The conference titled, “Planning the Lefkada of the future”, was held on Saturday, April 20, 2019, by “Sixroni Lefkada” and was perhaps one of the most interesting ones held in Lefkada in recent memory.
Lefkada mayoral candidate and party leader, Mr. Haralambos Kalos, after welcoming everyone mentioned that “Sixroni Lefkada” continues to be a trailblazer, taking initiative and proving to all the residents that they can trust us to run the municipality and that things can happen. He mentioned the on-going issues of the island, but also discussed the development opportunities that our island has stating that Lefkada can become a brand name.
Mr. Kalos presented the National System of Rewarding Recycling, considered worldwide the most effective way to maintain high participation levels of recycling. Each resident can recycle aluminum, glass and plastic at the automated machines and receive a cash value coupon or may select to donate the value to charity. “Sixroni Lefkada” proposes that one of these “recycling houses” is placed at the square in the entrance of the island so that residents and visitors know that we respect the environment and we recycle.
Mr. Glykeria Katifori, executive of the Unit of Programming and Assessment of the Special Managing Authority of the Regional Operational Programme of Western Greece, confirmed that Rewarding Recycling is on the top of the agenda in regards to financing from the ESPA programs. She mentioned that development must be balanced in all areas with a concentration on infrastructure and not on specific projects and that we should already be planning for the next programming period.
Mr. Kalos was critical against the current municipality for the delay in submitting the OXE plan mentioning that an altered invitation was issued only for the municipality of Lefkada in the end of December 2018, when most municipalities had submitted their plans long before.
Following, Mr. Ioannis Kotoulas, council member of Trikala and president of “e-Trikala A.E.”, presented some of the innovative projects that have come to life in the 4,5 years that he has been part of the local government. Electronic resident card, automated system to receive documentation, home delivery of certificates, customer service hotline, telemetry of water supply, garbage can sensors, driverless bus, utilization of the “The Mill of Elves”, innovation nexus for new businesses, being some of the main projects that have taken place. Mr. Kotoulas mentioned that during this election period he has received approximately 75 invitations to speak at such events, but has selected to speak at only three, including the one hosted by Mr. Kalos, because he recognized something special in him and what he has to offer to his island, impressed by the fact that he travelled all across the country in his efforts to collect good practices.
Mr. Lysandros Tsilidis, president of the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist and Travel Agencies mentioned that in order for the tourist and travel professionals to properly function, necessary infrastructure must be developed and niche marketing and targeting of tourists is a must. He discussed the numerous comparable advantages of our island, emphasizing sea tourism, and also pointed out that in order to extend the tourist season, we must develop alternative theme related tourism.
Three Lefkada residents presented three different ways to develop theme related tourism in Lefkada. Mr. Christos Chalikias, scuba diving instructor, discussed scuba diving in Lefkada and the many geographical advantages to develop this in our surrounding islands. Mrs. Stavroula Stavraka, carnival troop leader and candidate for city council with “Sixroni Lefkada” presented the up and coming carnival of Lefkada and how it can serve to attract tourist during the winter period. Ms. Irini Vonitsanou, president of the Cultural Association of Platystoma, “The Red Church”, and city council candidate with “Sixroni Lefkada”, presented ways to promote the inland through trekking routes, which have to be certified and advertised, as well as the promotion of religious tourism.
Then, Lefkada mayoral candidate, Mr. Haralambos Kalos presented six innovative proposals by “Sixroni Lefkada” that would benefit all the residents.
- The cooperation of the municipality with Reward Recycling so that the next phase of recycling in Lefkada may begin, and of course the placement of the recycling houses, one of which would be situated in the square at the entrance of the Lefkada town.
- Creation of a customer service hotline, so that through an application or a simple phone call all residents may make their requests through an electronic central database.
- Implement an electronic citizen card, with many benefits to the residents.
- Utilization of the peripheral parking areas and especially the city parking across from the bus terminal KTEL, establishing transportation means that are friendly towards the environment like bike-sharing systems and small electric buses.
- Upgrade municipal streetlights by replacing all the lightbulbs and conserve up to 50% energy and to reduce CO2 pollutants.
- Apply virtual net metering by using photovoltaic panels on municipal buildings and especially schools, aiming to reinforce net metering as a way to conserve energy and reduce costs.
“Sixroni Lefkada” thanks all the speakers, the deputy-chair of the city council, Ms. Aspasia Grigori for her excellent coordination of the event, the audience that attended the event, as well as the Cultural Center of the municipality of Lefkada for allowing us to use the conference room.
Following are the video and photos from the conference.
You may see the entirety of the conference on the YouTube channel of “Sixroni Lefkada”.