St Julian’s mayor Albert Buttigieg has called for a reality check over the Balluta Bay beach after footage emerged of the waves eroding the new sand.
“The current is what it is and nature itself is showing us that it’s not possible to have a long-lasting sandy beach at Balluta,” Buttigieg told Lovin Malta. “If the Marriott Hotel wants to spend money to improve the surroundings, it would be better if it helps us embellish the area, such as the promenade.”
“Yes, I’m sure tourists enjoy swimming at Balluta, but they also enjoy walking on proper pavements without garbage. You can have good intentions in life but we must recognise the situation for what it is.”
“I’ve seen talk of artificial reefs and breakwaters, but before carrying out such grandiose projects, it would be better to conduct studies and accept reality as it is. Nature itself is protesting and we cannot change nature.”
The Marriott Hotel (formerly Le Méridien) has entered into a commitment with the government to carry out sand nourishment works on Balluta Bay for the next five years.
The beach will remain open to the general public free of charge, and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has assured that it won’t be privatised in any way.
Geologist Peter Gatt has warned that the works cannot be called a sand nourishment project, but rather a “short-lived, man-made shift of material from marine to subaerial environments”.
“A percentage of the ‘sand’ emplaced on the beach is actually silt, which is readily removed by moderate to high waves,” Gatt said. “This explains the murky sea in the bay… What needs to be ascertained is whether that sand/slit on the beach (where children are playing) includes pollutants coming from the Balluta valley.”