By Bejay Browne
PEYIA COUNCIL has informed the local Paphos sewerage board that it will exit the sewerage scheme after a request for an extension on outstanding bills until 2018 was unanimously denied.
The council requested the extension by majority vote after a previous ‘final’ extension for the payment of sewerage tax in Peyia required that all outstanding bills be settled by the end of June.
The deadline came after a two-month extension requested by the council, which had initially asked for a one-year delay. This was also rejected by the Paphos sewerage board (SAPA).
Peyia councilor Linda Leblanc voted against the move saying there would be major repercussions in the future.
“It’s now up to the council to decide and clarify what they will do next,” she said. “At present the EU requires that we have a sewerage system up and running by 2016. Initially the deadline was 2012, but they granted us extra time.”
Leblanc said that Peyia must now either secure a further EU extension or try to change the existing requirements.
“The main tourist area which includes Coral Bay is a priority as there are thousands of people visiting every day and the EU directive targets the protection of such areas.”
She said that Coral Bay is already suffering environmental damage due to poor water management, which will only deteriorate further if nothing is done.
A number of residents have already paid their bills and are now asking if and when they will get their money back said Leblanc. She noted that the municipality’s SAPA representative had said that any money would be returned.
“I haven’t seen anything official yet though,” she added.
Eftichios Malikides, the general manager of SAPA assured the Cyprus Mail that funds would be re-imbursed.
“Peyia and Tala have informed us that they wish to leave the scheme. This will now go to the government as there is a legal procedure to follow and this will take some time. When this is finalised, we will make an announcement and most probably we will ask people to come with their receipt of payment and we will refund their money.”
Malikides noted that the latest move is a headache for the board which had included the two areas in planning decisions for the last few years
He added that other areas had previously requested inclusion in the sewerage scheme.
“Mesoyi, Marathounda and Timi all showed an interest, but this was before the financial crisis,” he said.
“Everything was moving along and we were on track, but now we are back to square one,” she said. “As it stands, Peyia will be responsible for EU fines which will be imposed for any delays.”