Sunday 26.05.2024 ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ

TAIPED: "Full speed ahead" for Lefkimmi Port investment

Lefkimmi Port
15 Feb 2024 / 10:30

CORFU. Himariotis: ΄Yes, under certain conditions, but it is not a done deal΄ - Meeting of the Mayor, local professionals and Corfu Port Authority is pending - Workers Centre protest rally

The TAIPED plan for the utilisation of the Port of Lefkimmi is entering the implementation phase, with a concession to a private entity. According to the latest information, the announcement of the competition is expected soon, with TAIPED in the 'market research' phase to find interested investors. The competition, expected in 2022, was delayed two years due to the Council of State's opinion on the necessity of completing the maturity file with a zoning act. About 10 days ago, the process was completed by the Ministry of Tourism, paving the way for developments.

For or against

The Laiki Sispirosi party raised the issue during the municipal inspection, seeking information from the municipal council, but mainly a clear statement from South Corfu Mayor Vassilis Himariotis, for or against privatisation. In response to a question from Enimerosi, the Mayor replied: "We are not inherently for or against anything. Our criterion is the benefit for the area and our residents. Any investment, whether public or private, must be in the interest of society. Otherwise, we will not accept it as a done deal. The Municipality must have a say in this investment. I stress that my position is exclusively in favour of the progress of the Municipality."

Party leader Stamatis Pelais stated that the Mayor supported the investment and characterised his stance as "unacceptable." He told Enimerosi, "There has been movement on the issue in recent times, but the Mayor is indifferent regarding the selling off of the port."

 

Concerns - Meeting with Corfu Port Authority

Mayor Vassilis Himariotis has requested a meeting with the Corfu Port Authority (OLKE) so that the municipal authority can be updated about the project plans. "I believe that within the week we will schedule the meeting with OLKE's Managing Director, Spyros Zervopoulos, and we have also requested the presence of local professionals," he told Enimerosi.

"We have two concerns that need clarification. The first concerns the capacity of the harbour basin, where it is planned for ferries and the marina for tourist boats to coexist. The second concerns the area in front of the port and the possibility of creating a problem with vehicle traffic. We believe that adding the marina could be done either to the right or left of the port."

 

What the study envisions

The TAIPED master plan, a study conducted by the company Marnet, envisions an investment of approximately 4.5 million Euros to shape and upgrade the facilities of the Port, which was built in the 1980s. The concession will be for at least 20 years, and the funds will be invested by the private sector.

The goal is to create two distinct sectors, the passenger and the tourist. The passenger station is planned to accommodate 3 to 4 ferries, while the marina is expected to have the capacity to dock approximately 85 private tourist vessels, as well as the possibility of docking a small cruise ship.

The study includes the following projects, both on land and in the maritime zone:

  • Reconstruction of a windward quay with a total length of 600 metres, with revetment of its inner side in the largest part of the Epichoses in the northern part of the port (area of ​​10.8 stremma).

  • Reconstruction of a leeward quay 160 metres in length in a new, more suitable location in relation to the development of the land area.

  • Dredging of the harbour basin and access channel to it.

  • Construction of new building infrastructure and shelters to serve passengers and port users.

  • Formation of the environment of the land zone with appropriate functional works (road works, entrance-exit gates, parking spaces, vehicle waiting lines, pedestrian walkways, greenery, etc.).

 

Workers Centre: Protest Rally on Sunday

The Workers Centre, the Federation of Corfu Agricultural Associations, Korissos, and other South Corfu grassroots organisations, are calling for a protest rally against the privatisation on Sunday, February 18, at 11:00 am at the port of Lefkimmi.

According to the Workers Centre, the consequences of privatising the port of Lefkimmi will be:

- An infrastructure that has been paid for and built by the Greek people is being handed over in exchange for a pittance to the hands of a private entrepreneur. We demand that it be renovated and operated by a public entity for the public good.

- The direction and decisions regarding the nature of the port, whom it will serve, and at what cost, are now in the hands of the private sector. We want these decisions to be made by the people and their institutions.

- The private individual has the ability to monopolise the majority of the commercial activity of South Corfu (as is the case with all similar privatisations), stifling existing small business activity. Additionally, they can direct, coordinate, and control the tourist movement of the area, reshaping its characteristics based on profitability and at the expense of numerous small tourist businesses. We insist that this organisation should be determined by land use, spatial planning, and a plan in accordance with the needs of the people by the local community's institutional bodies.

- Labour relations will be adjusted according to the desires of the private "harbourmaster," as was the case with COSCO in Piraeus, affecting the economic activity associated with the port. We are working for organisation and labour unity, the only way that can lead us to halt any new challenge to our rights.

- With the sale of the port, every possibility of utilising the port in the future for the benefit of the people of South Corfu is nullified, if at any time the latter decides to take matters into their own hands, choosing self-management.

 

CHRISTINA GEREKOU