By Bejay Browne
PAPHOS MAY get a new watchtower and extended working hours for lifeguards, if the head of the beaches committee gets his way.
Andreas Chrysanthou, who heads the municipality’s beaches committee, said he has the support of many councilors and hopes to realise his two main aims by next year.
“I hope to build a life guard tower somewhere in the vicinity of ‘Ta Bania’ on the Kato Paphos seafront,” said, explaining that many people have told him that the lifeguards in the area don’t have the optimum view of the bathing area.
The entire area around ‘Ta Bania’ is busy, popular with both tourists and locals alike.“It will be for the people’s good and the area could do with one more life guard tower at least,” he said.
The beaches head says he hopes to be secure the necessary funds by saving money from the maintenance and cleaning budget, noting that there are two separate budgets granted by the municipality of Paphos – one for the lifeguards and their equipment, and one for maintenance and cleaning of the beaches.
The total budget for next year is 138,000 euros, of which 70,000 euros is for lifeguards’ wages and their equipment – such as defibrillators and jet skis – and another 68,000 for maintenance and cleaning.
“There is no point in building any old thing. The tower will have to meet all the relevant international specifications and will cost about 5,000 to 10,000 euros. I hope it can be completed next year.”
Chrysanthou also wants to extend the Paphos lifeguards’ working hours, to enable better supervision of the beaches and the sea. Currently, the summer working hours are from 11am to 6 or 6.30pm.
“Ideally I would like them to start work at 9am, but this will stretch the already-limited funds too far.”
He said that, in line with regulations, the cost will be shared with the district administration. This means lifeguards will start work one hour earlier, at 10am.
In the meantime, the beaches head confirmed that no further measures would be taken at a 3-kilometre stretch of the Paphos coastline from Chlorakas to Kissonerga where killer seas have claimed 13 lives over the last decade.
“We met with the police, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and the District Office on the matter of the dangerous seas. We decided that once again, no license would be given to a nearby hotel to allow them to place sun beds and umbrellas on this particular beach which has a deadly rip current and high waves. We mustn’t encourage people to use a beach and sea where their lives could be in danger.”
The deadly stretch of coast is in the middle of a popular tourist area with more than 15 large hotels and complexes, and a new hotel complex is also under construction in the area.
The Paphos beaches committee, local businesses and residents still say that the only real solution for the deadly coastline would be to build costly wave barriers, which carry a price tag of millions of euros.