By Bejay Browne
MEASURES are underway in Paphos to rid the town of illegal structures, in particular at Faros Beach.
The area is a popular blue-flagged beach visited by thousands of holidaymakers and tourists every year. It is now overrun with illegal structures and facilities, according to member of the Paphos municipality town planning committee Andreas Chrysanthou.
“We discussed the illegal structures and interventions at a town planning meeting two days ago and unanimously decided to recommend to the municipal council that they take legal action. It will be discussed at the next city council meeting tomorrow – Wednesday,” he told the Cyprus Mail.
According to Chrysanthou, the original structure at the beach which now includes, a cafeteria, toilets and a large covered area, was put up more than 20 years ago, during a time when local authorities turned a blind eye to such moves.
Since then, he added, more and more extensions have been made, in an area of Kato Paphos which is close to a UNESCO site and within the protection zone of the beach.
“We were aware of the structures, the engineers from the technical department have taken photographic evidence. The time for complacency is over; the time has come to stop all illegal actions and pursue all avenues to remove all of the illegalities in Paphos, this is our aim,” he added.
Chrysanthou, who also heads the Paphos beaches committee, said that Faros beach has been operated by a private individual for many years, adding that he no longer has the legal right to place sun beds and umbrellas on the beach.
“He lost that privilege on October 31. This is because he failed to submit a tender. It will now probably either go for a second tender or we (the municipality) will run it ourselves.”
Chrysanthou stressed that all legal avenues to remove any illegalities at the beach would be pursued.
“We will meet with the tenant in the coming days to discuss all the legal issues and see the outcome,” he said.
There are two licenses for Faros beach, which until now have amounted to around €16,000 annual income for the municipality. In line with new guidelines, this will increase to around €17,000 if there are any submissions, if not the beach operation will revert back to the municipality.
“We will probably make more money from it than we do now,” he said.
He noted: “In light of the recent revelations and controversy which the city has experienced, it is time to at least try to eradicate all of this bad practice. We want to clean up Paphos, that’s the message.”