NEWS

Red tape blamed for wheel debacle

The private company that installed a Ferris wheel in Syntagma Square, central Athens, for the holidays – which will now be dismantled because it reportedly violated safety regulations – said in a statement Thursdy that it had asked for an extension to produce all the necessary safety certificates but its request was turned down by the Athens municipal authorities.

“The inspection and certification of the wheel by the independent TUV Nord Hellas agency could only begin only after the installation was complete,” said a company statement by Venus Eurofreight, which has the rights to use the type R40 wheel, owned and made by Dutch firms Skyview and Vekoma.

The company added that the certification would then be presented to the municipal council, which is the authority that grants the operation licenses. It also said similar projects in other European capitals took between one and three months to be tested and certified due to bureaucratic procedures.

The affair, which has widely been described by local media as a debacle, also led to the resignation late on Wednesday of the City of Athens official responsible for cultural events, Christos Tentomas, shortly after the municipal authority issued a press release demanding that the ride be dismantled and removed from the busy public square in front of Parliament due to safety concerns.

Venus Eurofreight said Thursday that it will comply with the demand to dismantle the wheel in the coming days, but noted that the ride would have been free for the first 20 days of its operation with zero cost to the municipality.

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