By Bejay Browne
AN INJECTION of €27m urgently needed to implement necessary infrastructure in Paphos as part of the town’s cultural capital 2017 winning bid, claims the municipality.
Paphos Mayor Savvas Vergas presented a programme to members of parliament on Tuesday, consisting of various construction and infrastructure projects, which he described as “imperative for Paphos’ future”,
“The initial amount for a variety of projects was about €60 million, but some of these have now been shelved to bring down the total needed for us to be successfully represented as the Cultural Capital of Europe 2017,” Vergas told the Cyprus Mail.
In 2013, Paphos won an international competition, a title shared with Aarhus in Denmark, to become the European Capital of Culture for 2017.
Vergas said the plan for Paphos includes renovating the entire centre of the old town, including squares and shopping streets and upgrading the two theatres- Othello and Markideio.
“In addition, we also urgently need a new theatre space which would be built on an area close to the statue of Makarios’ head.”
Tuesday’s meeting took place between Vergas, Paphos councillors, the President of the House of Representatives, Yiannakis Omirou, Paphos MP’s, officials from the ministry of communications and works, the Department of European and International affairs – a section of the education ministry – and other ministerial officials.
“The reaction of the president of the house was positive and he is arranging further meetings with the ministers of finance and education to continue our progress, speed things up and to be able to help us,” said Vergas.
The mayor added that with the government’s support, Paphos hopes to be able to secure about €20 million from the EU and a further €7 million from the state.
“If work gets underway in the first few months of 2014, we will have enough time to complete everything in time for 2017,” he said.
According to CNA reports, Omirou stressed “the need for political commitment to promote and execute the projects. Should they not be ready on time, Cyprus would be “irreparably exposed,” he said.
Vergas said he had also highlighted the need for further facilities to be constructed in the waters of Paphos harbour to enable cruise ships and such like to be able to use it.
“This will swell visitor numbers and must be undertaken in the next two years if possible,” he said.
“I’m determined that Paphos will present the best face possible and I will not give up until we have what we need”.