Marsaxlokk has been given a stern climate change warning for 2100

Rising sea levels will submerge proposed Marsaxlokk hotel’s ground floor and car park by 2100

The hotel's modern architecture will dominate the area
The hotel's modern architecture will dominate the area

The Environmental Impact Statement for a new 113-room hotel being proposed instead of the Hunters Tower restaurant comes with a dire warning for the entire fishing village: Marsaxlokk is expected to be “severely impacted by rising sea levels”.

The study conducted by EIA consultants AIS Environmental warns that by 2100, the mean sea level is expected to “rise significantly” submerging the new hotel’s ground level and car-park.

The study refers to “projections” showing that the coastline is expected to expand “onto the terraced agricultural slopes lying to the east of the proposed hotel”.

READ MORE: How 113-room hotel will change picturesque Marsaxlokk skyline and views

Severe storms caused by a change in climate may also give rise to flooding within Marsaxlokk, which is particularly vulnerable as it encompasses a large water catchment area.

Since sea level rise is a “national and global problem”, the EIA augurs that a national strategy will be developed to address these concerns.

The management plan for the adjacent Natura 2000 site already warned that certain habitats are highly vulnerable to climate change and “sea level rise”.

It also calls for an extension of the marshland into two neighbouring parcels of land enclosed between the marsh and the road.

The car-park, which may suffer the brunt of climate change in the next decades, represents one of the most problematic aspects of the hotel project.

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) had recommended the removal of the parking from the proposal to avoid significant adverse impact on the adjacent tal-Ballut marshland which is a Natura 2000 site.

The EIA acknowledges that downsizing the underground car-park would reduce the construction impacts on the adjacent marshland. This would reduce the generation of dust that could adversely affect the marshland would be reduced.

However, the elimination of the underground car-park is considered to be economically unfeasible and to have repercussions on the availability of parking space in Marsaxlokk.

The proposed entrance to the car-park is located 60m away from the protected marshland but within its buffer zone.

The hotel owner has committed himself to contribute towards the effective management of the Natura 2000 marshland through regular “maintenance of the site and its promotion as an educational and eco-touristic hub.”

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