Comino’s San Niklaw out of bounds as company blocks access to parts of coastline

Beachgoers will not be able to access San Niklaw Bay in Comino this summer, while some footpaths to Santa Marija beach have been blocked off • Hili Ventures justifies decision ‘in the interest of health and safety’

Private property: San Niklaw Bay will be inaccessible to the public this summer
Private property: San Niklaw Bay will be inaccessible to the public this summer

Comino’s San Niklaw Bay has been blocked off from public access by Hili Ventures due to pending permits and “in the interest of health and safety”.

Photos passed on to MaltaToday show that metal barriers have been put up along parts of the Comino coast preventing access to parts of the coastline.

Blue and red signs are stuck to the barriers indicating that the area is private property. One barrier prevents access to Santa Marija beach from San Niklaw Bay.

The barriers were set up around the Comino hotel area, which was purchased by Hili Ventures to be redeveloped into a bungalow complex.

When contacted by MaltaToday, the company said the Comino hotel and bungalows are the property of HV Hospitality, a subsidiary of Hili Ventures.

“Pending permits, and in the interest of health and safety, the company has restricted public access to the development sites. There is no public access to San Niklaw Bay as this area is part of the private concession granted to HV Hospitality. Access to Santa Marija Bay is unrestricted,” a company spokesperson said.

The case brings back memories of Manoel Island, when access to the island’s foreshore was blocked by barricades installed by the MIDI consortium after receiving a concession to develop the island back in 2000.

But access to the foreshore was restored in March 2018 when MIDI and the Gżira local council created a foundation and signed a guardianship deed, following protests by Graffitti and locality mayor Conrad Borg Manche.