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GEROSKIPOU FINAL REPORT

SETTING OUT A STRATEGY FOR
THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
OF GEROSKIPOU MUNICIPALITY

P. T. TRAKKIDES
JANUARY 2020

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION – BRIEF SUMMARY

II. PROCEDURE
A. METHODOLOGY
B. TOOLS

III. RESULTS

A. SWOT Analysis
1. STRENGTHS
2. OPPORTUNITIES
3. WEAKNESSES
4. THREATS

B. VISION, MISSION, and VALUES
C. STRATEGIC CHOICES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
D. CONCLUSIONS

IV. ANNEX

A. PRESENTATION AT THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL (11/18)

B. MATERIAL DISTRIBUTED TO THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL (11/18)

C. PRESENTATION AT THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL (09/19)

D. TABLE OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE SWOT Analysis

I. INTRODUCTION – BRIEF SUMMARY

This study was conducted for setting out a strategy for sustainable development, as requested by the Geroskipou Municipality. I would like to thank the Mayor and the Municipal Council for entrusting me with the conduct of this study. In this way, they gave me the chance to offer something back to the place that my ancestors loved, the place where they used to live and where younger generations shall be able to enjoy social commodities.

The word “strategy” describes the study’s time-frame which can be calculated from 3 to 10 or more years.
The “sustainable development” specifies the basic requirement of the study which shall comply with the 17 goals approved by the United Nations in 2015.

A consensus is required for a sustainable development, in other words a commonly accepted development that will last in time. That is why in this study great value was given to the participation of a relatively large sample of stakeholders, that is those directly or indirectly affected by the decisions taken in the context of the study’s implementation (citizens, entrepreneurs, professionals and municipal officers).
The creation of a consensual culture is deemed necessary for the Municipality’s progress.

When I took over this study, the set up and transmission of the vision, the mission and the fundamental values governing the operation of the Geroskipou Municipality, were key priorities. Every strategy of the Municipality shall be linked with its vision and represent a beacon for all its daily actions, which shall compose its ultimate mission. The fundamental values constitute the internal code of the Municipality’s operation when it comes to the services offered to citizens, business operators and to all the organizations with which they collaborate.

THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

These goals can be summarized on the following topics:

Economic growth
Natural Environment
Social characteristics
Quality of life
Green growth
Participatory processes in all activities

The goals of sustainable development should not be achieved by discriminating the rest, or even worse, by affecting the rest negatively. For example, the environment, the quality of life and the social characteristics should not be sacrificed on the economic growth alter.
II. PROCEDURE

A. METHODOLOGY
The study started in November 2018 after being presented to the Municipal Council and is hereby attached to the annex of this report. At that time, it was highlighted the importance of participation throughout the study, as well as the set up of a Vision, Mission and Fundamental Values for the Geroskipou Municipality.

B. TOOLS
The “SWOT ANALYSIS” was the tool used for this study. This tool is widely used for the strategic planning of public and private “enterprises” and identifies the enterprise’s current status by specifying its strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and challenges that come both from the interior and the exterior environment.
For this analysis, identifying opportunities is crucial. When opportunities are used properly and when their best characteristics are highlighted, they can strengthen weaknesses to a great extent and they can mitigate the consequences of threats, if any.
22 people were interviewed or responded to questionnaires to have a representative analysis of the characteristics of Geroskipou Municipality, among whom elected members of the Council and officials of the Municipality, citizens and representatives of enterprises and productive organizations operating within the Municipal boundaries.

