DATE OF THE DEBATE: 06th March 20221
LOCATION OF THE DEBATE: Innopolis offices (Aigio)

InnoPolis organized the 3rd meeting to monitor the project “Reuse of Basic Buildings of the former Aigio Paper Mill”, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have combined physical and online presence (of a mixed type).  Specifically, the meeting took place at the offices of InnoPolis in Aigio and was attended with the physical presence of 10 citizens, 5 women and 5 men. Mr. Vassilis Christopoulos, Deputy Mayor of Development, Welfare and Urban Planning and Head of the project “Reuse of Basic Buildings of the former Paper Mill of Aigio” participated with an online presence through Webex for COVID-19 reasons.

The facilitator, Mrs Zakelina Sirinian, initially briefly presented the purpose of the “Europe for Citizens” Programme, as well as the specific objectives of the project “Citizen Monitoring for the Future of Europe”.

At the previous meeting, following a desk research on the documentation and open data available for the project on the Greek platform Open Data for EU-funded projects (, participants realized that more information is needed about the project, the study for the restoration of the building, and the environmental impact of the project.

The interview was prepared together with the monitoring team, which, after verifying and analyzing the open data available about the project, decided to make an interview with the representatives of the municipality of Aigialeia.

This preparatory work led to a series of questions-answers (Q&A) and includes the following:

Q: Tell us a few words about yourself and about the project “Reuse of Basic Buildings of the former Aigio Paper Mill”

A: I am Vassilis Christopoulos, Deputy Mayor of Development of Urban Planning and Technical Works of the Municipality of Aigialeia. One of the projects that Municipality is currently running is the reuse of buildings of the former Aigio Paper Mill. It is a project that we submitted to the Ministry of Development and has been funded. We are back quite a bit to the timetable due to covid. Now, the company that is a contractor and has undertaken the architectural studies and the static studies, he will submit to us the final studies.

Q: In which building are the works carried out?

A: Ιt is the large building with the blast furnace and the perimeter buildings.

Q: Have the works begun?

A: Works have not begun, we are in the phase, as I mentioned, of studies. Once the studies have been delivered, we will auction the project. This is as simple as it sounds but it is so difficult because the studies will make higher costs than those estimated, and we had submitted the initial technical bulletin that we asked for 4.000.000€ and we got the funding. These buildings are old, and they are also closed to sea, so the final studies will give an increased repair cost.

Once the studies are delivered, as the next step, the money will not reach, and we will need to be filled in.  We are going to make a bridge with other European projects. At this stage, we have booked an appointment at the Ministry of Development to discuss with the competent authorities. How we could integrate this project to other program either in its entirety or as a bridge or complementary.


Q: What use will the buildings have?

A: These uses are various, from various cultural and sports multi-places, service areas for the Municipality e.g., we can keep some records of the Municipality.  There is a department of the Technological Educational Institute closed to the building of Paper Mill and it could be a place where various physiotherapy treatments and laboratories will take place. A Center for Creative Activity of Children, a museum of Paper Mill, an exhibition space of all the machines that have survived because we know that it has been looted and most things have been stolen and some other municipal authorities had given a piece of machinery for scrap, -as we know- as well as a space will become a municipal council space.

Q: What about the other buildings? will they join another program?

A: We are making some efforts these days. There is a group of citizens who have some interesting ideas and we have already tried in this programme that is currently running in Greece 2.0 to include it. Unfortunately, its timetable is very tight. But in some other financial instrument we will certainly try to integrate one of these buildings in the Paper Mill into another programme.

Q: As can be seen from the progress of the project, the contracts relating to the execution of the project have been signed, and which contract has already been signed?

A: We said there is one contract, the one that has to do with the studies.

Q: What do the other contracts concern and when are they to be signed?

A: The rest of the contracts are in the implementation phase. The rest of the contracts are with a technical consultant, and it is the implementation phase has nothing else. It is a contract that has to do with the studies and the second is the tender that will run to have a contractor for the repairs.

Q: Who is the Contractor?

A: It is a company, a Technical Society of Studies called Ilida, it is from Athens, it is good, quite fast. We have done a very good job; they have lifted in 3D models the whole Paper Mill. They have scanned it with modern machinery and their work as they did a demonstration last week and it is very good.

Q: These data for Ilida and for the signing of the contract, we have also seen on the website of the Ministry of Development that has the open data.  From there we have also found some data. I wanted to ask, is this updated by your technical service? the site sends data to the Ministry of Development from time to time?

A: Now, we are working, with the Ministry of Development, all platforms are electronic, whether the project operator or someone else may have uploaded them.

Q: According to the schedule, the estimate is that the project will be delivered in October 2022. Will there be an extension of the deadline for the completion of the project?

A: The timetable has been updated; it has changed. Next week or this week perhaps the final studies will be delivered, and we are in the process of finding out how we can implement it, because the money is not enough what we have already in the budget.

Q: Environmental protection is one of the thematic objectives of the project, and how can this be achieved?

A: First, only the buildings that exist now are an element of the environment that we all live in. The Paper Mill is a piece which – let’s say – both historically and, are some buildings which are the environment we live in and now, you see how they are. So just with the reuse and with the repairs that will be made has a positive imprint on the environment. The various seminars that everyone can be shared, places to have workshops on the environment, too many things, too many activities. So, in a nutshell we are doing something very, very good for the environment.

Q: Due to the historical and architectural value of the building complex, as well as its location at a strategic point of the coastal zone of Aigio, the development of the Paper Mill of Aigio is a timeless goal of the Municipality. According to the indicators it is estimated that the building will attract 10.000 visitors. Is there a plan of actions and promotion to achieve this goal?

A: When this is completed, either this one as a program or along with some other programs, overall, you understand that in similar areas and in similar cities it attracts several visitors I do not know if it will be 10.000 visitors, but surely all this multiplex will have a lot of activities and will certainly attract a lot of people. Perhaps it reaches where there is the old carpentry that will be a wine bar which will be beautiful and very quiet place for professionals to make their appointment, to have various events, activities for Center for Creative Activity of Children, some services of the municipality, activities for culture, for medicine. Surely this will be as attractive as it is in other areas. Through this, the Paper Mill will be a point of reference for Aigio, if we manage to implement it.

Finally, at the next meeting the monitoring team will visit the project reference site and conduct interviews with residents to collect their feedback on the project.