The plans for Xemxija Marina include the mooring of 168 boats
Plans for the development of a 31,000 m² marina in Xemxija were presented by Harbor Management, a company owned by Pierre Balzan, who currently also manages the Mġarr Marina in Gozo.
The town-planning file proposes moorings for 168 boats and 18 jet-skis. Of these, 101 boats moored in the area will be over 13 m long, including seven over 24 m long and 19 from 18 to 24 m long.
The planning application was submitted last March, but the details of the application have only been published on the planning authority’s public information system in recent days.
The request refers to a concession granted by Transport Malta to Harbor Management and includes a return of the new marina.
But the concession invoked in the request was later revoked by the Public Procurement Review Board, in a July 8 decision following a protest by the operators of the Beachaven facility.
But that did not stop the AP from processing the request, which is still in the initial screening phase. In a report sent on July 29, the Environment and Resources Authority did not formally oppose the marina project, which will change the dynamics of the bay. But he warned that the proposed interventions will extend to the marine environment within a Natura 2000 site, which will be impacted by the installation of concrete weights and a heavy chain along the seabed.
In view of this ERA, a benthic survey of the marine environment was required to identify and map sealed habitats and locate the presence of protected or otherwise sensitive species, which may potentially be affected by the marina.
The report specifically refers to the presence of marine herbs protected from Posidonia in the region.
Plans to establish a marina in Xemxija were initially announced in 2004. A request for proposals was issued in 2009, following a request for a permit from the planning authority. The then maritime authority, now part of Transport Malta, awarded the tender to Harbor Management Ltd.
But the concession was canceled in 2011, Harbor Management then challenged the decision in court. Legal proceedings dragged on for years until Harbor Management and Transport Malta reached an out-of-court settlement in November 2020, which again granted the concession to Harbor Management.
In March, Transport Malta issued a directive that Xemxija Bay be cleared of all boats so that work can begin on the marina.
The owners of Beachaven subsequently challenged Transport Malta’s decision, arguing that the move was illegal because the concession had been canceled. They said that according to the rules of public procurement, there should have been a new tender.
The Palestinian Authority is also evaluating a request to turn Malta’s most unsightly developments approved in the 1990s on the Xemxija coast – the Kaħlija court – into a hotel. The request, filed by Johann Said, provides for the change of use from a residential home to a hotel, as well as an 84 m² awning and an outdoor dining area.