At the most critical turning point of its modern history, Larnaca is entering the next two years. Major infrastructure projects are on track for implementation at the same time as a steady flow of foreign investment in the city. Mayor Andreas Vira is optimistic about the Larnaca tomorrow, but at the same time calls on the government to keep up with the circumstances and to keep the agreed on both the port and the marina issue and the relocation of petroleum and liquefied gas installations. Two hot topics, if implemented on the basis of existing timetables, will change the economy, the tourist product and the future of the city in general. In an interview he gave in our newspaper,

At the most critical turning point of its modern history, Larnaca is entering the next two years. Major infrastructure projects are on track for implementation at the same time as a steady flow of foreign investment in the city. Mayor Andreas Vira is optimistic about the Larnaca tomorrow, but at the same time calls on the government to keep up with the circumstances and to keep the agreed on both the port and the marina issue and the relocation of petroleum and liquefied gas installations. Two hot topics, if implemented on the basis of existing timetables, will change the economy, the tourist product and the future of the city in general. In an interview he gave in our newspaper,

Mr. Byra the port-marina is a major issue for Larnaca and has occupied the city for decades. What are the latest developments around this issue?
“I am in constant contact with the consortium concerned and with the relevant ministry. As is well known, the municipality is not involved in the bidding process, it is only an observer and an interested party. At present, it is the prospective investors awaiting the state, and in particular the competent ministry, the final submission of the proposal, which will concern the terms on which the consortium will then submit its final bid. Israeli stakeholders expect the proposal to be submitted by the state, which has been extended until the end of August, will have resolved the issue of the ceiling. It is the most important issue today for the investment to go. I hope the state finally finds the solution. Continuous extensions on the part of the state cause several problems. Hence, on August 27, the Israeli consortium expects the state to submit its proposals in the hope that the bid will be awarded in September – October. I hope these deadlines are met. I appeal to the government to honor its commitments. It will be a disaster for Larnaca if the state calls for further prolongation. “

What are the Israelis planning at the port of Larnaca? Much has been heard recently about work on the hydrocarbon sector.
“I want to be clear, on the part of the prospective investors, there is no question about jobs related to an energy port. Most of their investments will be in the tourism sector and a healthy commercial harbor will be operating with uses that will not affect their remaining investments. Already, this consortium has a lot of experience in managing ports in tourist areas. In fact, it is willing to sign an agreement with the Larnaca Municipality that it will not deal with “heavy” work in relation to the hydrocarbon sector. The investment planned by the Israelis in Larnaca is the largest investment in Cyprus. We are talking about several hundred million euros. It is a shame for Larnaca, due to bad state manipulations, that this investment should not go ahead. The interest is real, it is a serious joint venture and I hope we do not miss this great opportunity presented for our city because of the ceiling. The state will be accountable if we miss this opportunity. “

What would you say to the Larnaca, who are seeing the marina of their city, which was the first marina in Cyprus and is in danger of becoming late?
“The government will be exposed if this effort is wrecked. From the moment that there is real interest, if it collapses and the new effort will have unlimited responsibility, the government, which did not make the necessary efforts, did not take the initiatives that should. “

Do you see any feasibility on the part of the government in this matter?
“I do not want to say there is a feasibility. Surely, however, it will be an injustice if there is a wreck. If this effort fails, someone will be responsible. And you have to take it. Like Larnaca we will ask for responsibilities. But let’s not talk about responsibilities from now, because the interest is still real and there is the right time for the project to go ahead. “

Petroleum products and LPG
Are you satisfied with the efforts made so far by both government and companies to relocate the oil and gas installations off the Larnaca coastline?
“The monitoring committee has already started work, which is supposed to assess whether the last three months have been done. The information I have is that I’m not so optimistic about things. I am waiting for a written report from the Larnaka Municipality Officer, who will inform me in detail about the progress of the processes. If we are not satisfied, then we will react. From a first piece of information I seem to have a number of procedural issues and not only. There is a hindrance. “

With the hand in the heart of the mayor, are the timetables that have been set, ie late 2019 to move all liquid fuels and late 2020 LPG?
“If the necessary political will is demonstrated by the state, yes it is possible. Otherwise, these timetables will not be implemented either. “

For the two most serious issues that concern Larnaca, harbor and tank movement, you are constantly throwing the ball into the government. Does the municipality have no responsibility? Can not put pressure on you?
“Unfortunately these two issues are not dependent on the Larnaca Municipality. I wish they depended on us. The issue of the harbor and the marina is a matter solely for the Ministry of Transport, while for the relocation of the noble facilities the municipality has no legal authority or power other than exercising political pressure. “

Does Larnaca have no power in the decision-makers, Mr Byra?
“What we assure the world is that there will be costs if the agreed ones are not met. For both themes. There will be pressure. Neither with the issue of the harbor, nor with the issue of oil tankers, we will sit with arms crossed. We demonstrated with the first warning of recent mobilization that the Larnaca began to react. There and where we will find that there is a hindrance again, then they will feel a great deal of pressure from Larnaca. This time, things will be different. There will be a dynamic reaction. I promise this to the world, because I repeat that these two great issues do not depend unfortunately on us. It is in the hands of the government that these issues find solutions. But I also want to say this. There are some groups in Larnaca, where everything new is starting to react. There are circles who try, in underground ways, to ruin the effort for the harbor and the marina. I emphasize that they will find us in front of them. We know who they are … “