III. RESULTS
The first remarkable point of the SWOT analysis’ results below, indicates that there are significant opportunities in Geroskipou which, if used properly, shall contribute both to the Municipality’s financial capacity and that, either directly or indirectly, shall secure a continuously improving quality of life of citizens.
A. SWOT ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS (STRONG CHARACTERISTICS)

Coastal Municipality with a residential area built in an amphitheatrical position.
Large residential area, suitable for attracting new residents and companies providing services (technical, legal and accounting offices, banks, clinics, etc.).
Tourism development with great prospects for further growth, especially for off-season tourism.
Very good relations with the tourism companies that are already operating within the city’s boundaries.
Model sports center with major potential for expansion to meet the high demand for sports tourism.
Very close to the Pafos Municipality which has a long-standing tourist development.
Well-known local traditional products.
A well-developed culture of volunteerism in major social activities and possibility of greater participation to improve the quality of citizens’s life.
Model social care for seniors and children. (Community Volunteerism Council (SKE) and Family and Child Counseling Center).
Very good relations and excellent collaboration with the city´s school board.
The Ierokipion Free University offers a series of academic lectures to citizens enrolled in the programme.
A rich historical and cultural heritage.
Remarkable events and major cultural activities.
Pluralism since major political parties and movements are represented in the Municipal Council
OPPORTUNITIES

The Medical Center´s operation can significantly contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of citizens and to further strengthen ties with neighboring communities.
The well-developed culture of volunteerism, if further exploited, can become an important pillar for enhancing the quality of life of residents.
The reconstruction and exploitation of the city’s Traditional Centre.
The proper opening of the ecclesiastical museum and the reconstruction of its surrounding area.
The great sports facilities for hosting local activities and citizens practicing sports.
The seafront area is offered for a model development and exploitation
The large area which is extended between the residential and the seafront area, is suitable for a mild growth, such as a Public University Campus.
The Yerokipia Farm is suitable for mixed mild developments, including a public university or vocational schools (i.e. of agriculture, tourism, archaeology, etc.)
The exploitation of Turkish Cypriot properties at the city’s residential area and especially in the city center.
The city’s strategic positioning on the highway that connects Paphos with other major cities
Its proximity to the Paphos International Airport
The Casino, which is currently under construction, but once finished can contribute to the improvement of the Municipality’s finances.
The prospect for developing a mooring for cruise ships shall contribute to the Municipality’s financial strength.
The attraction of winter sports tourism combined with the existing sports facilities and the prospect of their expansion
The attraction of conference and church tourism in off-season and winter period.

The continuous provision of high-quality services, combined with the mild climate and the preservation of the excellent natural environment, can become a pole of attracting high-quality tourism which is currently needed in Paphos.
The significant archeological excavations which are still ongoing on the church’s seafront plot.
The exploitation of European projects for financing projects and activities
The proximity to the Pafos Municipality which is suffocated by the dense population and traffic congestion
The promotion, preservation and professional prominence of historical monuments shall significantly increase the number of local and foreign visitors to the city.

3.WEAKNESSES (WEAK CHARACTERISTICS)

Insufficient and problematic road network.
Transportation that does not meet the needs of citizens and visitors.
Limited and unsecured parking areas.
Insufficient pedestrian and bicycle-oriented spaces.
Problems related to the cleanliness, the lack of good order, significant nuisances and longstanding defects of the Sewerage Board of Paphos (S.B.P) in the residential area.
Rainwater sewage system. Finalize its installation.
Longstanding Planning Violations which further support the delinquency.
More effort is required for the protection of public health.
Insufficient infrastructure for the disabled on pavements, crossings, accesses, beaches, parking lots, etc.
Non-satisfactory lighting, cleanliness and safety in the traditional city centre.
Risk of accident and long-hour power cuts due to the EAC overhead cables in the city’s residential area.
Drinking water network. (Asbestos pipes are still being used in parts of the network).
Qualitative under-study expansion of the cemetery.

