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15-03-2017 15:23 | Read 2050 times

'Girne harbour in a horrifying state'

GİRNE yacht owners are to stage a “protest” over the state of the town’s historical harbour, which remains full of flotsam after it was battered by huge waves in December.

'Girne harbour in a horrifying state'

By KEREM HASAN

Chief Reporter

Cyprus Today visited the iconic waterfront this week to find glass, cans, plastic bags and other rubbish still floating in the water, and a newly paved walkway subsiding, two months after the storms which also caused the collapse of a lighthouse.

Inaction by authorities has prompted fears that tourists will be turned off by the scene – and raw sewage said to be still flowing into the harbour — with just weeks to go before the start of the holiday season.

Yacht Entrepreneurs’ Union chairman Faik Gencer told this paper the harbour was “to put it lightly, in a horrifying state”.

“It’s a mess from top to bottom . . . no-one is lifting a finger to clean it . . . The government shamefully staged a basic clean-up last week, picking up cigarette butts and some weeds – then posed for the press as though they had done something extraordinary . . .

“They have now installed garden lights in the ugliest of ways . . . along the sea wall. There are sunken boats that have been left to rot since the December storm. The whole thing is a disgrace, and this is what greets tourists.”

Mr Gencer said the continuing absence of a lighthouse posed a “great danger” to fishing boats and other vessels and that rocks under the sea wall were “unstable”.

He said members of his organisation would install their own solar-powered “EU-standard lighthouse” as a form of protest.

Cyprus Turkish Travel Agents’ Union chairman Orhan Tolun said the harbour was “the image of North Cyprus” and asked: “Why are we spending millions of TL every year at international fairs and exhibitions and using [it] as one of our most attractive destinations when it’s in such a mess?

“There needs to be urgent action by the government.”

Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü said that he had approached ministers “many times” to discuss his proposal that a commission should be set up, including Girne Municipality, to restore the harbour to its former glory but had not had a response.

“There is an urgent need to make a decision before the end of March so that a clean-up operation can take place before April and May, when tourism begins to liven up.”

No-one at the Tourism Ministry, which is responsible for the harbour, was available for comment.

Photo by Susie Forster

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