Public access to Fomm Ir-Riħ bay has been blocked once again, new images show.
A post uploaded by activist Cami Applgren on social media shows a short rubble wall blocking a path down to the bay, along with a sign informing people that the area was “private property” and that the “countryside should be enjoyed from the road”.
“Fomm Ir-Riħ. Is it 1st April already? What is this? Remove one sign and add another? Who is buying these signs in bulk in Bahrija?”
“Someone tell me that this is a joke… and on top of it; this kind of wording on a sign should be forbidden. It’s a slap in the face of a nature deprived nation,” Appelgren wrote.
Signs have also been erected across the site in question, informing people that the area is private and that camping, controlled fires, and barbeques are strictly not allowed.
The land is owned by Malta Developers’ Association Head Sandro Chetcuti. Last January after controversy erupted because access to the bay had been restricted, the Planning Ministry and Chetcuti pledged that a gate would not be erected pending discussions. The ministry and Chetcuti insisted that the gate was erected for safety reasons.
“The government is working to enter an arrangement with the owner to eventually give the public adequate access to the foreshore while respecting the right to private property,” the ministry said at the time.
It is unclear who erected the new wall and signs. Sources said that it was neither the government or Chetcuti who did it.
Fomm ir-Riħ has been somewhat dangerous to visitors following a clay slop collapse in August 2020, which effectively covered a significant part of the bay.
However, a 1983 deed “establishes gratuitously as from the date of this deed in favour of the Government, on whose behalf the Commissioner of Lands accepts, a perpetual right and access therefrom to the foreshore and the sea over a divided portion of land situated in the locality of Fomm ir-Rih, in the limits of Imgarr, Malta”.
Lovin Malta has reached out to the Planning Ministry for a comment.
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