Improving Paroikia harbour has been a distant dream for many years, but now, on the threshold of the 21st Century, it seems that funding has at last been found and work is underway. It is planned to extend the area in front of Polos Tours by about 40metres out to sea in a roughly triangular shape. The other side of the existing harbour will be extended by about 20 metres and run along the present coast road to the Cemetery (Nekrotafio). The objective is to alleviate summer traffic problems by providing an area for the parking of cars and lorries waiting for ferries. This will also improve access to the marina. If the logistics of routing the buses can be overcome, a new bus station may be sited on the area outside Polos. When the new harbour is complete, Paros is hoping to see the advent of a new â€˜Superfastâ€™ ferry service, cutting sailing time from Piraeus by half and thereby vastly improving connections to planes and boosting tourism.
Before you get too excited, however, an unexpected (?) hitch has already arisen. The archeological survey, which must be performed before any construction begins, found several pots and amphora in good condition along with some other interesting items. This suggests that the ancient cemetery extends much further than first thought and divers are now busy seeing what else is down there.
Meanwhile, in the skies above Paros, Hellenic Star Airways has now introduced its new service with scheduled flights to Athens and Syros (see timetable on page 10).
There are also plans for Olympic Aviation (the regional subsidiary of Olympic Airways) to replace its current fleet of seven ATR 72, four ATR 42 and six Dornier 228 aeroplanes with 50-70 seat regional jets.
If youâ€™ve ever experienced the frustration of being unable to get a seat on a flight to or from Paros, then you will appreciate the potential significance of these developments. An enhanced airline service holds the promise of making travel more convenient, not only for the thousands of tourists visiting our island every year, but also for those of us who have made Paros our home.