Fortina Group has filed a second application to build a pontoon at Balluta Bay, after its initial plans were spoiled by week-long protests.
The company, which owns pleasure cruise company Captain Morgan, is seeking to build a jetty at the St Julian’s site to service a hop-on-hop-off tourist ferry.
Captain Morgan suspended works on the pontoon in June, after residents and activists spent a week blocking them.
The second application (PA 07251/21) submitted by Fortina CEO JeanBert Gatt, describes the works as a correction of the previous one, and states that it envisages a “smaller pontoon and shifting for environmental considerations.”
However, a site plan submitted for the proposal indicates that the pontoon will take up a total of 130 square metres of area – a 60 per cent increase over the 81 square metres envisaged in the original proposal.
A company spokesperson however insisted that the revised proposal would result in a smaller pontoon and that the estimated area was now larger because a contingency has been included.
“The size of the pontoon has reduced from 5m wide by 14.5m long to 5m wide by 10.5m long,” the spokesperson told Times of Malta.
“In consideration that the final alignment of the pontoon could vary slightly during positioning at sea, an allowance was made on the footprint of the site plan.”
The new proposal envisages a slight shift in the pontoon’s location, with a company spokesperson saying the shift was required to protect Posidonia meadows (seagrass). The decision was taken following seabed surveys, the spokesperson said.
“The size of the pontoon is smaller than the original pontoon size of the first application. The position of the pontoon will also not be any closer to the bay.”
A 27.2m distance outlined in the second application denotes the distance to the edge of a waterpolo pitch nearby. The pontoon would now be further from the swimming bay, the company said.
When asked why the company did not amend the first application, she explained that shifting the site plan requires a different application number.
“The new application includes the same approved drawings of the previous permit. It just seeks to correct the site plan.”
St Julian’s mayor calls for objectors
The second application was first filed in June, just days after the company halted the works based on its first application.
But it first came to public attention on Wednesday morning, when St. Julian’s mayor Albert Buttigieg called for residents to forward their objections to the project.
Buttigieg believes the project does not follow applicable Local Plans and will lead to marine traffic in an area used by swimmers.
More than 40 objections had been filed against the application as of Tuesday.
The original plans for the pontoon were initially recommended for refusal by a Planning Authority case officer, but were nevertheless approved last year.
The project faces two appeals filed by objectors, one filed against ERA for issuing the natural permit and another against the PA for approving the jetty permit.
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