BY THE end of this year the government will have a complete picture of how the broader Troodos area can be developed as a single entity, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Saturday.
Addressing the AGM of the Troodos Development company, Anastasiades said: “We will soon be ready to give a comprehensive picture of what we seek.” He promised a more decisive contribution from the state than has been seen up until now.
“We have a common vision for the development of the Troodos region as a single entity and its promotion as an attractive place to live with a local economy based on culture and heritage,” he said, adding that part of the plan was to increase the population in the mountainous area and to provide employment opportunities and a better quality of life to encourage residents to remain.
Anastasiades said that the cabinet in March 2015 approved a comprehensive plan of Troodos region including the utilisation of state property in the heart of the region through leasing or licensing of land and or buildings.
Referring to the invitation to tender to appoint a specialised consortium Anastasiades said bids had been submitted from consultants and were being assessed and that these advisory services would formulate proposals for long-term development of the broader Troodos range including the infrastructure needed to strengthen the attractiveness of the region. These consultants would work with the state’s privatisation unit, he added.
All studies and recommendations, he said, would take into account the future characteristics of the area, while the consultants would also take into account the views of the various state services, local authorities and the Troodos Development Company.
The consultations are expected to be finished this year and implementation of the proposals due to begin next year.
“The state will be by your side for anything you may need,” he told the AGM.
He also referred to the completion of the first major project in the area, the Visitors Centre at the Troodos Geopark, which opened last year. It was, he said, a vehicle to hold special events, conferences and to attract both the public and tourists but also scientists who regularly study the Troodos mountains geological formations.
“This will contribute significantly to the increase in visitors to the region, and thus boost the development and implementation of projects by the private sector, creating new jobs,” he said, adding that the way it was designed was in harmony with nature and cultural heritage that could become a model for Europe.
He also reminded attendees that the state had approved a budget of €3m for the upgrade of the Kyperounda hospital and the creation of a modern TB clinic based on European standards.
As far as other future plans were concerned, Anastasiades mentioned more private sector investment such as the creation of a single hotel complex, the development of Platania that could make use of existing buildings to turn it into a ‘forest village’ for tourists, and a theme park that would involve the rehabilitation of the mining area of Amiandos.
Anastasiades also mention a donation of €11 million from businessman Angelos Tsirides for the creation of a natural history museum of more than 5,000 square metres. This was going to be part of the studies done in the coming months, he said.
Referring to the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme, Anastasiades said that it would continue to finance both public infrastructure, which will improve the quality of life and diversification of the economy in rural areas, and private initiative projects, which will be implemented under the rural tourism plan, aiming at a comprehensive development.
He recalled that the Troodos Development Company was expected to receive €2.7 million for the implementation of a local development strategy, through which will be funded agro-tourism projects and public infrastructure. There would also be a 60 per cent increase in the budget for communities in the Troodos region, he said compared to the 2007-2013 figure.