“Gozo will lose its uniqueness with a permanent link”

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"Gozo will lose its uniqueness with a permanent link"Readers Letter – “Once more we are reading about the possibility of better links between Gozo and Malta. Everything has a price and I don’t just mean the cost of constructing a bridge or a tunnel. If the islands become permanently linked, then Gozo will lose forever its uniqueness as a holiday destination.

Certain people, including the so called Gozo Tourism Authority, can’t see this or choose to ignore it and believe that Gozo’s double insularity is a problem, when the truth is that from a tourist point of view it has always been an asset.

However, I think this has to go beyond the tourism issue and deal more with the problems faced by the Gozitan people on a daily basis. An air link would never be an answer to the problems these people face and would fail anyway as it has always been shown to be unsustainable.

The end result would be more concrete covering this small island and the only people who would benefit would be the owners of light aircraft who would have a new playground. And think of the effect on the tourist trade of all those little planes buzzing around all day like mosquitoes.

At least a bridge or tunnel would be of benefit to all the people, not just those with private aircraft.

At the end of the day it will be for the people to decide, but they will have to accept that along with the benefits there will be costs, as Gozo will no longer be the attractive quiet place to holiday that tourists see it as now.”

James A Tyrrell,

N. Ireland.

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    24 Responses

    1. Rev George Mercieca says:

      I agree with Alex. Gozo is already very busy with cars all over, imagine with a permanent link!
      Rev. George Mercieca

    2. Astrid Vella says:

      I understand the needs of the Gozitans working in Malta, but this will undermine tourism jobs in Gozo. It’s been calculated that traffic to Gozo will double – is that a good thing? Gozo would turn into a rowdy city with twice the noise and pollution. It is also worrying that the Maltese authorities will no longer invest in upgrading Gozitan health and education facilities once Maltese facilities are just a drive away.

    3. Dietmar Treptow says:

      Top this madness !

    4. Gunnar Boehme says:

      As an every now and then commuter between the islands, I always enjoyed the minutes in the cafeteria of the ferry. The problem with travelling between Gozo and Malta begins in the streets of Malta, not at sea. More than once it took me nearly two hours get from Cirkewwa to Valletta by bus, an experience particularly annoying if appointments are waiting while you are stuck in a traffic jam.

      How can a bridge or a tunnel between the islands solve this general problem? Isn’t it much more likely that the permanent link will increase the volume of traffic that is already an intractable problem now?

      It would be a much better investment to study solutions for the traffic problems that have emerged with the urbanisation of wide areas of Malta and to take an amount of the public transport off the roads. This would not only be a benefit for the environment, but for all people who have to or want to travel across the island.

      • Crucy Grima says:

        I so agree with Gunner. A bridge or tunnel will not help the Gozitan people it will only benefit those living in Malta as not they will have an even easier way to come to Gozo. Gozo is already becoming congested in reference to transportation can you imagine a bridge. Go to Rabat on a summer day and try to park, it could take you an hour finding parking might as well walk.

    5. Anthoney says:

      I fully agree with you mr Tyrrell I do follow your comments and they really make sense .An aircraft is pure madness .All we need is more frequent ferry service

      • Rev George Mercieca says:

        The Russian helicopter service was a good link for those who wanted to catch a plane
        at the Malta International Airport but it carried few people apart from being more expensive.
        The Gozo Channel is kind enough to board for free all those who have a Karta Anzjan.
        This is a real free kindness and generosity.

      • Lourens Diedericks says:

        With just the money spend on the assessment, the government could have introduced a smaller faster ferry for pedestrians only.

        Bus-boats are being used all over the world in the same conditions and distances.

        A major construction project like what they are proposing will surely ruin the Maltese archipelago and even more Gozo.

        It is very true that Gozo is so unique and a permanent connection will do more damage than good in the long run.

