Fabian Demicoli

Issues at the Marsaxlokk Promenade

 Following a meeting held this
week at the Ministry for Fair Competition, SMEs and Consumer Affairs regarding
the Marsaxlokk promenade issues, in the presence of Hon Jason Azzopardi, Hon
Mario Demarco, Transport Malta, Marsaxlokk LC and representatives of the Monti
Hawkers, by GRTU Executive Carmen Borg and Lawyer Dr Jan Karl Farrugia, GRTU
wrote to the above mentioned Ministers and gave them GRTU's position in
writing.

GRTU informed them that we are in agreement
with the proposals made by Dr Stanley Portelli regarding the traffic in Xatt
is-Sajjieda, in the short term reducing the traffic speed and flow, and in the
long term converting the promenade to a pedestrian zone. GRTU however maintains
its reservations regarding this proposal as a viable option due to the
fishermen's constant requirements to access the slipways and other designated
zones.

GRTU called for their
intervention in the matter, particularly to save this summer's commerce for the
restaurant owners along the promenade. The short term solution of having market
hawkers in between restaurant premises and their tables and chairs along the
promenade cannot be accepted. It is absolutely impracticable for a restaurant
to be visually impaired from seeing the patrons on his tables and chairs on the
promenade. It is hugely impracticable for waiting staff to cross in between
market stalls. This proposal will only augment already existing issues.

The GRTU insists that
Government, in order to ensure a level playing field, should proceed according
to the proposed plan submitted to MEPA, and mathematically calculate what size
of stall will fit in the designated area when multiplied by 21 Market Hawker
Operators.

GRTU argued that the current
abuse, with certain Market Hawker stalls exceeding 90 feet in length should
never be accepted by Government and the Local Council. Should the stalls for
the Market Hawkers in Marsaxlokk even remotely come close to these sizes, then
there will not be any issue regarding the Market Hawkers fitting comfortably in
the space earmarked on the plan submitted for the amendment of the Master Plan.

Therefore short term plans for
the area should allow Restaurant Owners to place tables and chairs in
accordance with the submitted Plans, whilst regulating appropriate interim
stall-sizes for the Market Hawkers.

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