Moviment Graffitti files Lands Application to manage Balluta Bay

Moviment Graffitti has applied with the Lands Authority to manage the Sliema bay for public recreational activities, citizen science, and ecological monitoring in a bid to ward off commercial take-up of public space

The St Julians and Sliema local councils and several NGOs organised a protest action to oppose the ferry landing plans in Balluta Bay last November
The St Julians and Sliema local councils and several NGOs organised a protest action to oppose the ferry landing plans in Balluta Bay last November

Activist group Moviment Graffitti has filed an application with the Lands Authority to manage Balluta Bay in a bid “to ward off the commercialisation of this public space and keep it permanently accessible and safe to bathers and the community.”

The application states the group’s intention to retain Balluta bay as a space for “public recreational activities including citizen science, social and community activities and ecological monitoring activities.”

“This application is necessary because we cannot allow further take-up of public bays for private interests,” said a spokesperson for Moviment Graffitti. “At the moment, there is a pending planning application for a private ferry pontoon to be installed right in the middle of this popular bathing zone,” a reference to Fortina Group’s recently-rejected application which is subject to a decision on the 2nd March.

“This eating up of our public spaces is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. Ferry transport should not be allowed in bathing areas in close proximity of swimmers, and the public should not be relegated to bathing in little swimming pens. Fortina should find an alternative and move its tourist ferry to a more suitable spot and allow the public to exercise its right to enjoy the sea.

“In the meantime we shall await the Planning Authority’s decision on this matter, noting that this decision has been mysteriously put off for a long period. We hope that this move is not intended to allow any lobbying behind the scenes, and we urge the public to remain vigilant regarding any developments in the area,” the group said in its statement, adding that it has no intention to manage the site for commercial or fundraising initiatives of any sort.

More in Townscapes