Further improvement of the services provided to citizens is required, especially when it comes to proper training for dealing with emergencies and illegal actions.
There is no culture of prevention for issues related to citizens’ health.
There isn’t an indoor venue for hosting plays and other events
Greater and more efficient effort is required for Green Growth when it comes to renewable and cheaper energy sources and the creation of extensive green areas and theme parks
The engagement of scientific professionals is required for the extension, maintenance, and redevelopment of Amusement Parks.
The redevelopment already carried out in the community of Koloni is insufficient.
A frequent waste collection and improvement of the level of cleanliness of the tourist area and the seafront area are required
There is no signage highlighting the historical heritage of the city, on the borders and the centre of the residential area
Web developers are required to reconstruct the websites of the Municipality.
The Municipality cannot afford to implement policies required for the improvement of citizens’ quality of life.
It is unable to absorb European funds.
The promotion, preservation and prominence of the city’s historical heritage is not professionally.
There isn’t a museum of natural history.
The Municipality does not function properly and efficiently
There isn’t a clear strategic direction. (Lack of vision, mission and fundamental values of the municipality’s functioning.)
Faster planning and maturation of development projects is required.
Re-introduce and strongly support the renaming of the Geroskipou municipality into municipality of the Sacred Garden
The urban zones and the city master plan need to be reviewed
Deal with the problem of refugees / migrants.
Better management of the Turkish Cypriot properties that prevail in the residential area and the center of the city is required.
There aren’t any targeted twinning projects or educational trips.
There is not sufficient provision of seasonal or other non-regular third party services for matters related to the improvement of the quality of life of residents
There is not a Citizen Service Center
There is no plan for thematic tours of historical and cultural interest within the city
There are no incentives to attract young entrepreneurs for innovative activities
The mentality of citizens is not helpful
The Ecclesiastical Museum has been abandoned
Geroskipou has a long way to go in order to become SMART CITY
The Municipality of Geroskipou is not an urban planning authority and that creates many problems to the fast processing of urban planning matters
The important archaeological findings on the church’s plot in the seafront constitute a hard case to manage.
Various committees of the Municipality have low performance since no interest is paid to them.
Projects need to be prioritized according to the Municipality’s financial capacity.

4.THREATS (RISKS AND THREATS)

The Excessive Tourism Development of the Municipality and its surrounding area (syndrome of “putting all the eggs in the same basket”)
The urban development is not controlled
The refugee /migration problem is not dealt with properly.
The Cyprus problem
The absorption by the Pafos Municipality as part of the local self-government reform
The continuation of the unsatisfactory functioning of the Municipal mechanism
The international economic situation
The Middle East wars

B. VISION, MISSION, and VALUES

VISION
Citizens shall choose the Geroskipou Municipality as their place of residence as it offers a high quality of life and entrepreneurs shall base their operation there as it provides a wide range of high-quality services driven by sustainable development, respecting all its requirements.

MISSION
Our daily concern is the continuous improvement of the quality of life of our citizens and the collaboration with entrepreneurs who have chosen our Municipality to establish their operations. The pursuit of green growth, as well as the enhancement and proper promotion of our historical heritage are among our daily priorities.

VALUES
We provide services to our citizens and our partners with transparency, honesty, integrity, responsibility and respect. We encourage teamwork, social responsibility and continuous improvement in all our activities.

C. STRATEGIC CHOICES FOR A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN GEROSKIPOU MUNICIPALITY

I. STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF CITIZENS

STRATEGY IA: ROAD NETWORKS – TRANSPORT

Finalize the construction of the road connecting the residential and the tourist area, according to the specifications of a modern road that meets all the requirements of road safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety and that fully complies with the area’s environmental characteristics.
Construct the North Bypass to solve the traffic congestion in the city center and all the road safety problems that creates.
Finalize the construction of the South bypass and complete the works pending along its way.
Reconstruct a road connecting it to Paphos – Limassol highway, focusing on road safety and on environmental agreement with the city’s character (tree planting, with green belts on both sides and appropriate signage consistent with the city’s historical heritage).
Municipal bus transport service that connects, on the one hand, the city center to the beach front and the tourist areas of Geroskipou and Paphos and on the other hand, the center of Geroskipou with the traditional center of Pafos. The frequency of bus service shall be determined based on seasonal needs.

