Girne Municipality Sports

and Leisure Project

By Chris Elliott……

On Tuesday 6th November the Girne Municipality made a presentation launch of a new Sports Hall and  Green Parkland to the north of the HSBC Bank on land owned by the Municipality and the event was attended by Former President, Mehmet Ali Talat and CTP leader Ozkan Yorgancioğlu together with representatives and friends from many organisations and the leading Turkish and English language newspapers and TV networks.

The event started with smooth music on saxophone and songs by Serdar Tuksal the Municipality Cultural Director with support by a colleague and this was certainly an appropriate opening for such an important event.

Girne Mayor, Sümer Aygin addressed the very large audience and made a presentation about the project followed by similar speeches by CTP Leader, Özkan Yorgancioğlu and Former President Mehmet Ali Talat but unfortunately this was all in Turkish so I was unable to record audio soundtracks of the speeches to be added to this article.

This important project which is self-funded by the Municipality will feature a modern sports hall and this and the green park are  scheduled to have tennis, football, basketball courts, walking, jogging, and skateboard tracks while in the indoor areas there will be table tennis, billiards, chess, aerobics, step, fitness and darts rooms and no doubt we will learn more in due course. There will be meeting rooms, bars and cafes where visitors can take a well earned rest from their labours.

The project’s green field, Botanical Garden, terraces and recreation areas, will have showers, toilets and a large-capacity parking area. This will be supported by a first aid centre and special facilities will be made for disabled citizens, allowing them to rest and participate in the various sports.

This exciting project, which will have the first stage completed in around four months time,  is part of the Municipality Century project which should see 16km of the town’s coastal area being upgraded and enhanced .

Now the higlight of the event was for the Girne Municipality team to gather on stage and for Mr Talat to press the switch which started the first pumping of concrete on the site

Soon the presentation came to an end and I spent time walking around the site and watched as the Municipality workers quickly dismantled the stage and sound equipment and loaded these into vehicles with so many chairs as well. This was a very slick operation and the Municipality deserve a big thank you for a very professionally managed event.

As I walked around the site, I noticed and photographed some ruins which proved to be a dilapidated cemetery and when I sought news of this, it was confirmed that this cemetery was in fact the Houston family cemetery and known locally as the Lauds or Lords cemetery which has been left to the elements for so many years. This cemetery has been included in the project planning and research is in hand and the Municipality to will take steps to refurbish and preserve this piece of heritage for the future with local expert help and advice.

With this final discovery and experiences I have had this week I can appreciate how North Cyprus is developing with great sensitivity and forward-thinking and for those that believe that North Cyprus is a sleepy, going nowhere country, they are wrong. I believe it is these people who are asleep and not aware of the many changes for the better that are taking place and I am glad to be witnessing it.

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