The latest plan for the management, development and exploitation of the Akamas National Park was presented by the agriculture ministry on Thursday.
The presentation was hailed by Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis as “the beginning of the realisation of a 30-year-dream”.
“We expect that with the construction of the park we will effectively protect the nature and the biodiversity of the region, showcase the beauty of the Akamas, attract more visitors and decisively assist in the revitalisation and sustainable development of the Akamas area as well as the whole of the Polis Chrysochous region,” the minister said.
He added the Akamas National Forest Park covers an area of 77 square kilometers and includes all state land, forestry and other, while measures to protect and promote the environment are taken for the whole Natura area that includes both state and private property.
Kouyialis explained the park would be jointly managed by the forestry department and the communities in the area, pointing out that the revenue from the activities to be allowed within the park would benefit the communities significantly while part of the revenue would be used for maintenance purposes of the park.
The planning was done after consulting the communities, environmental organisations and landowners in the area, making it clear that there will be no building within the park. Regarding the issue of private property, Kouyialis said that this will be solved by drawing up the local plan for the entire area, which is underway.
Details of the plan will be discussed by stakeholders on January 19.
The government declared all state-owned land in Akamas – around 75 per cent of the area – as a national forest park in 2016. It stipulated however that private property will be excluded from the area designated as a national park and also allowed mild development. This specific point satisfied landowners but stirred strong criticisms from environmentalists who fear there is no such thing as mild development.