Years of putting up with parked caravans in Mistra have driven a restaurateur up the wall, forcing him to pack up his business and consider leaving Malta.
Claude Camilleri has been losing clients since campers started parking their caravans just outside his terraced restaurant around 2008.
“People come to dine here for the view and instead end up eating right next to caravans, rowdy people barbecuing and swearing.
“We have flagged the issue with ministers, the Malta Tourism Authority, the police and the local council among others, and even filed a criminal complaint against the police for their lack of enforcement,” he said.
Mellieħa mayor John Buttigieg told Times of Malta that while motor caravans could park by the side as they have a road license and insurance, the owners cannot place barbecues, chairs, tables and other beach furniture beside the vehicles, or pull out an extendable canopy.
Meanwhile, towed caravans need a parking permit, and the council does not issue permits for such campers anywhere in the locality.
“The council has drawn the attention of the police and Transport Malta as it’s an issue of enforcement,” he said.
The mayor added that every year beachgoers complained to the council that public space was being taken up through summer by these caravans, their extendable furniture and canopies.
For Mr Camilleri, the lack of enforcement showed a sense of impunity.
“I have given up. We renovated the place two years ago, investing tens of thousands, but we have decided we will move abroad. This is an issue that has been dragging on for years,” he said.
Mr Camilleri said that the planning authority had even issued an enforcement notice in 2011, and that the issue of caravans becoming a permanent feature at Mistra Bay was also detrimental to bathers.
In 2013, a Times of Malta report had prompted PA enforcement officers to request two caravan owners to leave from the foreshore.
This order was given in accordance with the enforcement order issued two years before. Back then, according to the authority, the onus to remove the rest of the caravans rested on the police as they were on the road.
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