Fortina has suspended works on a pontoon in Balluta Bay with discussions now being held between the local council, residents and NGOs on the future of the controversial project.
Earlier this week, activists from Moviment Graffitti convened in Balluta Bay to physically block the development of the tourist catamaran pontoon and planting a yellow sign that read “the bay belongs to us, not Fortina.”
Following the demonstration, Moviment Graffitti has now been informed that Fortina has agreed to suspend the works with discussions to be held between stakeholders over the coming weeks.
“We would like to thank all those who participated in or supported the week-long direct action in Balluta Bay and hail this as more evidence that people’s pressure works,” the activist group said in a statement.
Last week, Graffiti criticised the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) for changing Fortina’s permit conditions by stealth, allowing them to develop the pontoon in the summer months.
“ERA’s blessing of Fortina’s permit breaches adds insult to injury and is further evidence of how the environmental agency is beholden to big business interests that trample on our environment and quality of life,” the NGO said.
Fortina’s Captain Morgan said works on the pontoon were fully in line with the law and its permits and were environmentally monitored.
The company said that works couldn’t be carried out earlier due to bad weather and that while its permit forbids them from carrying out work during the bathing season, the Malta Tourism Authority clarified that the season starts on 15th June.
Captain Morgan has since responded stating that construction works have stopped as a “sign of goodwill” despite have all permits and clearances from authorities to proceed.
“Notwithstanding all the permits we have in hand, as a sign of goodwill we decided to temporarily suspend the works and enter into dialogue with all the relevant parties in the hope of finding a solution,” a Captain Morgan spokesperson said.
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