By Bejay Browne
PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades on Monday announced €60m worth of projects for Paphos during the first stop on his ‘tour’ of all of the districts in Cyprus to announce development s plans.
“I know the problems the municipalities and Paphos communities are facing. I want to emphasise from the outset that my presence here does not mean solving all the problems,” he said.
However, he said that after hearing from local MPs and consulting with relevant ministers and local authorities, he had prioritised a number of mature projects that could be implemented. There are 19 in total.
“I am pleased to announce new projects worth €60 million. The first of these is the regeneration of the traditional shopping centre and Kennedy Square at a cost of €6 million in total and work is expected to get underway in November 2015,” he said.
These included the regeneration of the old town shopping area to the tune of €6m with an expected starting date of November, the restoration of the municipal market for €2.5m and the upgrading and enhancement of Markideion Theatre for €3.6m.
He also promised to address delays at Paphos airport that have resulted from staff shortages in the area of security and said the justice minister was dealing with the problem.
Other projects announced included; connecting and enhancing the squares of October 28, Kosti Palama and Dionysios Solomos, surrounding Paphos town hall, at a total cost of €2.2m. Work is expected to commence in December 2015 or during the first quarter of 2016.
The third phase of the expansion of Paphos police station also got the green light and will commence in December, with a €4.6m price tag.
Paphos court will get an additional floor with a total cost €5.7m. This project will also start in December.
The president also announced the November go-ahead for scheduled municipal solid waste reduction projects at seaside hotels and other similar waste production sites, with a total cost of €5m.
A project to join together Paphos archaeological sites was granted €3.5m and is also due to start in December. A total of €1.4m will be given to the improvement of Paphos archaeological museum, due to start in October.
Finally, breakwaters at a notoriously deadly stretch of coastline, where many people have drowned during the last decade, will be constructed in the sea close to the Venus Beach hotel. The project will commence in February 2016 and will cost €1.9m.
The president said that the government would also help the town to better promote itself as the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2017 and would go ahead with the following projects, which fall under the ‘Strategy for Sustainable Development’: the restoration, beautification and upgrading of the municipal market, at a total cost of €2.5m, restoration of the former cinema “Attica” and conversion to multi culture and conference tourism venue for €1.1m.
Anastasiades said: “Unification of archaeological sites and the regeneration of the old town, Kennedy Square and the squares surrounding the Paphos Town Hall, should be completed at the latest by December 2016 as from January 1, 2017 Paphos will be the European Capital of Culture.”
The municipality of Geroskipou is also to benefits from a number of projects starting between October and December including the construction of the road connecting the centre of Geroskipou with the tourist area for a total cost of €3.5m, and the construction of six additional breakwaters costing €3.5m. A health centre will also be constructed, due to start in November and costing around €1.3m.
The president also announced projects for Polis municipality include the construction of 10 wave breakers costing €5.5m, which will commence in November this year.
Anastasiades noted that another problem affecting Polis was the management of the Latchi port and its upgrading. “The ministry of transport communications and works has undertaken the preparation of a report and will present a proposal to the cabinet for final resolution of the problem in a month, thus giving the opportunity for tourist development of the port,” he said.
A multipurpose centre for the elderly in Polis was also being considered.
Anastasiades said the municipality of Peyia requested the creation of a multi-purpose hall and municipal library in Peyia, and that the ministry of the interior and the Paphos district administration, were trying to find additional funds for project’s implementation.
Finally, Anastasiades announced the construction of the Nata- Axylou – a road costing €1.8m – and the upgrading in September of the mains water pipes in lower Paphos.
The president noted that his announcement did not include projects involving rural communities, which were being dealt with by the minister if the interior and other relevant ministries.
Monday’s meeting was attended by 33 officials including the mayors of the four districts of Paphos, Neofytos Akourshiotis of Peyia, Michalis Pavlides of Geroskipou, Angelos Georgiou of Polis and Phedonas Phedonos of Paphos.
Deputy Mayors, members of parliament for Paphos, community authorities, and representatives of the district chamber of commerce and Paphos regional tourism board and other officials were also in attendance.
The president was accompanied by Minister of Finance, Harris Georgiades, Minister of the Interior, Socrates Hasikos, Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Marios Demetriades, Agriculture Minister, Nicos Kouyialis. Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides and undersecretary to the president, Constantinos Petridis.
Old-town shopkeepers shut their doors during the visit as part of a protest to revive the area and reduce unemployment. They gathered in front of Paphos town hall to highlight their problems to the president.