Most of you participated in the survey carried out by FirstBiz who have been employed by the Council to produce a masterplan for Tala and to advise us on the availability of funding, whether from the EU or from other sources. Most communities in Cyprus have EU funded projects [either completed or in the early stages] and I feel it is important that, as a community, we benefit from the funding available and improve the facilities for everyone.
Over the coming months I will share with you the findings from FirstBiz. As a first step they have provided some enlightening information. Firstly, the breakdown of the population of the village in the various age categories. You will note the tremendous growth in population from 2001 to 2011, but you can also see that most of the residents are aged 45+.
The FirstBiz survey also highlighted what are perceived as the problem areas in Tala, and I show below those problems from the Cypriot point of view and also from the non-Cypriot view. Some of these differences can be explained due to the age range of the respondents, and some also to cultural differences.
1 new employment 24.24%
2 youth centre 22.73%
3 centre for adults 19.39%
4 events hall 17.58%
5 medical centre 15.76%
6 transport 6.06%
7 roads 4.85%
8 community centre 4.85%
1 community centre 19.09%
2 medical health care 17.88%
3 roads 6.97%
4 transportation 5.76%
5 cleanliness 3.94%
6 minors with motors 2.12%
7 events hall 1.82%
8 learning courses 1.52%
9 various activities 0.91%
Problems – Total residents
1 youth centre 22.73%
2 centre for adults 19.39%
3 medical centre/health care 33.64%
4 new employment 24.24%
5 events 20.91%
6 transport 6.67%
7 roads 11.82%
8 community centre 23.94%
As we look at funding and projects over the coming months, we will try and take into account not only what is feasible in terms of costs and availability of funding and grants, but also the comments that you have all made.
Those of you who have visited the council office recently will, I hope, have noticed an improvement. The premises have been painted inside and out, and the flat roof has had the necessary works carried out to prevent water penetration into the building.
During the election campaign, I listened to many people complain that Tala is the most expensive place in respect of rates, especially given the lack of facilities in the area. As a council, we have looked at the bandings currently in place and appreciate that due to time constraints this year, there is little we can do. However, when we review the budgets, by making economies in some areas, and applying the correct rates in other areas, we have decided to offer a discount to all householders, with the exception of a few very large villas. However, in discounting the rates, this means that everyone must pay the full amount in respect of refuse collection. This is due to the fact that with increasing fuel costs and EU requirements regarding recycling, the cost of refuse collection is rapidly increasing and the vehicles have to cover an extensive area in Tala. Trying to police a system whereby single occupiers, or holiday homes pay a reduced amount for the refuse collection is not practical especially as some people have not been honest, and requesting paperwork to support such systems is inefficient and seen as intrusive.
If payment of the rates/refuse collection in one lump sum creates a problem for you, please contact the Council office when you receive your bill so that a payment plan can be agreed.
Unfortunately, there have been ongoing problems collecting money due in respect of water. With immediate effect, those who continue to ignore their water bills will have their water supply cut off. To reconnect the supply, a reconnection fee of €25 plus the outstanding sum due will be required. If anyone has a question regarding their water bill, it is essential that prompt notice is given to the Council, ie within 30 days of receipt of the bill.
I would also recommend that all householders take a regular water meter reading so that any leakages are noticed promptly.
The Welfare Centre is now up and running, serving refreshments at a reasonable cost. For the time being, the centre will be open from 8am to 1pm every day. The annual subscription per person is €20 per year, or €30 per couple, from which will be deducted the €2 already paid. Registration, for those who have not yet registered, and subscription for those who have already registered, can be carried out at the welfare centre every morning. Please call in for a coffee or soft drink when you are passing. A number of people have suggested that the welfare centre become a drop-off point if anyone has excess produce [fruit and vegetables] which they cannot find a home for. Members will then be able to help themselves to any produce available and make a small donation, or recycle the products taken and produce cakes, pies, jam or marmalade for the centre. If you have spare produce, please only leave it at the centre when it is open. Similarly, as there are jam and marmalade makers in Tala, if you have spare jam jars [cleaned please!] these too can be left at the centre.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Mr Hadjimina Sotiris who has very generously funded the purchase of a fridge, television and 2 air conditioning units, and made a contribution towards the running costs of the centre which will allow us to operate pending release of funds from the Welfare Office. The donation has been made in memory of his late wife, Erna.
Could you please note that every Tuesday and Friday a physical education teacher will be at the centre at 9.30am for approximately an hour, to provide gentle exercise classes.
In due course, there will be bingo evenings and a coach trip is being arranged. If you have suggestions for activities or outings, or wish to volunteer your services [whether for home visits, helping with shopping, or other activities] please contact Cathi on firstname.lastname@example.org or 26 653132 and she will pass the information on to the Welfare Committee. Any donations towards the running of the Welfare Centre will also be gratefully received!
On 25 November, please note that there will be a small bazaar to commemorate St Catherine’s Saint Day. This will be at the Welfare Centre from 8am to 1pm.
In Tala and the surrounding area, we have a large number of people with excellent artistic talents. We are in the process of organising an Artists Open Day to showcase this local talent and more information will be available shortly.
