By DJ Slimin
Being a retired naval architect living in Paphos, for the past 15 years, I have read with interest in the various local newspapers about the politically motivated and poorly thought out proposal for the delayed dual carriageway that splits the tourist area of the Tombs of the Kings Road in two.
I assume the idea behind this proposal is that the taxis and coaches will be able to transfer tourists a few minutes quicker than they can do at present to and from Paphos airport to the various seafront hotels in Kato Paphos, Chlorakas and Coral Bay owned by the millionaire hoteliers.
Incidentally, the dual-carriageway at present stops short of the airport by some five kilometres and there is no news from the authorities as to why this is so and when this section will be completed!
However, with a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour being imposed by the local authorities, overtaking is legally out of the question and therefore the overtaking lane is unnecessary. Furthermore, this speed limit theoretically hinders taxi drivers and coaches from delivering their passengers “speedily” to and from the airport within the statutory speed limit imposed by the local authorities!
This scheme does not however help to reduce the number of taxis and coaches on the already overloaded roads of Paphos district, and therefore it does not help to reduce the air pollution to the seasonally dusty and increasingly polluted atmosphere of Paphos, a subject which receives very little mention if any in local magazines and newspapers!
Having covered and read about the many Water Bus Systems that operate very successfully in and around world cities which have water adjacent to them i.e. London, Paris, Venice, New York, Sydney etc. a quick and simple feasibility study will show that the Paphos climate and coastal waters would be ideal for a similar system.
It would have precluded the building of this unnecessary and expensive dual carriageway through the once idyllic town of Kato Paphos. Instead the money could have been better spent on water buses and jetties using the Mediterranean coast as a highway instead of tearing up Kato Paphos and filling it with more concrete and tarmac.
With Paphos airport terminal buildings being sited adjacent to the seashore, a covered access with a travelator could have been constructed to transfer passengers to and from the airport terminal to a well lit and protected jetty where the awaiting water buses could then transfer large numbers to and from the various “seafront” hotels in Kato Paphos , Geroskipou, Chlorakas and Coral Bay.
These glass-topped water buses would also provide the perfect instant panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea, sea front hotels and surrounding hillsides to the many first time visitors arriving in Paphos instead of being herded into existing coaches and expensive high speed taxis bound for their hotel destinations which afford limited views of Paphos.
First time visual impressions, together with a courier explaining the various sights of the surrounding area, are most important for selling Paphos to the incoming first time visitors.
This building contract however would benefit from being placed in the hands of private contractors (i.e. the hoteliers since they are the ones that benefit from this system). It has been shown that costs can run out of control when being built and operated in the public sector (i.e. the existing dual carriageway is incurring penalties and is costing, according to the newspapers, 16 million euros for five kilometres).
Each hotelier could sponsor their own jetty and water buses and they could also be used by the various hotels to transport their tourists on day trips to Polis and Limassol, etc
In addition to the permanent water bus jetties, mobile wooden jetties could also be easily installed by the local municipalities at the various beaches between Limassol and Polis, whereby the sights of the Akamas and Aphrodite’s Rock etc. could be visited. These mobile wooden framed jetties (cheap to build and install) fitted with large rubber wheels could easily be retracted from the sea during the heavy winter storms thereby preventing heavy weather damage.
Obviously coach and taxi companies will lose trade, however, with the introduction of a water bus system many of the people employed on the land based coaches and taxis could be transferred onto the operation of a water bus service.
There could even be the thought of introducing a “small” GRP/wooden boat building and engineering yard in the Paphos area which would be required to maintain and repair these water buses.
There already exists the expertise in Kato Paphos via Blue Line boat building company, a small company in the back streets of Kato Paphos who employ a handful of men, who could give guidance and assistance and would offer further employment (of which there is a desperate shortage!) to those who may lose their present employment.
Maybe the application for a grant from the European Union could assist in the construction of the boat yard!
The bottom line is that these water buses would be unique to Cyprus and offer a huge tourist attraction and would probably serve to boost the number of tourists on which the people of Paphos depend so heavily.
DJ SLIMIN, C. Eng MRINA Retired