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PEOPLE

Still the Entertainment and Business Capital of Cyprus

Still the Entertainment and Business Capital of Cyprus

Limassol Mayor Nicos Nicolaides is optimistic that all stakeholders are as determined as the Municipality to ensure that the city not only maintains its reputation but continues to thrive and improve.

 

You will soon be marking the second anniversary of your election to the post of Mayor of Limassol. What would you point to as your main achievements so far?

Nicos Nicolaides: The first thing we have concentrated on during our first 18 months in office has been the improvement of the municipal machinery. All issues that have to do with modernizing the way we work at the Municipality have been addressed: municipal structure, internal auditing, computerization, e-government, customer-service culture, etc. Studies on all these areas have been commissioned and the implementation of their results is under way. The new 24-hour call centre is already in operation (77777788), a new upgraded website is also in use and soon a 24-hour emergency team will be available to attend to the needs of residents.

At the same time, a number of infrastructure projects have been completed (Ayia Phyla Avenue), some are about to be completed (the connection of the seafront avenue with Franklin Foosevelt Anenue. phase A), some are about to start (Misiaouli & Kavazoglou Street, upgrading projects in three suburban neighbourhoods, etc.) and some are at the implementation stage (the Enaerios BOT project, phase B of the seafront avenue link to Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, the Ayia Phyla historical center renovation, the Ayia Phyla Avenue phase C, etc.).

Our efforts aimed at improving the conditions of people’s daily lives will continue. Solutions are under preparation in areas relevant to traffic, public transport, the lack of parking space, the level of cleanliness, parks and green areas, noise, pollution, etc.  Further to the above, our target of upgrading the city’s cultural activities is becoming more visible. This year’s Grand Ballet (July 21 and 22) has been given greater significance, and we are adopting a new approach to the Wine Festival and other major cultural events.

 

GOLD: Are these projects that were started by your predecessor or are they new ones that were created since December 2016?

N.N.: It’s a mixture of both. Projects that were initiated before we took office are being pushed forward and, at the same time, we are focusing our efforts on new projects. The development of a city is a continuous process and the planning and implementation of projects is not a fragmented procedure but requires a universal and unified approach.

 

GOLD: How do you react to criticism about the many high-rise buildings that are appearing along the Limassol coastal road? Is this new trend simply bringing Limassol into the 21st century or is there a danger of another property ‘boom and bust’ with so many ultra-expensive residences for sale?

N.N.: The issue of high-rise buildings in our city, and especially along the waterfront, is an important issue that concerns us all. It is a multi-faceted matter and all aspects are under careful consideration by the Municipal Council. Each prospective project is judged according to a number of criteria: the financial benefit to the city, its sustainability, the creation of public-interest infrastructure facilities, environmental issues, the effect on the quality of life of the neighbouring residents, the architectural value of the building and, in general, the harmonious and productive integration of new developments both in the urban structure of the city as well as in economic and social life. Our main concern is that our decisions are in accordance with the best interests of the city and its people. At the same time, the need for a more unified and specific regulation frame for these projects must be addressed by the Government as soon as possible.

 

GOLD: Are you aware of the fact that many Cypriots are avoiding Limassol because, they say, rents are too high for ordinary people to afford? If so, is there anything you can do about it?

N.N.: This is a problem that we are aware of and it is of great concern to us. Real estate prices are, of course, defined by supply and demand and market laws in general. Unavoidably high development tends to lead to high prices, a fact which affects both ordinary people in their housing needs, as well as companies in their requirements for office space and other premises. The Government has an obligation to study measures, such as the encouragement through incentives of lower-priced housing and office projects, so that the market forces begin to move in the direction of containment of this problem.

 

GOLD: How do you expect City of Dreams Mediterranean to affect life in Limassol? Do you expect to see more visitors thanks to the recent opening of the temporary casino?

N.N.: The operation of the temporary casino in our city is expected to start attracting new visitors to our city. Unavoidably, the new casino will affect life in the city in many ways. It is very important to evaluate the operation of the temporary casino, so that we will be ready to deal in a decisive way, with all the issues which will arise from the impact of the full operation of the Casino Resort in three years’ time.

 

GOLD: Limassol has always been known as the entertainment and business capital of Cyprus. How do you intend to maintain this?

N.N.: To get to the top is difficult but to remain there is even more difficult. I am sure that all the city’s stakeholders are aware of this fact and they are all willing to make any effort needed so that our city will not only keep having all the necessary features to continue to be the entertainment and business capital of Cyprus, but to keep enlarging and improving these features.

 

GOLD: Is Limassol ready and able to receive more tourism if the new Cruise Terminal at the port succeeds in adding the town to the itinerary of major cruise companies?

N.N.: The tourist industry in our city has been substantially enriched in recent years through a number of infrastructure facilities. The new Cruise Terminal is a major addition to these facilities and I am sure it will be a major force in attracting new cruise tourism. We are working very closely with the Passenger Terminal Operator, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and all other stakeholders, so that all possible efforts are made to ensure the inclusion of Limassol in the itineraries of major cruise companies the soonest possible. I have to add that we are very optimistic about the prospects in this area.

 

GOLD: What do you say to those who believe that the people of Limassol (especially the business community) are against the reunification of Cyprus because they fear that their companies will be affected negatively?

N.N.: I think that any objective analysis supports the fact that the reunification of Cyprus will have a very positive impact in general economic terms, as well as concerning individual companies. I have not sensed any substantiated disagreement with this approach.

 

GOLD: By the time of the next mayoral elections, what do you want to be able to tell the voters of Limassol?

N.N.: I hope to be able to say to the citizens of Limassol that I have done my best to serve the interest of our city. And of course, to be able to substantiate this claim.

 

The interview was first published in GOLD Special Publication - Top Companies in Limassol (July 2018)

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