By Bejay Browne
THE move to clear up Paphos and present a better image for the town is well underway and no exceptions will be made, according to the mayor.
Phedonas Phedonos told the Cyprus Mail that the aim of the municipality is to present an overall pleasing view for both residents and visitors.
“There will be no exception for anybody, whoever they are, there are many planning illegalities in the town which have been tolerated but this has changed. I hope that by the end of the year, the main illegalities will have been addressed and removed.”
A number of these are in Kato Paphos, said Phedonos, including a platform belong to the Almyra hotel, which had been operating as a popular ouzeri.
Natasha Michaelides of the Thanos Hotel group, which own and operate Almyra, said that the platform had been dismantled earlier in the week in order to comply with regulations. The ouzeri will continue to operate from the hotel’s seaside veranda.
Another platform operating at the other end of the coastal walkway close to Amphora and suite 48 has been removed by Kouroushi Developers and the concrete base will also be removed, said the mayor.
A seaside café which has built a structure and placed illegal tables and chairs in the area of the municipal baths in Kato Paphos was also being cleared, but the mayor said that on Wednesday, they seem to have stopped.
“If they don’t comply, it’s the responsibility of the municipality to remove them either on Thursday or Friday, and this will be enforced,” he warned.
Phedonos also said that an illegal workshop close to the Markideion theatre would be removed by October 10th, after the owner has committed to comply with a notice from the municipality.
The mayor said that the council is determined to remove illegal structures, tables and chairs which are encroaching on public spaces and also large signs and billboards.
“We have already removed seven large trucks full of signs and billboards which were places illegally around Paphos and we will continue to do so until they are all gone.”
Phedonos made a number of ‘clean-up’ promises prior to his election, after disgraced former mayor Savvas Vergas stepped down. Vergas is currently serving a six year prison term for corruption offences committed during the construction of the town’s sewerage system between 1999 and 2014.
These promises included restoring the public’s faith in officials and wiping out corruption by showing zero tolerance to such practices. He also promised to clear up the towns urban planning illegalities and ensure a number of upgrading programmes are implemented.
In June, president Nicos Anastasiades announced €60m worth of projects for Paphos during a ‘tour’ of all of the districts in Cyprus to announce development plans. There are 19 in total for Paphos and will include the regeneration of the traditional shopping centre and Kennedy Square at a cost of €6 million in total, regeneration of the old town shopping area costing €6m, the restoration of the municipal market for €2.5m and the upgrading and enhancement of Markideion Theatre for €3.6m.
“As planned, we hope the first of the projects for Paphos will get underway at the beginning of November,” said the mayor.
Other projects include; connecting and enhancing the squares of October 28, Kosti Palama and Dionysios Solomos, surrounding Paphos town hall, the expansion of Paphos police station, an additional floor for Paphos court, a project to join together Paphos archaeological sites, the improvement of Paphos archaeological museum, and the construction of breakwaters at a notoriously deadly stretch of coastline close to the Venus Beach hotel.
The president also said that the government would also help the town to better promote itself as the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2017 and would go ahead with a number of restoration projects.
The mayor said the municipality is determined to get Paphos in order ahead of 2017.
“We also have 75 kiosks operating in Paphos and 95% of these are illegal buildings. We are starting to get rid of all of the illegal structures and our aim is to ensure they all comply,” warned Phedonos.