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Marina is not what Marsascala needs

I refer to the letters by Anthony Galea (Vision for Marsascala, November 19) and Joseph Dimech (What Marsascala Needs, November 23), both of whom are strongly in favour of a yacht marina in Marsascala.

First of all, I am baffled by the logic of backing a project that did not go down well when proposed to residents of other localities. Witness the opposition to yacht marinas proposed for Hondoq ir-Rummien and Xemxija Bay.

Before we irreversibly transform our idyllic village, do we realise what problems a yacht marina would bring to our hometown? Given that Marsascala is exposed to strong easterly winds and seas, a yacht marina will, in all probability, necessitate the construction of a breakwater. This lovely corner of the island will thus be reduced to a stagnant lake. Lack of currents from the open sea, together with the pollution from the yachts, the occasional drainage overflow and, to top it all, a possible petrol station, will certainly spell the end of the local marine ecology and render the sea filthy and, most likely, smelly. Hardly a tourist attraction!

Moreover, if you are not a yacht enthusiast, what pleasure will it be to stroll with your family on the promenade (and perhaps stop for a take-away or a pizza on the way), when all there is to see are yachts and a forest of masts? Surely, neighbouring Xghajra and Marsaxlokk will be more appealing.

By now we are all familiar with big project in which the residents are utterly ignored. The contractor who will operate the marina will have no love, neither for the residents nor for small businesses. Nor will he bother to preserve Marsascala's fishing village characteristics. His only motive will be to exploit the berths, charging commercial rates, thereby crowding out the traditional boat owners.

And who will guarantee that our foreshore will not be off-limits for the public?

One can argue that residents can take solace from the prospect of an increase in the value of their property. With so much downside, even this comes into serious question.

Of course, I am not against a more secure mooring for existing and prospective boat owners, perhaps coupled with a more rational hard-standing arrangement than the present one. But a yacht marina is a different kettle of fish.

The only beneficiaries from a yacht marina will be the government (because it will increase its tax revenues) and the operator.

Contrary to expectations, experience shows that yacht marinas do not contribute to any significant increase in jobs.

Clearly, a yacht marina is the last thing that Marsascala needs. What it needs is gradual and steady embellishment and to minimise the impact of the shortcomings that surround it. Above all, it should promote itself as a serene, picturesque fishing village, with a variety of entertainment venues and excellent restaurants.

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