Monday, 17 July 2023
Restoration and renovation of Kyrenia old harbour has come to a halt because the architects who designed the project have resigned after the authorities tinkered with the original plans, Son Haber Kibris reported on Sunday.
The completion of work was slated for the end of May and then pushed to June because electrical infrastructure work and non-payment for the construction tender was delayed.
Restoration work began early last December with a projected budget of twenty million Turkish Lira. The project includes maintenance and repair of building facades, road and harbour and improvement of the sewage, power, telephone and water supply.
Last week, the architects resigned from the project when they saw that details of the original plan had been arbitrarily altered.
It was revealed that one of the project’s stakeholders, the organisation concerned with historic sites, was not consulted or involved in the project and that the necessary permissions were not obtained. In addition, the original drawings of the project were arbitrarily changed during the implementation phase.
The architects said they had proposed a surface “with the appearance of natural stone with local characteristics” for the paving of the main street, but the authorities preferred to use concrete. The architects said that concrete was out of character for the historic harbour, however, their comments were ignored.
They were also avoided by those who had the duty and authority to control the implementation of the project.
Now, in mid-July, there is no end date in sight as the tourist season continues.
The botched efforts on the renovation led the authorities to decide to remove the concrete and install stone paving. However, the contractor has not yet agreed to the changes.
The project tender was won by Tosunoğlu Construction, owned by the Democratic Party (DP), the junior partner in the Turkish Cypriot ruling coalition.
The arbitrary changes made during this process and the uncertainty of the next steps have caused concerns.
“It looks like the tourism season will end, but the renovation will not be completed“, journalist Cenk Mutluyakali observed.
Now the project remains unattended and left to an uncertain outcome after the architects resigned.
Meanwhile, local businesses operating in the harbour, such as cafes and bars, restaurants and small hotels, have been left in a desperate situation due to the halting of work. Some have stated that they were on the verge of bankruptcy and demanded compensation.
The Turkish Cypriot government, at the start of the project had envisaged a grant of 2.8 million TL to support businesses. However, business owners have demanded compensation, stating that the project had not been completed on the promised date [end of May] and that that all work on the harbour had stopped.