Lar­naca un­de­cided if it wants growth

E DII TO RII A L

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

are

Lar­nacans face a dilemma – do they want real growth that will trans­form the town from a back­wa­ter air­port host to a bustling busi­ness cen­tre, or are they con­tent with the slow pace of events where a mass wed­ding of tourists seemed like the cul­tural high­light of the year?

It makes one won­der why the lo­cals would beat the war drums and rally pub­lic sup­port for a protest on Wed­nes­day to op­pose the de­vel­op­ment of their near-de­serted port at a time when the is­land has dried up on new projects and people and businesses are des­per­ate for work. Plans that will de­ter­mine the fate of the port are still on the draw­ing board, which begs the ques­tions, “how do the protest or­gan­is­ers know what the de­signs will be” and “what’s in it (or not) for them”?

The fact that the Re­Act cam­paign, ini­ti­ated on face­book and al­legedly sup­ported by po­lit­i­cal par­ties and key per­son­al­i­ties, had enough funds to print a leaflet in the thou­sands, sug­gests that there must be a spon­sor. And if so, what are the vested in­ter­ests?

Protests alone will change noth­ing. In­stead of wast­ing money and caus­ing (mild) havoc to week­day traf­fic, the cam­paign funds could have been bet­ter di­verted to com­mis­sion­ing an al­ter­na­tive plan to present to the lo­cal mayor and to the cham­ber of com­merce.

If there

fears

that mil­lions of

tonnes of chem­i­cals will be dumped in Arad­hip­pou, surely there must be rules on how to han­dle toxic and nu­clear waste. But if the whole cam­paign is an ex­ag­ger­a­tion of the min­i­mal amounts of ra­dioac­tive ma­te­rial linked to the oil and gas ex­plo­ration com­pa­nies that want to use parts of Lar­naca port for their stor­age ( as oth­ers al­ready do), then maybe we are stretch­ing our imag­i­na­tion a bit.

There’s no doubt that Lar­naca des­per­ately needs a mega-project. Un­til such time as an in­vestor is found to re-start the ma­rina leisure com­plex, per­haps the best would be to of­fer the port fa­cil­i­ties to pay­ing com­pa­nies that would ul­ti­mately con­trib­ute to the town’s cof­fers.

But it also makes one won­der why all the fuss about such a sub­stan­tial project, at a time when restau­rant own­ers along Macken­zie beach are vi­o­lat­ing ev­ery rule in the book, grad­u­ally tak­ing up more and more of the pub­lic ar­eas, and the mayor and the Greens sit idly by, prob­a­bly on the pay­roll of some of these oper­a­tors.

Writer and phil­hel­lene Comp­ton Macken­zie would turn in his grave if he knew that his name is now syn­ony­mous to the lowly and noisy strip.

Did any­one say “qual­ity tourism”?

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