According to a rumor, Pedios River, which took its name from the blood shed in the wars it witnessed, was one step closer to turning Nicosia into an important life center with the support of the EU.
The tender phase has been reached in the project of transforming Kanlıdere, which runs parallel to the busiest street of Nicosia, into a new green area where the people can walk, breathe and spend time with their children.
The project, whose feasibility study was carried out by Nicosia Turkish Municipality in 2018, for the rehabilitation of the entire Pedios River and its surroundings to be organized as a pedestrian and cycling path, was given to UNDP by the EU at the end of 2019 to prepare an implementation project. In order to start the project at the implementation stage, the EU, which will provide financing, should give UNDP a tender order.
Within the context of the project, which will cost 35.5 million TL, the improvement of Pedios River and other branches that feed it, 5-kilometer walking and cycling path, an open-air theater, playgrounds for children, restaurants, cafes and sports areas will be built.
While ensuring the rehabilitation of the river,that creates a very bad image for Nicosia and damages the capital in its current situation, due to both the garbage and rubble discharged and the floods, the new cycling path to be built is expected to encourage cycling and partially ease traffic, as it will contain links to the capital’s existing cycle path.
Within the framework of the project, the pedestrian and bicycle bridge that will be built behind the cinema and shopping center on Mehmet Akif Avenue (Dereboyu) the integration will be provided with the new residential area on the other side of the river, which can only be accessed from Osman Örek Avenue.
IT IS ON THE AGENDA FOR YEARS
The idea of rehabilitation of Pedios River and creating a park around it was first introduced as a bi-communal project within the context of the Nicosia Master Plan in 1984 while Mustafa Akıncı was on duty as the Mayor of the Nicosia Turkish Municipality.
In the following years, within the framework of the project, which came to the agenda from time to time, the river bed was cleaned, and the study on flora and fauna was carried out, but for economic reasons, it could not be implemented in the North. Most of the southern part of the bi-communal project was completed a while ago and went into service.
The Pedios River Project became the priority project in the meetings with the EU, with the latest Bi-Communal Environment Committee brought back to the agenda in 2017, and the municipalities reacted again.
The Head of the Projects Department of the Nicosia Turkish Municipality Ali Güralp and Şerife Gündüz, Co-Chair of the Bi-Communal Environment Technical Committee, who contributed to the agenda of the Pedios River Projects, answered the questions of the TAK reporter regarding the project.
Ali Güralp stated that the most suitable part of the project, which was brought to the agenda again in 2018, was taken to implemention and the EU, which was applied, allocated a budget of 5.5 million Euros for the project from the funding devoted to improving the capacity of the Turkish Cypriot community. Güralp also noted that he updated the old study and gave the project to the UNDP for the implementation of the EU, which had a feasibility study.
“PEDIOS RIVER IS AT A POINT THAT DAMAGES THE CAPITAL”
Ali Güralp thinks that Kanlıdere is at a point that creates a very bad image for Nicosia and harms the capital. Güralp said, “If this is corrected, Nicosia will have a precious jewel. Linear is a perfect place as a park. The natural beauties are so much,however citizens canalize their sewage water to the river or throw their rubble here. ”
Güralp emphasized that the project actually includes not only Pedios River but also Klimos (Asidere) because these two rivers are at the point of damaging Nicosia due to floods, sewage flows, garbage and flies.
Reminding that they cleared the whole river without damaging the flora and fauna and protecting the nature in cooperation with environmental organizations while preparing the project in 2000, Güralp said, “However, the condition of the river is clear now. The river has become its old condition again … Although the Municipality has prevented the throwing of garbage into the river, people start to pour garbage again soon.”
“WE SHOULD TURN THE GARBAGE DUMP TO A GOLDEN NECKLACE THAT TAPE ON NICOSIA”
şerife Gündüz, Co-Chair of the Bi-Communal Environment Technical Committee, stated that Pedios River, as a natural green area for Nicosia, will be a place where the citizens can breathe through the park, walking and cycling paths after being rehabilitated. Gündüz also noted that within the framework of the project, while the river is being organized as a green area with walking and cycling paths, necessary measures will be taken against possible flood disasters.
Pointing out that activities related to environmental education will also be held in the park, Gündüz stated that Pedios River and its surrounding vegetation are very special and that the high rate is considered in the river arrangement planned by the EU. Gündüz also connoted that, “There will be parks and cafeterias. In other words, we will create an area where you can walk, breathe and spend time with your children… Everything will be nice for Nicosia. ”
Güralp, lastly added that families will be able to cycle and have qualified time with their children without any danger through the river and highlighted the importance of this project for Nicosia.
“POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION TO TRAFFIC”
Ali Güralp said that since the bicycle path which will be built along Pedios River was designed to combine with the existing bicycle route from time to time, it would be possible to safely go to many places in the capital by bicycle.
Güralp indicated that as with the cycle path to Şht. Ecvet Yusuf Avenue, there will be links with existing bicycle paths. Pointing that by using Pedios River, Şht. Ecvet Yusuf Avenue and other places can be reached via the bike path, Güralp also noted that providing transportation by bicycle can make a positive contribution to traffic.
Güralp stated that there will be a shorter access to the new settlement area in the south of Osman Örek Avenue (Dereboyu-Metehan Roundabout route) with the pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge to be built within the framework of the project behind the cinema on Mehmet Akif Avenue.
Ali Güralp said, “There is a residential area disconnected from Nicosia. A pedestrian and bicycle bridge is envisaged behind the shopping center to facilitate access to this area, where the bridge on Osman Örek Avenue is not wide enough and is not suitable for pedestrian or bicycle flow”.
Pointing that the bicycle road to be built in Pedios River will be an important part of the capital’s bicycle road network, Güralp said “ The first leg of our bicycle network starts from Şht. Ecvet Yusuf Avenue and continues from the Municipality to Kemal Aşık Avenue; and the other leg continues from the Yenişehir Police Station, extending to the Martyrs’ Monument (Şehitler Abidesi) and from there in front of ETİ to Kemal Aşık Avenue, from Kyrenia Gate to the Parliament, and from there to Kumsal Park. With the project, a link will be made to the creek and a link to Osman Örek Avenue and then to Gönyeli through the bridge behind the shopping center in Dereboyu. ”
THE PROJECT INCLUDES THE BUFFERZONE
Şerife Gündüz emphasized that since Pedios River starts in the south and continues in the north, the rehabilitation of the part remaining in the buffer zone will be part of the tender.
Gündüz indicated “After completion of the whole project, which will start from Agah Necat and continue to the south, will be available when the conditions are suitable. In other words, we will determine how the transition between the park which is already available in the south along Pedios River and the park which is in the tender stage in the north will be achieved when the conditions are appropriate.”
Ali Güralp also stated that UNDP, which has been given an implementation project, will prepare the project for both the northern and southern parts, but said that the implementation area is within the borders of the TRNC.
Indicating that the project should start from the north technically, Güralp said, “These types of projects should start from the bottom of the creek, which we call downstream. It should go from the last point reached by the stream to the main source. In compulsory situations, this can be done otherwise, but this will be very expensive because in case of a possible problem, it will have to start again “.
“OPENING A NEW CHECKPOINT IS THE DECISION OF POLITICIANS”
Upon reminding Ali Güralp that the border crossing issue at the junction point of the two parks, he emphasized that the decision to open a new border is a decision to be made by politicians and that can be opened if political will sees appropriate to open a gate there.
Güralp pointed out that the EU is in favor of starting work by opening a door in the buffer zone. Güralp noted that the NTM has reached an agreement with the Nicosia Greek Municipality to open new border gates and that there are attempts in this direction, but there is no improvement, and there is no need to wait for a door to start the project. Güralp said, “It is not clear when this gate will open. Therefore, it does not make sense to wait for the whole project to open a gate. From our point of view, the project should be implemented as soon as possible and the part in the north should be completed as a reflection of what is done in the south. ”
WHEN WILL IT BE COMPLETED?
Pointing out that the completion time of the project depends on the planning of the EU, Şerife Gündüz stated that there are technical processes that progress very slowly but will end if it starts.
Gündüz and Güralp, who both agree that the project is as important as the completion of the project, emphasizes that it is essential to provide a sustainable structure: There will be cafeterias and parks. There will be trees. These should be maintained continuously”
STARTING FROM TRODOS AND EXTENDING UP TO SALAMİS
Pedios River, which has a length of 90 to 100 kilometers and is the longest creek of the island, starts from Troodos and heads to the Mesarya plain from the north east of the capital Nicosia and then to the east and reaches the sea near Salamis in Famagusta.
Arriving only in rainy periods, the creek flows very little nowadays. While the flow rate is 2 to 5 million cubic meters in the years when normal precipitation is taken, this amount can increase up to 7-8 million cubic meters in the years when the precipitation is above normal.