      • Rev George Mercieca says:

        There was the hovercraft too and we used to go to Valletta or Sliema in no time. We used to finish our trip even at Marsalforn in the summer if we wanted to. Even this comomdity was taken away! Unsustainable? We tried all options helicopter/hovercraft but it did not last long. What remains now is bridge, tunnel or funicular!!
        Rev. George Mercieca
        Victoria.

    6. Jessica Micallef says:

      As a tourist, I enjoyed the serene quality of Gozo. I think by building the bridge or tunnel it is defintely going to loose that quality. No doubt it will create significantly more traffic, which is defintely going to become a problem given Gozos small spaced roads. This increase in traffic will bring with it an increase in noise and air pollution that will cause a heap of other issues. In addition just general polution will increase, Imagine the rise in people visiting the island that this will provide…Now I understand that this aspect will be good for the economy but that also means a lot more rubbish and so on.

      I understand that it will provide great benefits for economy and so on but in the long run I think it will cause a lot more issues. I think for the moment time and money could be spent on projects that could reap greater benefits for the island.

    7. Marie Micalle Sweden says:

      We also agree that a bridge would really spoil Gozo and the tranquility people finds there. Also one has to consider the many jobs that Gozo Channel offers to people in Gozo.No lets hope they rethink this and leave it as it is as it is a paradise for people who likes quiteness and less traffic.

    8. Peter Caruana says:

      I had already expressed my opinion on this issue when the previous administration had carried out a superficial study of tunneling to Gozo! A foreign company experienced in carrying out this job gave a rate per meter which was astronomical ! At the time I said that, in principal, I have to disagree with any form of road link to our sister island for the same reasons given above by other readers, although, given the choice I would prefer a tunnel to a bridge.
      My argument at the time goes beyond a link to Gozo …….
      I know it might sound impossible but I dream of our own new engineers and architects engineering everything that is need to create our own tunneling machines, conveyor belts , fresh air inducers …… the lot , so that , if an agreement could be reached we could tunnel and link Malta to Sicily , and also , even more ambitious , down to north Africa . Can you imagine the benefits that would bring if we were the gate keepers for direct transport between Europe and Africa ?
      Just a dream

      • Oliver Cini says:

        I see your dream of that a tunnel between sicily and north africa passing via malta to make much sense in fact Eu had published a study and we have competitors. Italy wanted the tunnel to pass from pantelleria rather than in malta.

      • Peter Caruana says:

        The first thing that would need to happen is the creation of a forum Oliver ! I was hoping more like minded people , possibly even sharing the same dream, would start to converse on this issue ! But it seems , Malta being small , also dreams small and can never aspire to take on something itself, larger than the management ( mismanagement ) of it’s local infrastructure, councils ….
        The euro tunnel was an agreement between France and the UK . 50/50 . The same would need to be done with Sicily and Libya . They would have to tunnel half the route and meet half way in both geopolitical, and economic symbolic treaty.

    9. Corto Gozo says:

      I come from France. In my country they built a bridge to connect île de Ré, a beautiful and wild island in the Atlantic ocean, to the continent. Today the result is : thousands and more of people invading he island in summer, prices raising, pollution and noise, cars and buses and trucks everywhere. A nightmare. Please don’t do this huge mistake !

    10. lesley kreupl says:

      The problem of getting to a destination (work or study) on Malta is not the 25 minute ferry ride between the islands, but the horrendous traffic situation on Malta. The current public transport system is certainly not efficient and the roads are appalling. A bridge or tunnel may knock off ten or fifteen minutes travelling time between the islands, but as I see it, the main problem is the traffic in Malta, especially during rush-hour. It would be far better to spend the hundreds of millions that a bridge or tunnel would cost on an efficient rail or metro link on the main land. Alternatively, raised flyovers to key points and a fast – perhaps hydrofoil – passenger service to Valletta.

      People complain about a two-hour commute twice a day, but in many large cities, that is the norm and in far worse weather conditions than occur here. I know, I did it for 30 years!

