PROPERTY owners at the complex in question have been trying to cut through legal red tape for more than 18 months over the operation of a small pool. They hope to clear up the issue before the summer.
According to a spokesman for the residents, swimming pool-rules on Cyprus are still handled according to the laws of 1992 and 1996 classing the facility as ‘public’.
“These stipulate that, in order to obtain an operation licence, residents of a ‘public’ communal pool must install a chlorinator, electrical improvements and drawings of the electrical panel of the pool, drawings of the swimming pool pump room, two changing rooms, two chemical toilets, one oxygen bottle and a foot-bath. Additionally, under the laws they must employ a lifeguard at the cost of approximately €2,000 per month,” he told The Cyprus Weekly.
“Our pool is virtually a splash pool. The maximum depth is 1.4 metres. Most of the owners have a swimming certificate, but this is not acceptable for the authorities. They insist that we do a professional course which is unacceptable for us as most of the owners are over 70 years old.”
Most of the owners at the complex live abroad and visit Cyprus at most twice a year and say they are aggravated by “impossible rules of the municipality.”
Municipalities are responsible for enforcing laws on public swimming pools. For years the authorities turned a blind eye to the laws on public pools over concerns that a necessary increase in communal charges would put off potential buyers of properties in complexes.
But the Interior Ministry has demanded municipalities provide documents for operating licences.
Pools attached to a private home are not affected by the laws. Paphos Municipality confirmed to The Cyprus Weekly that it is in charge of public swimming pools but the specific staff member was not available to clarify what constitutes a public pool or whether the laws are being updated to the EU framework.
Property owners at the complex in question had their passports taken away by the court and were required to return several times before retrieving them after the judge said their failure to comply with pool regulations was a criminal offence.
“These were honest people in their seventies. The legal and court fees were €1,350. What a shame for Cyprus,” the spokesman said.
“Cyprus signed and adopted the EU-standards over communal pools. These European standards have been given the status of a national standard and conflicting national standards should have been with drawn at the latest by March 2009. Apparently these standards were published in the Cyprus Official Gazette on October 24, 2008. In other words, Cyprus is bound to implement these European standards.”
The EU-standard means that the pool in question must be classed under Type 3 as a private pool rather than a public pool and therefore be free from the requirements stipulated under the 1992 and 1996 laws.
But after the court-case the residents were under pressure from Paphos Municipality to install the facility improvements as required by the Cyprus Law in order to get the licence. The total cost of this was €6,900.
“Today we still do not have the licence for the pool as we do not have a lifeguard. We did not have another alternative other than to close the pool and so we did as of November 2010 until further notice. The time has come to change the Cyprus Law into the EU standards so that the authorities in most cases can give a licence to the complexes and stop with impossible money-eating regulations.”
Meanwhile, Peyia councillor, Linda Leblanc is trying to get some answers on how the legislation affects residents there.
“I’ve been trying to get things moving through Peyia Municipality but we are still stuck with no action and no further news on the legislative side yet.”
According to the Cyprus swimming pool regulations:
- Cyprus Law N.55(I)/92 paragraph 2 states that the term ‘public swimming pool’ also includes the swimming pools of buildings which are used by the owners of the units or their tenants.
- Regulation Number 368/96 paragraph 47 (1) states that all the employees relating to the swimming pool have to obtain a health certificate, to be clean and to behave properly.
- Regulation Number 368/96 paragraph 47(2) states that all the trained supervisors will be on duty during the operation and the use of the swimming pool. Their number is determined in accordance with the size of the swimming pool and the number of the persons usually using the swimming pool.
- Regulation Number 368/96 paragraph 47 (2)(a)(i) states that for small swimming pools at least one trained supervisor is necessary to be appointed.
- Regulation Number 368/96 Part VII paragraph 53 states that a license is needed for the operation of a swimming pool by applying to the relevant authority. The last decision is made by the Minister.
However, according to the European Union standard EN 15288-2, Type 3 pools are “private use – use of an installation designated solely for the owner’s/proprietor’s/operator’s family and guests including the use connected with renting houses for family use”.