NEWS

Demolition along Kifissos

Orders to demolish illegally constructed buildings along the Kifissos River that had been filed away out of sight are slowly being executed. Regional governments, including that of Attica, are finally taking action. Representatives of town planning authorities had been making last ditch efforts to undermine the demolition drive by not showing up as required when the bulldozers moved in. Then they started «forgetting» to bring with them to the site the files containing the demolition orders. Even after all these obstacles were surmounted, it was the police’s turn to throw a spanner in the works. In one case, and despite the express orders of the authorities, the police decided that a particular perimeter wall was not illegal and did not need to be demolished. The very same people who Attica authorities say are responsible for turning a blind eye to the situation along the Kifissos River for so many years have been trying up until the last minute to stop the bulldozers from moving in. Just before Christmas, when demolition began at the Psofakis Marble site, the head of the police unit claimed the installations were legal. Town planning staff did bring the necessary documents but not until hours later. At Tuesday’s demolition of a plant nursery in Menidi, western Attica, the official responsible again arrived without the files. The demolition operation began last spring and reached a peak at the end of last year. Work along the Kifissos is expected to continue for another six months and is soon to begin at Schinias. Attica regional government General-Secretary Michalis Kyriakidis said he is determined to ensure the success of the operation. One official was dismissed after repeatedly forgetting to send the demolition orders to hearings of applications to postpone demolitions, allowing the postponements to go through. One of the main problems is that of these delay tactics. For example, Kifissia and Athens authorities have not forwarded a single demolition order.