06 April 2012 11:13

Along with many Larnacans, I’m sure, I read with interest the recent announcement that the old Larnaca airport is to be turned into a showcase for Chinese companies.
Personally, as long as our government crosses all the t’s and dots all the i’s in terms of developing a well-conceived, well-engineered facility, I’m in support of the project.
I hope that our local workforce, and our local economy, will benefit from the thousands of jobs that are said to be created as part of this development.
I also hope that the local environment will benefit, and that the aesthetics of the site are taken into account.
As it is, let’s be honest, the site is a mess. I was one of the first to praise the development of our town’s shiny new airport… and while I wouldn’t claim to be the best-travelled jetsetter in the world, I find it a modern and largely pleasant terminal to travel through. The tree planting around the car park has paid off, and even the nearby roundabouts have bloomed.
But, considering that this area boasts one of our town’s biggest attractions – the Salt Lake – we need to do better. Some efforts have been made.
That we can actually see the Salt Lake now, instead of just rows and rows of parked cars is an improvement. But whenever I’m showing guests around the town, I still find myself thinking up ways to get my guests to look the other way as we pass the old airport.
(Similarly, the ongoing saga of the Larnaca-Dhekelia road. Another stretch of our town’s precious coastline that continues to be blighted by unattractive, aged commercial development that should have been redeveloped long ago. But that’s a whole other rant.)
I’m all for redevelopment of the old airport. I just pray that those involved will take into account the environmental importance of the area they’re working in. Would it be too much to ask them to incorporate some sort of environmental centre… a facility that local residents and visitors alike can visit after taking in all the latest ingenious inventions being displayed by our friends from the east.
Somewhere that I can take my guests and regale them with facts about flamingos, and the days when a booming trade was done gathering salt… while proudly boasting how our town continues to be a hub for international trade.
I live in hope.