Residents to vote on Marsaxlokk market closing time
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Residents to vote on Marsaxlokk market closing time

Council wants enough time to clean up the promenade

The vote will decide whether the market in Marsaxlokk should be made to close at 3pm. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The vote will decide whether the market in Marsaxlokk should be made to close at 3pm. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Marsaxlokk residents will this week vote in a referendum whether the town’s seaside open market should have a strict closing time or not.  

Mayor Horace Gauci told the Times of Malta the vote would decide whether the monti should be made to close at 3pm, giving cleaners enough time to tidy up the mess left behind from the dozens of market stalls and still allow residents to enjoy a sunset stroll.

“Today we have a situation where the stalls close up at sundown, and by the time that the promenade is clear of stalls, there is a mess and no one can enjoy the area,” he said. 

The mayor said the Marsaxlokk local council recently reached a unanimous agreement that the Sunday open market along the wharf should be closed by no later than 3pm. The local vote will not be managed by the Electoral Commission, although Mr Gauci said they had consulted them and would be employing professionals to ensure all was done in accordance with the law.

Today we have a situation where the stalls close up at sundown

The poll will be held between 7am and 7pm at the local council offices on Saturday. 

This will be the first vote open to 16-year-olds, who will later this year be voting in the European Parliament and local council elections.

According to Mr Gauci, a preliminary poll conducted among sellers found that four in five agreed with the need for a strict cut-off time. Although some had raised concerns that forcing them to close at 3pm would affect sales, the council noted that most markets ended by not much later than 1pm.

Asked how residents felt about the situation, Mr Gauci said the council had not conducted any surveys among those living in the area. However, the decision to go for a referendum was based on feedback and complaints that local councillors had received over the years. 

Meanwhile, the government has launched a White Paper on open markets and is receiving feedback from stakeholders until February. Mr Gauci said the local council agreed with all the points raised in the government’s document other than the times being set.

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