By Bejay Browne
LAST year officials pledged to review the operation of a new beach bar operating at a turtle-laying beach in Paphos, following a raft of complaints that the bar was endangering the nesting sites of endangered species.
Following questions raised by Cyrus Green Party MP George Perdikis over the operation of the beach bar, an announcement on Friday by the Greens said that the ministry of agriculture, rural development and the environment, would be closely monitoring the situation after the department of building and housing sent the owners an ‘Enforcement Notice’ under Article 46 of the Town and Country Planning Act, to terminate the existing usage and removal / demolition of non-licensed construction, last year.
Last year, community leader of Neo Chorio, Andreas Christodoulou, told the Cyprus Mail the facility had a licence to operate as both an organised beach, providing sunbeds and umbrellas, and as a café, selling soft drinks and snacks, but no alcohol. However, the Paphos District office said that although there is a permit for a designated bathing beach, there is no licence for a beach bar to operate there.
The sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach sit alongside a number of turtle nests. Perdikis raised questions with the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Nicos Kouyialis, to inform the House of Representatives what measures the ministry intended to take to shut down illegal bar at Asprokremmos in an effort to preserve the protection of turtles.
Perdikis noted: “I have been informed of the illegal operation outdoor bar near the Anassa hotel. After investigating the complaints of swimmers and local residents, I found that these complaints are valid and pose an issue for the survival of turtles that lay their eggs in this beach”
Perdikis said a reply from Kouyialis, noted that the environment department was initially requested by the relevant authorities in July last year, to provide information on licensing in the area, and sent a letter to the Paphos District Administration requesting information on the actions it intended to take to remedy the illegalities which were adversely affecting the ecosystem.
Suggestions were made that human activities on the beach must not threaten the survival of sea turtles. These actions relate to nuisance issues such as, lighting, noise and use of the beach by bathers.
Kouyialis said that an enforcement notice had been served. He added that the ministry would continue to closely monitor any activities in the area which could affect the breeding of turtles.