Balluta ferry objectors tell Fortina: ‘Stop hogging our seas’

Councils, NGOs and residents appealing controversial ferry service in Balluta denounce ‘Fortina greenwash’

The Fortina hotel group wants to run a hop-on ferry service
The Fortina hotel group wants to run a hop-on ferry service

A coalition of local councils, NGOs and 87 St Julian’s residents appealing the Planning Authority’s decision to allow the Fortina group to operate a catamaran from Balluta Bay, have denounced the group’s “greenwash”.

Moviment Graffitti said the entire bay from Balluta Bay right past the St Julian’s waterpolo pitch is an official bathing zone where members of the public swim, kayak, dive and engage in different watersports.

“The much smaller roped-off swimming zones within the official bathing zone are there to exclude jet skis and other vessels. It does not mean that all swimmers have to be confined to those small areas. We are not tuna fish to be restricted to pens,” the objectors said.

The objectors said the Fortina group is trying to pass this off as some temporary, minimally-disruptive development. “But the truth is that the word ‘temporary’ is not mentioned once in the approved application. The tourist ferry was announced by former prime minister Joseph Muscat at an event in October 2019 well before the permits were ever issued, showing another done deal even though the public objected in droves.”

The objectors said Fortina’s record spoke for itself. “It is the same group which has littered the Sliema Ferries with cheap and unsightly ticket booths. It is the same group which was granted a public seafront site for touristic purposes – which was then converted to a residential speculative project. Members of the same group had a business relationship with the Lands Authority CEO.

“We see what you represent and we will pursue further legal action to stop you hogging our seas,” the objectors said.

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