      A bridge or tunnel would be a disaster for the magic that is Gozo and be aware that the toll would need to be much higher than the ferry fare!

    11. Oliver Cini says:

      There is a simpler solution , rather than a full fledged bridge or tunnel , there could be a bridge with a small train for cargo and people for example the train could depart from Valletta and go directly to victoria. that will minimise the stress induced by the traffic and still give a permanent link to gozo.

      Helping those that need to have to come to malta on regular bases and helping gozo with more tourists. besides that Having a permanent link will help in times of very need like hospital etc since a train is very much faster. plus keeping the carbon footprint low as well.

    12. Peter says:

      Gozitans not only want a bridge or a tunnel but we are in dire need of one or the other to help us solve our work,health,education,business,social and other daily problems.

    13. Jane says:

      In my opinion the most sensible suggestion so far is the suggestion about a fast, efficient passenger service to Valletta. There must have been studies showing the ultimate destination of passengers leaving Cirkewwa but it would be my guess that most people are going to Valletta (apologies if this is not correct) . If there could be an excellent service to where most people want to go it would be beneficial to tourists and commuters alike and also might encourage people to leave their cars at home and so reduce pollution.
      Obviously there would be the initial investment of buying such vessels but at least they could be sold if, for some reason, the service was not a success.
      Fares would be higher than on the current ferries but if the government had the choice of facing the expense and disruption of a bridge, tunnel, flyovers or rail links on the one hand or providing subsidies for certain categories of passengers on the other hand they might think the subsidies were money well spent.

    14. Anthony Grech says:

      Lets put our brains where it should be, and think what is going to be done if it is going too. Why don’t the people of Malta and especially of Gozo, that they do not…… repeat do not want any thing done. They are afraid of all the traffic that comes from Malta. What about now? In my opinion there are lots of cars in Gozo and no place to park. They park where they want and even if they can’t park here or there. Oh yes, blocking the door ways to peoples houses. The police should ticket these individuals; but from the other hand they too are not doing their job, except to go to work and get paid for being there. So lets put the bickering behind you and let a bridge or tunnel be built. Wake up people.

    15. Charlie says:

      By the Number of Negative comments its very clear that Gozo should stay as it is a Tranquil and relaxing place to stay either long term or short also consider the health risk to the population with the increase in Pollution” KEEP GOZO AS IT IS BEAUTIFUL”.

    16. Oliver Cini says:

      After thinking a little bit about all the pros and cons of constructing a bridge or a tunnel, I have to admit that both are not suitable for the current situation. therefore I thought of an other solution which would envelop all the pro and diminishing the cons. I suggestion would be a subway from valletta to victoria , passing from mater dei, gzira sliema, pembroke bugibba and mellieha, comino, nadur and victoria. this way commuters will have the possibility of a fast transport between the island weather will not effect such service, NO Cars are used and more the that we will preserve gozo from the blistering traffic.

      • Gunnar Boehme says:

        Bravo! This sounds ambitious but severe problems ask for ambitious forward-looking and integrated solutions. A bit more “Thinking-out-of-the-box”, to make sure we not get out of the frying pan into the fire.

    17. Don Cockrill says:

      The solution is actually very simple and will satisfy almost all of the demands being made by the various parties participating in this debate. The current ferries are getting close to the end of their designed life-span, replacement ferries are needed. Without increasing the size a great deal they can be replaced by modern, manouverable, more powerful and fast ships (20 knots) with increased vehicle and passenger capacity. The ships can in part or full be built in Malta (as were the existing ships) and by simply building a proper passenger facility at Ca Maison where the freight service runs, a commuter schedule could be made at peak times with the current Cirkewa service being reduced to an hourly service. In periods of bad weather and outside of peak commuter periods, the current Cirkewa service would prevail. Result is Maltese built ships using legitimate Maltese subsidies (under EU laws) employment for Maltese citizens and no damage to the fabulous island of Gozo.

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