articles | 13 September 2016

A different Larnaca expected to boost tourism

The removal of Larnaca’s oil and gas installations and the development of the port and marina will turn the town into a tourist hub, Transport Minister Marios Demetriades said recently.

“The two most important issues facing the city of Larnaca are the movement of the petroleum facilities, and here it is important to mention that it has already been launched,” he said. The other is developing the port and marina area.

He added that some issues were still pending, but the move “has taken a path of no return”.

In terms of the port-marina redevelopment, the aim is to start the tender procedure in October and signed in 2017, the minister said.

These developments and other Larnaca-related projects were discussed at a meeting chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades and attended by Demetriades, the ministers of energy, agriculture and education and members of the Larnaca municipality.

The meeting was called to see at what stage the projects were and what steps should be taken to bring forward those which were delayed, Demetriades said.

“The president gave specific instructions for their advancement and I feel that it was a constructive dialogue from which there will be results.”

Demetriades said that a study is being carried out by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry which would be presented to the town planning department and the interior ministry.

“What is important is that the Larnaca area changes character from an industrial storage area to that of tourism and certainly in a few years we will be talking about a completely different Larnaca,” he said. “But these things take time, and because the installations are being moved, keep in mind that there will be a preparation of the area and the soil in order to restore it so it can be developed.”

The goal is to bring investors from abroad, the minister explained, “because who else will make the investment unless it comes from abroad? We know the problems facing the domestic economy.” There is already interest by potential investors for the marina and port from different countries, he added.

According to Demetriades, the government is looking at different activities in the area, land and commercial development in the form of hotels, offices and luxury apartments and marina management.

However, the Larnaca municipality was not happy with major issues concerning the development of the city which were discussed at the meeting.

Acting mayor Petros Christodoulou said there was disagreement regarding commercial use of the port. Larnaca not only seeks a touristic character, but the project should also include commercial use of the port, without any restrictions.

On the issue of the use of the port areas by oil companies, Christodoulou said transport minister had given two extensions to companies for another year.

“We insist that from the moment the licence of companies expired, the minister should not have proceeded to renew and especially without asking us,” he said.

On the subject of moving the oil installations the acting mayor commented that at a recent meeting at the interior ministry, Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos had been clear, saying that once the timetable for moving companies expired on February 1, 2017 then they would have to leave.

“However, at today’s meeting it emerged that some companies are not yet ready to leave and are requesting an extension.”

Source: Cyprus Mail

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