From time to time, various situations that can only be described as «Οdd» come to our attention - either through our own experience or through our reader’s information. We understand that some of these odd situations occur in third/undeveloped countries, but not to an E.U. member (such as Cyprus) which aspires to become itself to a similar level as other E.U. members (be it sometime in the future).
A commercial and residential project which erected 40 years ago along Paphos seaside road (Poseidonos) is in turmoil. The project has a wide private pavement along the road and the local shops took over some of the private pavement and used it for placing tables and goods for the passers-by, by creating a certain cacophony and interrupting the smooth pedestrian flow.
Approximately 10 years ago, the Municipality of Paphos wrote to the shop owners suggesting the extension of the shops to a certain line within the private pavement and suggested a uniform structure for an extension charging the owners approximately €20.000/each. Duly paid and constructed (by the Municipality) the project was improved in its appearance and utilization for all, customers/dinners/bar users etc. Suddenly and after 10 years of the “new” project operation, the administrative committee wrote to the shop owners suing them for damages etc for an illegal extension (by whom?).
The private pavement extension was done by the Planning Authority (the Municipality of Paphos). So, who is to blame, the owners, the administrative committee, the Municipality? (Either of the last two but not the owners). A mess, dear reader, with a similar situation appearing along the hotels’ road in Paralimni and Ayia Napa, as well as just about every shop in Cyprus (such as cafes extensions into the private pavements). A most interesting court case when it comes to the court and more interesting, we will examine with interest the Court’s decision.
Paralimni seashore protection zone
Another most odd situation is that whereas the private owned properties cannot build any structure within the seashore protection zone (not even a pergola), the Municipality of Paralimni has leased beach properties within the protection zone and has erected/allowed to, the building of kiosks (for the sale of refreshments) which suddenly are converted into bar/snack bar and restaurants. So, the same Planning Authority is the one who contravenes the law. Also, a more shocking fact is that whereas the District Officer has applied to the Municipality to demolish such structures, the Municipality does not bother to reply (we have the correspondence in hand).
The Pissouri subsidence and other
Another odd situation is the subsidence of the soil in the Pissouri region (one locality) as well as in Armou village and others. On the one hand, the building laws require that the building design structures should be approved by the District Officer, but quite oddly, the Auditor General says that the approval of the structure design is just a formality and as such the Government has no responsibility. Why then the requirements of approval for the structures? – Odd?
Increased Building Density
The recently introduced increased building density for certain areas has created problems regarding the density of existing properties and including the height, causing damage to the original buyers both in terms of occupier’s density, as well as matters of view, sunlight etc. On the other hand, we understand that eligible owners can utilize the increased density, but on the other hand we are faced with damage to others. Who will pay any reasonable compensation for those affected and who is in the wrong? – Odd.
So here we are. We have built a new motorway connecting Paphos airport to the town for approximately 15km, but environmental issues have now arisen in order to complete the remaining 1km of the highway. As a result there is no link which will facilitate the shortening of the airport/town travel by approximately 15 minutes time. No one knows how this situation can be resolved – Very odd.
In our opinion, we should place due weight to the environment, but on the other hand we should place more weight to the safety of travelers and the wellbeing of the locals and the economy. Who has a priority?
The Ayia Napa Golf
What a situation dear reader. Here we are with Ayia Napa/Paralimni Municipality hosting 40% of the tourism, having the shortest season and the golf which could help extend the season and provide jobs for the locals and others. Yet, the same people who would have benefited from this project, are the same people who voted ‘No’ for their own small politics. An odd situation indeed.
The Dhekelia Road
A similar odd situation exists with the improvement of Larnaca-Dhekelia seaside road. The three local Municipalities disagree whether the road should be widened and this notwithstanding the shocking death-traffic accidents that this road creates. So, what do we do?
Most of these ‘Nos’ come from small pressure groups, who had the same stand for Nicosia Athalassa forest to be used as a public park (which is now a jewel for Nicosia, especially for the children/parents, sports facilities etc). At that time, the Government turned a deaf ear on such protests and now, we have what a center for enjoyment by all.
Environment should be protected in our opinion, but to the extent that it does not affect the wellbeing of people. Such an issue was decided by the European Court of Justice on the expansion of the development zone into a Natura area in Hungary, which decided in favor of the wellbeing of the people. Natura does not prohibit development, but it restricts it to low density uses and with due care to the environment. We, in this country being the champions (in the wrong meaning of the word) go the other way and projects such as the Shacolas Limni development golf area come to an end, whereas the Akamas long awaited project is yet to be decided (be it that it is ongoing for the last 20 years) since the locals object to it.
We must bear in mind that in this country due to the limitations imposed by our constitution, restrictions that are imposed on real estate owners that affect the value of the real estate should be so compensated. So, who is going to pay for such a multi-million compensation?
There are other numerous odd situations such as the one of Sotira’s beach (Ayia Thekla) which is now the top destination both for locals and weddings. We believe that the beach facilities provided by the Paralimni Municipality such as showers/restrooms/changing rooms have improved the environment and health of the bathers, but yet the same so-called environmental pressure groups object to it.
It is an odd country dear reader, trying to find ourselves. Although we are improving, the procedures of democracy are such that it makes it a long effort.
As Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is not the best system, but it is the best until we find something better”.