Seaborne

The restaurant pontoon for maritime customers is a new threat to the coastline

The Beef Bar restaurant on the Dawret il-Gżejjer promenade in Bugibba is applying for permits for three single point moorings and a 15m long floating pontoon for the foreshore next to the Serena lido.

Although not designated a bathing area, the seabed is part of a larger marine protected area and the rocky foreshore is still undeveloped.

The Environment and Resources Authority has previously warned that such a development would set a precedent for more development along the coastline.

The restaurant wants the pontoon to serve as a boarding point for maritime customers because of its coastal location, between May and mid-September before being dismantled.

The pontoon and its gantry will cover an area of ​​600 m², extending over 15 m with three single moorings approximately 55 m from the coast. The pontoon will be held in place by three one-tonne counterweights and cables.

AIS Environment, which drafted the development statement for the Beef Bar project, acknowledged that the pontoon would increase shipping traffic and “could cause a domino effect for local commercial activities in the area”.

The annual anchoring of the floating pontoon can also cause the physical displacement of the protected seagrass species and the shading of the underlying species.

But AIS said these impacts are minor in what is not a swimming area, and possibly mitigated by erecting a silt curtain during construction.

The Environment and Resources Authority however said the pontoon would lead to the adoption and formalization of the natural coastline, which is still relatively open and pristine, creating pressure for further development and an undesirable precedent for similar future proposals in other sensitive areas.

The site is a Special Area of ​​Conservation, called Żona fil-Baħar fil-Grigal ta’ Malta, a Natura 2000 site hosting protected habitats such as Posidonia beds and protected species, such as the endemic and endangered Maltese shellfish. disappearance.