By Bejay Browne
HOPES are running high that repairs will get underway in the coming weeks at two of the island’s most popular beaches, which all but disappeared in December.
The blue-flagged beach at Polis campsite lost almost 40 metres of sand overnight. In nearby Latsi, a popular beach close to the port also vanished, with a café’s beachside seating left perched on top of a sandy ledge.
The head of the government’s public works departments’ coastal engineers Stelios Zevros confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that investigations were underway to discover the cause.
“We have a permanent station based in the area which takes regular measurements and a team is ready to take further measurements inside the sea, hopefully next week – once the weather permits,” he said.
Many businesses and locals in the area are reliant on tourism as a means of income. This could now be in jeopardy if a solution isn’t found.
Some locals put the catastrophe down to a 6.2 earthquake on December 28 off the coast of Turkey, which was strongly felt in Cyprus, particularly north of Paphos.
But Zevros says he doubts this was the cause of the decimation.
“It is more likely due to severe erosion from the waves and wind,” he said.
Zevros said there has been a problem with coastal erosion in the area for some time; although nothing to this extent. “There is a master plan to construct 14 breakwaters to protect the coastline. So far, only four of the 14 have been erected in the sea by Latsi port, as the economic crisis hit soon after this.”
Phase one was completed in 2010 and Zevros said phase two, which will run from the last breaker up to the campsite at Polis, should have commenced immediately afterwards.
Polis Chrysochous Mayor, Angelos Georgiou said he has met representatives of the public works department and could have some positive news soon on what action would be taken.
“This is a very serious and difficult problem, but I’m sure that something will be done to ease the situation and in time for the tourist season,” he said.
Georgiou said that based on data his team was collecting, they would have to try and figure out where the sand went and if it is still in the surrounding seas.
“We will compare the results with ones from previous years. Hopefully, we will be able to understand the sand’s movement and be able to locate it. If it’s not too far we may try to reclaim it. This action is one of the possibilities facing us.”
If the summer season is to be saved, work will have to be completed by April.
The mayor also said he was waiting to be granted a licence to go ahead with the upgrading plans for Polis campsite. The project will cost close to €1.5 million.