So, what’s go­ing on in Fa­m­a­gusta and Par­al­imni?

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

About two years ago, I wrote about the three con­tain­ers placed in Pro­taras placed on the beach, yet be­yond the beach pro­tected zone, some 200 me­ters north of the Yianna Marie. Ar­ranged in line, all three have been turned into hol­i­day homes with stone and wooden trunks, sim­i­lar to a cow boy farm, ex­tended with per­go­las, lawn was planted, but there is no road, no clean wa­ter, no elec­tric­ity and no san­i­ta­tion or sew­er­age link, thus in­fect­ing the beach. They have been lined along the pedes­trian area of Pro­taras, sup­pos­edly the jewel in the re­sort, yet in full view of lo­cal and for­eign visi­tors, while some even have bill­board up say­ing they are avail­able for rent.

Dur­ing a visit last week and to my great sur­prise (as I had ex­pected the Mayor or the Dis­trict Of­fi­cer to be sen­si­tised enough to is­sue a de­mo­li­tion or­der), I ob­served that ad­di­tional con­tain­ers have cropped up, with the to­tal for the “set­tle­ment” now reach­ing seven units.

Along the same road and with a sim­i­lar tech­nique used, one can find three ‘café’ pubs again with­out proper road ac­cess, toi­lets, etc., that have been in full op­er­a­tion for four years, with the tol­er­ance of the lo­cal author­i­ties.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there are some ho­tels that have il­le­gally grabbed public or gov­ern­ment land that lies within the pro­tec­tion zone of the beach, they have erected fa­cil­i­ties and kiosks that op­er­ate as out­door cafes, selling al­co­holic drinks, etc. While the Town Plan­ning Au­thor­ity pro­hibits the con­struc­tion of a pri­vate road ac­cess to a pri­vate res­i­dence within the pro­tec­tion zone, these same author­i­ties have built public park­ing ar­eas within the pro­tec­tion zone. A con­tra­dic­tion, wouldn’t you say Mr Dis­trict Of­fi­cer?

For the own­ers or op­er­a­tors of these fa­cil­i­ties to have the au­dac­ity and out­right ridicule of the law, they must surely be en­joy­ing the be­hind-the-scenes sup­port or oth­er­wise of cer­tain public of­fi­cials, prob­a­bly within the Par­al­imni mu­nic­i­pal­ity it­self. Cer­tainly, I do not want to blame the honourable public of­fi­cials (Mayor and Dis­trict Of­fi­cer) for pur­posely turn­ing a blind eye to what is go­ing on in the area, but re­gard­less of what ac­tions they have or seem to have taken, surely the illegal op­er­a­tion of the var­i­ous cafés, pubs and “hol­i­day homes” in the past 3-4 years can­not be jus­ti­fied. Could it be that the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s of­fice has stum­bled upon a ma­jor ob­sta­cle that pre­vents le­gal ac­tion from be­ing taken to de­mol­ish these eye­sores and haz­ards of health and safety? Or is the At­tor­ney Gen­eral un­aware of the sit­u­a­tion?

So, to put it into con­text, a house on the beach of Pro­taras has an av­er­age selling price of EUR 7,000/sq.m. In this case, we’re talk­ing about the con­ver­sion of a 70 sq.m. con­tainer, which even with a sales value of EUR 3,500/sq.m. equals 245,000, mi­nus the pur­chase cost of con­tainer and con­ver­sion of about 35,000. Thus, the net profit along with land is EUR 210,000. This means that with an in­vest­ment of EUR 35,000 you can earn a cool EUR 210,000 (along with the land). Not bad for those who be­lieve that gam­bling, pros­ti­tu­tion and drugs can turn an easy profit. The moral of the story is sim­ple: build fear­lessly and il­le­gally and the Mayor will prob­a­bly not do any­thing.

Per­haps it is about time that the com­pe­tent Min­is­ter of In­te­rior looks into the mat­ter be­cause the bla­tant vi­o­la­tions are un­bear­able. It is not right that on the one hand, re­marks are made about fully li­censed build­ings for me­nial is­sues, that an en­tire leg­is­la­tion has been in­tro­duced for ur­ban de­vel­op­ment amnesty in the case of build­ings that were built with proper per­mits, but may have some mi­nor ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties, while on the other hand to tol­er­ate this gross il­le­gal­ity, on the most ex­pen­sive beach in Cyprus, a beach where the state has in­vested mil­lions. It is also un­fair for other le­git­i­mate busi­nesses and de­vel­op­ers, as well as res­tau­rant and other li­censed fa­cil­ity own­ers to be forced to com­pete with these ridicu­lous sit­u­a­tions.

There is a com­plete lack of en­force­ment of the law, es­pe­cially in bla­tant and un­ac­cept­able cases. Coastal land is con­verted into park­ing lots, ramps for chil­dren and the dis­abled are be­ing taken over by cars for park­ing, while con­struc­tion work goes on at all hours of the week­end, es­pe­cially in the case of illegal al­ter­ations at ho­tels and other busi­nesses. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Par­al­imni is call­ing on peo­ple from other dis­tricts to visit their area, but for what? To see the beau­ti­ful na­ture that God gave us but also to wit­ness the tol­er­ance with which lo­cal author­i­ties al­low these il­le­gals to de­stroy it?

Shame on who­ever is re­spon­si­ble for this sit­u­a­tion.

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