STRATEGY ΙΒ: RESIDENTIAL AREA OF THE MUNICIPALITY

The entire residential area of the city shall be clean, “attractive” and embellished. The volunteers’ team shall make proposals, become involved and monitor the results of interventions in the residential area.
Resolve the problem with the asbestos pipes in the water supply network and deliver the storm drainage system. Emphasis shall be placed on public health issues.
The defects in streets and pavements shall be fixed, and the problem of urban planning violations shall be permanently resolved over time. Priority shall be given to all matters related to the safety of citizens and the city’s image.
The community of Koloni. Redevelopments and projects improving the quality of life of citizens shall be implemented by the Geroskipou Municipality in collaboration with the community of Koloni, so that their decision to merge can be justified. This can be an incentive for neighboring communities that may request to be merged with the Geroskipou Municipality as part of the local self-government reform.
New cemetery. Taking into consideration the large number of visitors that the new cemetery accepts, compared to the old one, it needs a qualitative improvement.

STRATEGY IC: DEVELOP A CULTURE OF ACTION AND PREVENTION

Health. Focus on preventive medical exams, healthy diet and exercising. The role of the new medical center’s staff, which is still under construction, shall be decisive.
Road Safety. Regular seminars for citizens by police officers, as well as police patrols for law enforcement. Under the Municipality’s auspice, introduce road safety education at all levels of education and especially in primary schools.
Safety against illegal activities. Citizens and members of protection groups formed to deal with such situations shall be regularly trained.

Dealing with extreme natural weather phenomena (earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, heat wave, severe environmental pollution). Programs dealing with such events shall be designed and citizens shall be informed and educated. At indoor public gatherings, participants are required to receive information on how to react in case of fire or earthquake. In case of an earthquake, exercises need to be carried out at regular times in workplaces (i.e. City Hall, schools, etc.)
Household waste management starting with collection at source. The Municipality shall organize informative waste management courses at all levels of education and students who contribute to recycling should be awarded.

STRATEGY ID: CONTACT BETWEEN THE MUNICIPALITY AND THE CITIZENS

Free Wi-Fi in all public areas, indoor and outdoor (i.e. beaches, sports center, square area, large amusement parks, etc.)
Free seminars on IT topics to citizens of all genders and ages interested in them.
Assign the Municipality’s Website on-going updating and improvement to successful professionals, so that the final result can be worthy of the city promoted.
Give awards to citizens for their exceptional offer to their fellow citizens and the community in general (offer in kind or offer of services).
Change the process of dealing with complaints by paying more attention to the time of first reaction, the time of response to the complaint and to the means of communication.
Set up a day during which the Mayor may regularly come into direct contact with citizens.
Set up the Citizens’ Service Center

II. STRATEGIES FOR THE MUNICIPALITY’S ECONOMIC GROWTH

STRATEGY IIA: TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

Set up Focus Groups for cooperation between the municipal authorities and tourism companies on topics of mutual interest
Sports tourism. Expand sports facilities and upgrade their operation to respond to the market’s increased interest.
Conference tourism. In the context of these Focus Groups’ operation, an on-going contact shall be established with tourism operators and tourism companies operating in the municipality.

III. STRATEGIES FOR THE MUNICIPALITY’S ECONOMIC GROWTH COMBINED WITH THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF CITIZENS

STRATEGY IIIA: RENOVATIONS, EXPLOITATIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS:

Sea-front area. Follow the Master Plan to finalize projects that shall attract both residents of the surrounding area and tourists.
Rural area between the city and the beach front. A mild development is recommended so as for the area’s character not to be altered and to become a model of combining mild development projects in a vast area’s ecosystem. The area is ideal for hosting a public university since there is enough space for a campus or a University with student accommodation.
The former Yerokipia Farm. The farm is also suitable for a mild agrotourism development which can be combined with adequate infrastructure for open air performances dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite and many more. Taking into consideration the location and background of the farm and its surroundings, the farm can be the ideal place for hosting a public agricultural, tourism or archaeological school.

