Sunday, 26 June 2016 19:33

Onwards and Upwards?

One of the firt tall new buildings s almost finished One of the firt tall new buildings s almost finished

On my daily bicycle rides around town I always notice them… the many new buildings that have been sprouting all over town. And some of them actually finished rather quickly, to then stare at me emptily – literally – every day thereafter. And as new ones keep appearing, I keep wondering “Who will live in them? Who will have their offices in there? ”

When I met Yiannis Kakoullis, a mechanical engineer and a very active, and informed citizen, I asked him about this and was amazed to find out there’s more in being planned – much more! There are a good dozen high-rise buildings in the pipeline for Limassol with ambitious names such as ‘The Oval’, ‘Halcyon’, ‘Sky Tower’, ‘Limassol Landmark’… 10, 15, 28, 37 storeys high.

It turns out a recent relaxation on building permits by the Council of Ministries to stimulate the economy has developers thinking big – and high. “Stimulating the economy through construction is not a bad idea, as such,” says Yiannis Kakoullis.

“But there are a lot of questions and citizens must know what’s going on in their own town. Is there a vision behind this, a plan being followed, ratios res-pected? If all these buildings were to go up, Limassol would be unrecognisable in a few years’ time.”

Kakoullis said prices for some of the apartments will be as much as €1.5 million and are to include luxuries such as butlers and drivers… and he was wondering if there is hype being built up by developers, looking for quick sales that could lead to the next economic bubble.
Rumour even has it that the purchase of these apartments might be used to ‘include’ eligibility for Cyprus citizenship and thus a European passport for non-European citizens.

Town planning requires looking at a city’s entire infrastructure. How about public transport, parking, green areas, schools and playgrounds, shopping? There are utilities: water, sewage, electricity; with power consumption needing to be curbed, and global warming being a reality, will all these buildings have sustainable electricity supply for heating and cooling systems? Can Cyprus produce enough electricity?

How about emergencies such as fires – are the fire departments equipped to extinguish a fire on the 30th floor? What about those living in these areas that have paid for their sea view which may now be obstructed?

I found out that a conference to clarify some points and raise awareness was well attended, with about 200 participants. Kakoullis told me that the speakers were very good in outlining the situation from their point of view, as were the questions asked.

It’s clearly a topic to be followed with the wish that things will move onwards, but hopefully not too far upwards.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of June 17th 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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