Structural Funds projects
There are, however, a track of implementation and infrastructure projects directly related to the Larnaca Municipality, projects funded by the EU Structural Funds Talk to us about them.
“For the municipal garden, we calculate with the additions that will be delivered to the public in the first months of 2019. For the new municipal market, the offer has been awarded recently and if there is no recourse to the Review Authority from a failing bidder, then the target it is our construction projects to begin next September. At the same time, we are in the process of bidding for the redevelopment of the existing community center that will become a multipurpose center and for the redevelopment of the Larnaca club building. The deadline for submitting bids expires on August 3. Because the summer holidays are mediated, we estimate that the tenders will be awarded by the end of September, hoping that there will be no recourse to the Reviewer even in these projects. If all goes urgently, The end of the year is expected to begin both of these projects. Next November, we are expected to announce the offers for the pedestrianization of the urban center, while for the reconstruction of the Zouhuri mosque, the architectural competition has been approved and the aim is to sign the contract with the contractor by the end of 2019 so that the works start 2020. I want to say that there has been a great deal of work to promote the projects to be funded by the Structural Funds. These projects were far behind, due to the prevailing conditions prevailing in the municipality in previous years. An equally important project that we are planning to launch this year or early 2019 is also the T1 pumping station, which is expected to solve the flood problems in the areas of Metropolis, Prodromos, Karynos and elsewhere. “

The Fivefold on the Phinikoudes
A project to launch the tourist product and the economy of Larnaca is definitely the fifth hotel planned by a Russian businessman in the center of Phinikoudes. Where is this issue?
“From the very first moment that I assumed the office of a mayor, I did not want the municipality in any case to hinder this big investment for Larnaca. We have already reached a supplementary agreement with the investor to pay the remaining amount due for the purchase of the municipal block. As a municipality, we will do our best to issue the permits quickly. The final architectural drawings of the project have been submitted to the town hall, but you realize that they are two very tall buildings, so it is necessary to take into account the views of Town Planning, Fire Brigade and other departments. Many services are involved. As far as the municipality is concerned, this will be a priority. We want the licenses to be issued as soon as possible and from then on, it is a matter for the investor how to proceed. We did what, what passed by our hand not to spoil this project. It is now up to the investor to move on. “

What are the prospects for foreign investment in Larnaca at the moment?
“Today there are around 15 hotel units, for which there are already applications or have started erection work. The overwhelming majority of these buildings are foreign investments. There is an orgasm of foreign investment in Larnaca by Lebanese, Jordanian, Russian and Ukrainian businessmen. We have investments from entrepreneurs from different countries. From the data I have collected from the city planner, Larnaca is the first city on a growth rate in building construction. We live this every day, the city has become a construction site. There is a steady flow of foreign investors and if the government stands next to us and helps us in port-marina and oil tanker issues then Larnaca can see the future with great optimism. We, as a municipality,

Legality at McKenzie
What about the rentals of the centers on the Makenzyu coast? An area that needs landscaping …
“We call on the competent ministry to find a solution to the property regime. This is a very important area for Larnaca and the local economy, because there have been significant investments that have generated large revenues. First of all, we are asking for a solution to legality, but on the other we do not want to disturb the operation of the centers. The competent ministry needs to find the appropriate solution that includes the two above-mentioned issues. “

You have some improvement work on the Makenzie Coast because it is a fact that the area needs landscaping.
“We are on the verge of replacing lighting in the pedestrian zone. However, in order to be able to invest further in this area, the issue of ownership and use of public spaces should first be resolved. It is important to resolve these issues first, to know how we are going. Not everyone should build what he wants and do whatever he wants. The problem of legality must be resolved quickly. Only in this way will we know the way in which we will proceed to embroider the coast. “

The most serious problem faced by the Larnaca citizen every day, the miserable state of the road network. What about this question, Mr. Mayor?
“It is indeed one of the biggest problems we have to deal with. And unfortunately it is one of the most difficult problems, in the sense that there are no corresponding funds. Larnaca’s road maintenance costs are estimated at between € 12-13 million. And I am talking about the roads already delivered by the Sewerage Board. With the streets that the Sewer Council will deliver in the future, the cost will be more than 15 million. With a budget of 20 million, with 11 million payroll and nine million for the other issues, one understands how difficult it is to defeat this problem. What we have done is that we have already given one million of the municipality and started the asphalt works. This second September begins with the second phase with the two million that we secured from the state, while on some roads, which are in a tragic situation, even if the sewerage works have not yet been done, there will also be some improvement works. What I am assuring to the world is that every year there will be efforts to find funds to pave roads. If we do not defeat it, at least help to mitigate this serious problem. “

Sewerage and archaeologists
We close with the “headache” of the sewer, which is still delayed due to the ancient found in the subsoil. How do you go about this?
“The problem is not only the delay, but also the enormous economic cost to the Larnaca SA and hence the city’s citizens because of the continuing delays due to the ancient ones. Unfortunately the ancient is there, we can not do anything. We tried everything, with additional workers and archaeologists. There was no way we did not try. What we want, first and foremost, is to reduce costs. To this end, we have reached a preliminary agreement with the contractor of the project, which is already in the KEA for negotiation and approval. It is a suggestion to the JSB and we hope soon to come up with a new deal with the contractor, which will at least reduce the costs for the TAC. There is a possibility that some areas, due to ancient, 




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