Over the past year, the Ramblers’ Association held numerous discussions with the current land owner of Fomm ir-Riħ, Mr Sandro Chetcuti, in a bid to ensure that public access to the foreshore at Fomm ir-Riħ is safeguarded, while respecting the right to his property.
In 1983, a deed between the Government and the then landowner Fredrick Maynard had established a perpetual right of public passage to the foreshore. Since the original footpath leading to the foreshore was never properly implemented and its foreseen location collapsed due to the erosion of the clay slopes, an alternative path has been mutually identified.
This path leads to the smaller pebble beach and mid-way forks out to allow access to the larger Fomm ir-Riħ bay, from where one can then continue walking along the foreshore in the direction of Ġnejna.
Mr. Chetcuti has consented to modify the 1983 agreement so as to alter the servitu’ to the new footpath which passes through his property. From its end the Association understands and supports the landowner’s right to enjoy his private property without unwarranted trespassing.
The Ramblers’ Association together with Mr Sandro Chetcuti, have recently presented this solution to the Government. This occurred during a meeting held with the Ministries responsible for the Environment and the Lands Authority. Also present for this meeting were representatives from Environment and Resources Authority and the Office of the Prime Minister.
During this meeting, the Ramblers’ Association explained that the only interventions required on site are the installation of directional signs and fencing adequate to the site, in order to help visitors to easily identify the pathway leading to the foreshore and discourage trespassing. Both interventions would be fully reversible and in full respect of a Natura 2000 site as directed by ERA.
The solution presented to the Government was reached in an amicable way between the Ramblers’ Association and the landowner. It goes on to prove how through proper dialogue, win-win solutions to problems of countryside management are possible, even on a small island like ours with one of the highest population densities in the world – where land is a highly contested space and issues of right of access often lead to unpleasant altercations between well-intentioned members of the public and landowners.
As an NGO, the Ramblers’ Association has done its utmost, with both the landowner and Government, to find a solution which guarantees public access to the foreshore at Fomm ir-Riħ. The Association now ecourages both parties to finalise this matter as soon as possible.
This will finally give peace of mind to the public, who will be able to enjoy the picturesque foreshore at Fomm ir-Riħ without further risk of confrontation, while granting the desired privacy to the landowner.