Cyprus Mail

Akamas landowners want ‘mild development’

By Evie Andreou

AKAMAS landowners said on Thursday they could not understand why environmentalists are not satisfied with the state land that will be designated as a national park and are pushing, instead, to incorporate private land as well without the consent of the owners.

The committee of landowners said they want the “immediate implementation” of the December 19 cabinet decision for Akamas and will appeal on Friday to President Nicos Anastasiades and his government as Agriculture minister Nicos Kouyialis presents the final proposal to the House Environment committee.

The proposal, which was approved by the affected communities of Akamas when it was first presented in November, provides for the designation of state-owned land as a national park and allows partial development.

Activists, however, disagree with the proposal and want the whole of the Akamas peninsula, including private properties and the local communities, be designated a biosphere park as is defined by UNESCO.

“We cannot understand why 75 square kilometres of the Akamas forest and state land is not enough for the environmentalists and they want to add another 35 to 40 square kilometres of private land without the consent of the owners…,” the announcement said.

The state, they said, could face paying millions in compensation to land owners who are suing.

The announcement said that landowners are ready to contribute to set up a group of experts in urban planning, as well as to the financial viability of such projects. It added that they are ready to cooperate with the Green Party “to create a plan of sustainable, ecological mild development across the Akamas peninsula”.

Meanwhile, activists are organising a protest outside the parliament at 8.15am on Friday.

The Cyprus Natural Coastline initiative, one of the organisers of the protest, called the cabinet proposal as “catastrophic and condemnable” and invited everyone to join the demonstration “with placards, banners and whistles”. “Akamas belongs to us all,” the group said in an announcement on Facebook, with 7,500 people having signed the online petition so far.

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