The configuration of a linear park at Kouris River will not only serve tens of thousands of citizens, but will also contribute decisively to ending the current unacceptable situation that prevails with a rive passing through three communities of the western region of Limassol.
Local authorities estimate that the project will put an end to the uncontrolled disposal of waste material and objects as well as other illegal intervention. They recognise that the situation is entirely unacceptable as over the years and with the creation of the dam of the same name, the site has been used as a dumping ground.
The Erimis, Episkopi and Kantou local authorities believe that utilising and beautifying the river will make it attractive not only for walkers and cyclists but improve quality of life in the surrounding residential areas.
According to the plan made by the relevant local authorities in cooperation with other relevant departments, the project will radically change the picture of the surrounding area.
Kouris River and valley covers a distance of 10.2km and 1,862 acres of land extending from the banks of the river to the dam and up to the sea.
To move forward on the project, the involved communities have signed a cooperation agreement with competent services for the in-depth assessment of the whole situation.
A comprehensive master plan carried out by “PHAETHON Design Development Ltd, PLAS Ltd.
“Planning Associates and CNE Business Development” aims at creating a recreation park in the with the appropriate infrastructure.
Efforts are underway to have it included in a scheme on the revitalisation of urban and rural areas funded by the European Union.
“We are seeking to have the projects included in the Structural Funds of the European Union for the programming period 2014 – 2020”, said the chairman of the Community Council Panicos Hadjihamnis, expressing optimism that “at last, the time has come for the upgrade of the Kouris”.
This optimism stems also from the fact that already the Community Councils of Erimi, Episkopi and Kantou have the plans for the planned projects in their hands as well as assurances from ministers and other government officials and services that they will not remain on paper.
“We hope that we will find the appropriate resources from the Structural Funds of the European Union so that projects do not remain on plans and in the drawers of various government services, but are promoted and implemented.
“The need to spruce up Kouris River is comes within the framework of boosting recreation and tourism facilities by creating specific leisure complexes and bringing out their advantages by utilising all the natural and cultural resources of the area.
“With the creation of a linear park, the aim, amongst other, is the reversal of the current marginalisation of the river bed in question, through planned regeneration interventions, organisation and traffic management,” Hadjihamnis said.
Concern for environmental protection
The exploitation of Kouris River will serve to protect the surrounding area, ensure the natural flow of the river is not hindered while at the same time making the best of the river through planned interventions offering a series of leisure activities. Interventions in the riverbed will be removed. The projects along the river will include, among other bicycle routes, pedestrian paths and main roads to serve traffic of the park. Also included in the infrastructure network system are viewing stops and points of rest or waiting for transport systems. There is also provision for small squares with small kiosks. At the centre of the park, a central area will be created to serve as a meeting areas and to cater for social activities.
Additionally, specific areas will serve as rest areas. Pathways will lead to adjacent antiquities, while provision has been made for green spaces and small playgrounds as well as the installation of special lighting that will provide a welcoming character for the space in the evening. It is also planned to upgrade existing bridges or construct wooden bridges in various parts of the park to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the river.
An information centre for the park’s operation is also on the cards featuring a brief history of the development of the park and the current programmes and events. There will also be a conference centre - multi-purpose room for events or informational presentations for the general public. In some parts of the area of the river and where possible, open air facilities will be created such as amphitheatres that can accommodate large gatherings. The plan also provides traffic management measures including special arrangements to limiting the movements of cars and other vehicles in areas interrupted by the river.
The configuration of the Kouris River, as indicated by the Erimis community leader, will upgrade the residential areas and give the surrounding area a totally different look, a unique beauty.
“This is a project that will contribute decisively to improving the quality of life for residents of the three communities in general and the substantial development of the western region of Limassol, which has for years been downgraded.”
Aims of the design
- The beautification of the river, which will maintain the morphology of the natural environment, introducing new elements compatible with the ecosystem and spectacular as a presentation.
- The creation of a leisure complex that will attract a wide range of visitors, offering multiple choice of activities.
- The project’s harmonious contribution to the economic development of the three communities and the wider region.