Public vs Municipalities Rights – Seashore Protection Zone Developments
Under the Cyprus constitution, dear readers, everybody is equal in their obligations/rights, including the Government (vis-à-vis the general public). The High Court decision on the statutory tenancy was quite informative in that the Governmental owned buildings do not differentiate from those let by private investors. That is understood. So everybody is equal: authorities and the public.
What we will refer in this article is the illegalities that are being undertaken by the Municipal Authorities and even their encouragement of the illegalities and the cover up “protection” that such authorities offer to the illegal structures be it undertaken by themselves or by third parties within the seashore protection zone, where any structures are not allowed to be built.
On the one hand we can understand and excuse certain intrusion of the local authorities regarding the widening of small sandy bays to accommodate an increased number of visitors including the installation of sanitary facilities, the construction of seaside footpath for the enjoyment of the walking public etc, we can also understand developments within the seashore zone which is for the benefit of the public/economy in general, such as the development of marinas, private boat shelters, the provision of beach facilities for all etc.
On the other hand there are provocative actions by the Municipalities which include the construction of so called kiosks within the seaside protection zone, where no structures are allowed at all which, even worse, are developed in Governmental owned land presumably with the tolerance of the Governmental authorities.
These kiosks which should have an average extent of around 30 sq.mts. in order to serve the bathers by providing of cold water, juices, newspapers and take away coffees etc are turned into restaurants with full kitchen facilities, illegal extensions, of a temporary nature, full blasting music, sale of alcohol, which extends to night parties and so on.
So here we are at the location known as MAAD at Paralimni, a kiosk of 50 sq.mts. was turned into a 400 sq.mts. restaurant, the placing of six containers at the Protaras beach area (duly converted into houses which are let) and another at the Nishia location where a kiosk was turned into a Grill Bar (with the appropriate signs, kitchen etc) whereas a similar situation is reported at Peyia Municipality, where the same situation exists with numerous beach kiosks in Limassol (turned into very popular cafeterias with food etc).
In one occasion that we have more information regarding the Nishia kiosk at Paralimni within the seashore protection zone, we have ascertained that the kiosk/come Grill Bar has:
- No planning and building permit
- No CTO approval
- No license to sell alcoholic drinks
- No w.cs.
- No license for music
- No electricity/water
- No public access. A public footpath is used for the purpose with the suppliers using it as access, parking etc
Having spoken to the kiosk/café bar operator where we have indicated to him that he is operating illegally, he informed us that the local Municipality has informed him that he can do what he is doing and he is okay!
So one wonders for those of us who believe in good governance of this country, what is this all about, since the public cannot carry out any structures within the protection zone, whereas Municipalities do just exactly the opposite in a provocative manner. Are we equal, public and municipalities or do we differ in terms of rights?
So we are unreasonable to suspect that this may be:
- Corruption of the local authorities?
- Cover up by the some local authorities?
- Non-belief that we are all equal?
- The lack of information, simple stupidity (the last is a weak arguement on our part since we understand that such illegalities produce a hefty income for the local authorities).
So, on this occasion (Nishia) we have reported a outrageous illegality of the Paralimni Municipality to the District Office, the Ministry of Interior, the Ombudsman, the Auditor General etc and we have received no reply other than the District Officer who has informed us that the Municipality is acting illegally, but the Municipality is the authority to undertake corrective action what is not doing. So? At the end the authority which is in charge to enforce the law, is the same one who is the “criminal” on the subject.
So, what can we do relating to the public, where one person buys a house on the beach and pays dearly for it, but it fronts onto the seashore (what belongs to the state) and suddenly finds out that his house is not on the beach and far from it, it is behind a restaurant/ night club, creating nuisance, block of views etc what can they do?
So what we can do? Apply to the Attorney General and seek a permit to undertake a private criminal law suit against the Municipality/users in order to place those to prison, not only for the examples given, but in order to discourage others with such schemes in mind.
Having said this, is it the job of any individual to take private actions in order to reinforce the laws or that of the state?
So at the end, is this a country where one can rely on the laws/planning zones on which one can rely upon? It seems not.