We are also in the process of organising a Christmas Bazaar. For details of this and the Artists Open Day, please keep an eye on the website and noticeboards for details.
At both the Artists Open Day and the Christmas Bazaar there will be refreshments available. If you would like to volunteer your services, or make a cake for the refreshment stall [or cake stall at the Christmas Bazaar], please contact Cathi. Funds raised will go towards either the Welfare Centre, to the junior school which wishes to instal an Astroturf playing area for the children, or the nursery school which needs play equipment.
Constantinos Leventis Park
Regarding Constantinos Leventis Park and the Amphitheatre, it is recognised that the facilities are lacking and we hope to address some of these issues over the winter months.
The lease for the café/bar on site has also come up for renewal and, following the tender process, the new tenants are Iannis and his wife Fioroula [Fiona]. They are a young couple and will operate the kiosk/bar 6 days a week. Tuesday to Saturday from 11am until 11pm, Sunday 9am to 11pm. They will be closed on a Monday. If you wish to hold a function at the bar, please contact Fiona on 97 799182 or Iannis on 99 272144.
In respect of the football ground, we have been approached by a Football Academywho have asked to use the facilities on a regular basis. The ground will now be shared between the Tala Football Club, the Paphos Tigers and the Olympic Academy of Piraeus. The changing room facilities at the ground were very limited and in poor condition, and we have therefore spent a little money to improve these.
On the subject of animal welfare, I am concerned to hear that rumours have circulated that either myself or members of the council have been poisoning cats in the village square. Some animals have been poisoned, but I can assure you that this has not been sanctioned or condoned by myself or any member of the council. We have received a number of complaints about cats generally and, in view of the poisoning, John Moffat is in the process of catching as many cats as he can and removing these to Paphiakos. This is purely for the protection of the animals and to prevent any further suffering. Every endeavour is being made to ensure that pets are not caught and taken away.
In respect of the cats up near the monastery, again complaints have been received that these are straying down towards the village, a number have been killed on the road, and a number are in a poor state of health, presumably having been dumped by their owners who cannot afford the medical bills to care for them. Again for the safety of the animals, I have had meetings with the volunteers that look after the cats and they are considering fencing the area, or looking for an alternative safe site for them.
Those of you who live either in Kamares or in the surrounding area, may or may not be aware of an initiative underway to improve security. Details are available on sites.google.com/site/kamareskvha/welcome. The security scheme is based on reduced costs using the buying power of the KVHA Membership. The more subscribers to this Akme Securitas proposal, the cheaper the cost. If there is sufficient interest, the scheme may also be possible in other areas of Tala. Any enquiries should please be directed to the KVHA.
If you are the owner of a dog, you are reminded that by law you must have a licence. To avoid incurring a penalty, please purchase your licence. Licences are €20.50 per dog per year, with the charge increasing to €170 for aggressive dogs [ie Pit Bull, Japanese Tossa, Dogo Argentine or Fila Brazileiro]. To obtain your licence, please call into the Council office bringing with you the dogs health book [which is required for public health reasons].
Please also remember that as a dog owner you have a responsibility to clean up after your dog, to prevent it straying, and to prevent it being a nuisance.
Local Immoveable Property Tax
[Not to be confused with the similarly named tax which relates solely to those properties with an assessed 1980 valuation in excess of €178,600]
Anyone who has their title deeds is due to pay this local tax. Demand notices are never issued and it is the responsibility of every property owner to settle their accounts. The amount payable is set annually by the Community Board up to a ceiling of 1% of the 1980 based valuation as recorded on individual title deeds. Those who, through choice or necessity, have yet to have their house cost included on their title deeds, only pay on the value of the land they hold title to.
Garden Waste Site
In view of the ever increasing cost of refuse collection and demands for a garden waste site, the Council are considering reopening the site on the Kissonerga Road. However, to prevent tipping of non-garden waste, we are looking for volunteers to man the site. If you are willing to spend a couple of hours a week supervising the deposit of garden waste, could you please contact John Moffat on email@example.com or 26 815388. If sufficient volunteers come forward, it is hoped that the site can be open several mornings each week.
General Clean Up
With the cooler weather, if you have a site in your area that is in need of a tidy up, or a park with equipment in need of a coat of paint, could you please let us know. Similarly, if you are willing to give your time to help with a clean up, garden maintenance, or painting project, could you contact Cathi.
With the cooler weather now suitable for planting, could I also remind you that we are looking for people to sponsor or adopt green areas. So if you have a green area in your area which you would like to sponsor or adopt, please call into the council office to discuss this.
There is very little to report on this issue, apart from to say that basically the project elsewhere in the Paphos area has stalled due to lack of funds. Tala Council have been approached with the request that residents start paying immediately towards the sewage installation, but, with no indication of a likely start date, as a Council we have refused to comply. The intention would be that monies provided by Tala residents would then be used to help finish the project in other areas!
We are still awaiting a building permit for the new site and have no idea of timescale. In the meantime, we are having a small extension of the old cemetery carried out which will provide a temporary short-term solution.
Also, please remember that this newsletter is available on www.tala.org.cy . Click on the Union Jack and then announcements. The next issue will be available on 21 November.