A wake-up call Mr. Minister
I address this article to you Mr. Minister of the Interior (Constantinos Petrides) due to your recent appointment in this demanding post and having no extensive experience on matters that affect the building industry (with special regards to ownership and sale of real estate). Certain items could be of your interest. It will be worth it to have a dedicated employee at the Ministry to study the various proposals that are suggested by the private industry say on a 6-month basis to examine these proposals and concerns that are suggested and which you may feel it worthwhile exploring.
At least as far as we are concerned with 36 years first line and not theoretical experience, many of our suggestions which were provided several years ago, surface now at a time which is late and after the event.
For this reason, I provide for you a short list of subjects which were not addressed by your predecessors and were left to escalate into serious problems appearing now. Place your mark on innovations and try to solve problems that are under the carpet for years and push forward new approaches for the industry.
Yes, you have the Technical Chamber of Commerce (ETEK) as a self-determined advisor to the state, but other than criticism and theoretical declarations, nothing more comes out of it (no surprise since the council of ETEK comprises primarily of civil servants).
Basic short list but there are many other matters:
Common Expenses Law
A law which is not workable, and it is doubtful if it is at all understood. We have provided a full analysis of our ideas and how this law can work for the benefit of the construction industry and it is a matter which will come up with increasing pressure, bearing in mind the large projects in common ownership such as the high-rise buildings, marinas, golf courses etc. – full proposal submitted 18 years ago and since then repeatedly.
Private v Public Swimming Pools
A “joke” since no one knows what is a private and a common pool. If there is a common pool this should have a lifeguard, changing rooms, first aid room etc. What is this? It does not work. Our idea was submitted 4 years ago and repeatedly ever since.
Villas to let Airbnb
We reported back in the year 2004 about the lack of policy on this. Only recently the Government has wakened up on this scam and nowadays everybody is upset including the “sleeping” Hotel Association and others.
Seashore Protection Zone
The seashore changes over the years and the prevailing law provides many unreasonable provisions. It needs to be readjusted to reflect the present circumstances and include the allowance of beach improvements within the public zone for public benefit. Some plots are now affected by 90% of their area, since the time of the initial introduction.
Planning and building permit issues
It is just not on in terms of time required for their issue. We have provided a proposal of privatization which was addressed 8 years ago and repeatedly ever since.
Minimum House/Apt size
It just does not make sense to fix a minimum size of a residential unit, causing the market to build units larger than what people can afford. Proposals since 1990 and repeat reminders.
Planning zones of the 1950’s
Only recently there were some changes on this despite our 10-year-old proposal and now we have gone the other way with skyscrapers and we have objected to this. The planning parameters by areas and the quota system is an innovative suggestion and what is needed to help the local market in each district - No response for 3 years. Now we have some sort of a proposal, but it misses the point totally.
A new requirement but the building regulations require extensive requirements for parking and this is the reason for the investors holding back (to an extent) much to the distress of foreign and local students.
A waste of a most valuable asset by earmarking planning zones at 20% as if we have the coastal line of Australia, limiting beach land only for the wealthy, whereas beach land is reducing fast against the benefit of the new generations (reported 4 years ago).
Trees & Green
A proposal to replace trees in wooded areas in the event of development with replanting and subject to a bank guarantee and including maintenance that we have provided 6 years ago is nowhere to be found, in the planning requirements.
Passports & Visas
Various warnings submitted by us 3 years ago have now surfaced for possible future problems. The E.U. is now noting this and we expect a problem over the near future which will have a serious effect on the building industry and the economy in general.
Height and density-Tourist Projects
Some progress has been made but many more incentives are required. The recent incentives have caused the upgrading of hotels and have partially met the increased demand. Why was this not introduced 6 years ago when we reported the matter?
A strike force?
The setting up of a strike force to represent a one-stop shop comprising of the same civil servants that have caused the problem – So at the end we will end up back to square one.
The mountain regions
A proposal submitted 12 years ago remains on paper and now most of the hotels in these regions have closed down. Recent announcements by the Government for a EUR 800,000 contribution for improvement is grossly inadequate. It needs a much more imaginative scheme and of a wider parameter in the region of EUR 5,000,000-EUR 10,000,000 for the mountain region to have some sort of a sporting of chance to succeed (see our 4-year-old detailed proposal).
These are some of our suggestions and there are full details on each and every suggestion should you care to examine them, whereas your Ministry should wake up ahead of developments and not after the events – it is time!!