By Angelos Anastasiou
THE Nicosia municipality’s ‘Christmas Avenue’ initiative will be the object of a court battle initiated by shopkeepers in Makarios Avenue, who feel that the project hurts their businesses, it emerged yesterday.
Two shopkeepers have filed a complaint against the municipality, demanding that the undertaking be disbanded.
Christmas Avenue is an arrangement organised by the Nicosia municipality during the holiday season, from November 30 to January 7, by which part of the Makarios Avenue – one of the capital’s busiest commercial streets – was closed for traffic and turned into a pedestrian area hosting a number of Christmas events and featuring prefabricated shops set up for the occasion.
But it seems that the festive effort was met with less enthusiasm than the municipality anticipated.
Two shop-owners, who have collected 150 signatures in support of their cause in “just two days”, have asked the Supreme Court to ban the initiative as it hurts their business.
In the complaint, the businessmen claim that the municipality has approved the erection of wooden structures and closed off the street without the written authorisation or consent of the Public Works department, in violation of the law on public roads.
“The Nicosia municipality has decided to cut off the capital’s central artery, Makarios Avenue, construct wooden houses which it rents out for financial gain, and set up other structures along the road, organising an event named ‘Christmas Avenue’,” the businessmen said.
“This event offers nothing other than noise to the public, traffic inconveniences, congestion in nearby roads, and the pollution of Makarios Avenue.”
The complainants claimed that they face the same problems every year, because of ‘Christmas Avenue’.
“Our clients, every year the central artery is blocked because of the traffic congestion, complain to us that they can’t and won’t endure the inconvenience of coming to Nicosia,” the businessmen said.
The complaint was filed last Friday, along with a request for cessation orders against the municipality.
However, the court ruled that the municipality should be informed before any action was taken.
The complaint has now been forwarded to the municipality, and the two sides will appear before the Supreme Court on Friday.
Citing unnamed sources, Politis newspaper said that the municipality plans to object to the issuance of cessation orders. Courts, the paper said, tend to be extremely cautious before issuing such orders, except in instances where illegality is evident.
The municipality could not be reached for comment yesterday.