The transport ministry said on Monday it will be submitting a proposal to the cabinet by the end of July on how to resolve an impasse stemming from a proposal to build a €23 million floating project off the coast of Larnaca.
Spokesman for the ministry Demetris Constantinou told the Cyprus Mail that there were gaps in the legislation allowing the construction of a development in the sea off the Piale Pasa area which would be connected to dry land with a 100 metre pier.
Toumazos Andreou Enterprises submitted a proposal in 2014 to for the project which would include restaurants, cafes, swimming pools and conference rooms. Up to 300 jobs would also be created, the developers said.
In October 2015, the attorney-general, in response to a query by the department of merchant shipping, said there were no provisions in the law regarding granting a licence for a floating project in waters governed by the Republic of Cyprus.
He said that according to the constitution, it is the cabinet which is responsible on matters regarding Cyprus’ territory however there is no law regulating this specific matter.
“There is currently a gap right now,” Constantinou said which may require parliament passing a bill to harmonise the current legislation.
In its last session, the cabinet decided that Transport Minister Marios Demetriades and Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides will discuss and seek the legal opinion of the attorney-general once again, he added.
“In any case, the ministry will have to submit to cabinet a proposal by the end of July.”
Part of the problem is that too many departments are involved, sources close to the project have told the Cyprus Mail. So far, the environmental department, antiquities department, department of merchant shipping and the ports authority are all involved.
Irene Constantinou, which dealt with the case in her capacity at the department of environment, told the Cyprus Mail that several concerns had arisen when they had examined the case.
An ad hoc committee comprising of all the relevant department was set up to discuss all the issues surrounding the case.
“We were told the project had the capacity to hold up to 2,000 people,” she said. This brought up questions surrounding safety and ensuring the construction would not collapse.
According to Constantinou, the committee had also set conditions on waste management and recycling, requiring the environment was not harmed or affected in any negative way.
“We’re talking about the sea, we can’t have any waste go into the sea. This is also an area where people go to swim.”
Another issue was that this area of the coast has shallow waters and every year, bulldozers were brought in to remove sand that accumulated around the coast.
There were also discussions on the lighting and sound that would emanate from the floating project. “It requires power. The restaurants, cafes, and so on would need a generator,” she said, and this raise issues of the fuel the services would need.
In a correspondence seen by the Cyprus Mail dated April 15, 2016, from the environmental department to Panicos Nicolaides, the engineer for the company, said that provided all the requirements could be met, a permit could be granted.
Larnaca mayor Andreas Vyras told the Cyprus Mail on Monday that delays were stemming from the legal gaps that had come to light.
“We are very positive about this development. If they manage to meet all the requirements from all the departments then this is a welcome development for our city,” he said.
Nicolaides was not immediately available for comment.