STRATEGY IIIB: HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE

The promotion, preservation and prominence of historical monuments by companies specializing in this topic for excellent results.
Establish a natural history museum based in the city’s traditional center where unique sampling of the area’s fauna and flora can be found, and a representation of the production of natural silk and flax shall be exhibited.
Renovate the surrounding area and operate the ecclesiastical museum. The position of the former primary school in the central square is dominant and its garden, if it is embellished by a professional, can become an attraction of the area.
Renovate the area of the square and the city’s traditional center. Avoid the constant chopping and changing in the square. Low cost interventions may convert the area into a prestigious square and the appropriate and professional renovation of the old city’s center shall significantly increase the number of visitors.
Create thematic routes for the city’s visitors. The ultimate goal is to make such changes that a visitor shall not be able to see all the sights of Geroskipou within a few hours, but within days, since pleasant routes and visits to historical monuments, museums and parks shall be offered, as well as lunch and dinner in traditional taverns offering local dishes.
Build an indoor venue for events and performances. Traditionally, most of the city’s events were held in the open air during the long dry season of the year. Nowadays, due to the climate change, an indoor venue for performances and events is required and the project is of high priority.

STRATEGY IIIC: GREEN DEVELOPMENT

Expansion, renovation and creation of new amusement parks for all ages, that shall significantly contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of residents. All these works, as well as their maintenance, require the services of specialized personnel.
Tree planting in streets, squares, parks and parking lots, with local plants and trees that do not need much water.
Use renewable energy sources to meet all the needs of the municipal buildings and facilities, including parks and sports infrastructure.
Gradual replacement of all light bulbs in municipal buildings, streets, squares and other installations with affordable led lighting powered by solar panels and with affordable operating hours

STRATEGY IIID: MUNICIPAL MECHANISM

Draft, adopt and disclose the Vision, the Mission and the fundamental Values that govern the Municipality’ operation.
Review, from scratch, the organizational structure and staffing of the municipality, so that it meets modern requirements of a municipality envisioning the sustainable development as a leverage for continuous improvement of the quality of life of its citizens.
Implement modern and effective human resource programs (motivation, evaluation, etc.), in order to improve their performance for the benefit of citizens, the municipality and its employees.
The Municipal Council shall delegate responsibilities and promote teamwork.
Aim at targeted twinning and educational trips to cities that have long experience on issues that interest the Geroskipou Municipality, such as the development of sports tourism, the promotion of historical and cultural heritage, various environmental activities, mild developments, etc.

D. CONCLUSIONS

The assessment SWOT ANALYSIS results, facilitated the formation of 9 Strategic options which include 43 actions for the sustainable development of the Geroskipou Municipality as mentioned above which are separated into the following groups:

I. Four Strategic choices with totally 22 actions for the exclusive improvement of the quality of life of citizens.

II. A Strategic choice with 3 actions for the exclusive financial reinforcement of the Municipality to implement measures improving the quality of life of citizens.

III. Four Strategic options with a total of 18 actions enhancing the Municipality’s financial capacity, while at the same time improving the quality of life of citizens.

It is worth mentioning that out of the 43 actions mentioned, 24 (55%) are actions that can be implemented at a low or even no financial cost.
Of the remaining actions, only 13 (30%) are new proposals and the remaining 6 (15%) relate to projects that have already been decided and some have already been implemented.

One of the most important strategic choices that shall determine the successful implementation of all the rest, is the restructuring of the Municipal service by applying modern organizational schemes and methods motivating employees to increase their efficiency.

IV. ANNEX

A. PRESENTATION AT THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL (11/18)

B. MATERIAL DISTRIBUTED TO THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL (11/18)

C. PRESENTATION AT THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL (09/19)

D. TABLE OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE SWOT Analysis

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