By Bejay Browne
AROUND 200 metres of a beachside walkway at a popular Polis beach in Paphos has been destroyed due to erosion in the last week, and the remainder could also be affected, according to the mayor of Polis.
Angelos Georgiou told the Cyprus Mail that the erosion is severe and that the ongoing problem can only be solved by creating ten wave breakers in the sea at a cost of around 5.5 million euros.
The walkway is set around 40 metres from the shoreline and runs along the beach from Latsi to the popular Polis campsite, an area of outstanding natural beauty and home to a grove of eucalyptus trees. In the warmer months it is a favourite destination with campers and beach goers from all over the world.
“I am hoping to get the green light for the wave breakers to go ahead and start before the end of the year. Ideally this would be in November after the high season,” said the mayor.
Georgiou added that the project would take around two and a half years to complete and would be mostly funded by the EU with 25 per cent of the cost being footed by the municipality.
“This is a much better deal than before, when we would have had to pay fifty per cent of the costs. I have been trying to find the money for this for the last few years. This is such an important project and protection of the area is imperative.”
Government experts are due in Polis in the coming days to attend a meeting to discuss what measures could be taken to repair the area for the coming summer season.
Georgiou said coastal erosion at Polis bay was devastating and needed to be rectified. He added that the first phase of wave barriers – the four by Latsi port – had shown how efficient and effective they were in protecting the coast from erosion and improving the beaches.
Erosion has affected this coastline for years. Only last May and June, sand had to be pumped back onto Polis campsite beach and one near Latsi after huge chunks of the beaches disappeared within days as stretches of sand were literally sliced away in late December 2013.
Although officials say erosion had been a recognised problem in the area, the scale and rate of it last year was unprecedented.
The head of the government public works department’s coastal engineers Stelios Zevros said that the master plan for protecting the coastline envisaged the construction of 14 breakwaters.
So far, only the four at Latsi port had been erected. Phase one was completed in 2010 and phase two, which would run from the last breaker up to the campsite at Polis, should have commenced immediately afterwards, according to the official.