turning it into one state-of-the-art touristic attraction all around its coastline would be the clever thing to do.

Much of the expense would be spared; a dilapidated area raised to a huge, grand waterfront, doubtlessly a potentially unique tourist attraction; instead of sacrificing a unique, beautiful bay in the South. A win-win situation, if not more.

Now, that would be one clever thing to do to keep everyone happy, as expected from responsible and truly respectful Ministers in charge of a country.

May good sense truly prevail.

Marianne Theuma is a Marsaskala resident