The relocation of liquid fuel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and asphalt tanks from the coastal front of Larnaca is expected to be completed in early August, mayor Andreas Vyras said on Monday.

The dismantling of the tanks is one of the municipality’s long-term strategic goals, Vyras added.

“We believe that very soon Larnaca will be able to breathe safely, but also that this will open up huge opportunities for the development of this area”.

Asked about the restoration of the natural environment of the two-and-a-half-kilometre wide area, Vyras said that the priority is getting the tanks dismantled, adding that two of the three companies, Petrolina and Hellenic Petroleum, have already started the process.

The third company, ExxonMobil, is expected to take another two or three months, he added.

“After the dismantling, what matters is the restoration of the soil, which will of course depend on the percentage of contamination,” Vyras said, adding that the tanks need to be moved before an evaluation is made.

Regarding the redevelopment of the area, Vyras said that a plan has been announced aiming to cover the huge costs incurred from public and private investments. This will include planning incentives and public works that will offer return on the investments while also changing the face of the area, and Larnaca in general, he said.

The mayor added that with investment of over a billion euros, Larnaca will be ushered into a new era with the development of an integrated port and marina where the tanks are.

“For years, Larnaca has been surrounded by the airport, oil processing facilities and salt lake on all sides, but the dismantling of the tanks will liberate the coastline, so that Larnaca no longer has to envy any other city in Cyprus”.

The removal of all tanks is expected to be completed in four to five months, Vyras said, remarking that this will rid Larnaca of all liquid fuel tanks. “We will also press for the LPG tanks to be moved to Vasiliko, he added.

Finally, regarding asphalt tanks, Vyras said that the last remaining company will be leaving the area on June 30, when its license expires. “After that, there will be no asphalt facilities left on the coast,” he said.