The Facebook group ‘Save our forest – Ayia Napa’ on Tuesday welcomed the decision of the Ayia Napa municipality to reject the construction of a golf course in the area.
Ayia Napa Forest Golf Ltd had requested the long-term lease of 777 hectares of state-owned forest land for the construction of a golf course including residential, touristic and commercial development.
The overwhelming majority of Ayia Napa residents decided to protect the forest instead, which is why the municipality rejected the proposal to lease the area.
On October 24 a public discussion on the subject took place, and residents of the area handed a protest resolution to the former Mayor of Ayia Napa on November 1.
“It is noted that most of this state forest land, which was originally proposed for lease by the forest department itself, has been reforested some 30-40 years ago (between 1980 and 1990) after many efforts and at high cost and is covered with trees such as pines, cypresses, olive trees, carob trees, and fig and eucalyptus trees,” the group said.
In addition, part of the long-term lease of state forest land is already leased by the forestry department to eligible farmers for irrigated crops.
“Recognising that the available state forest land in the area has been greatly reduced, with all the negative consequences for the environment and society, we demand, as an Initiative Group, the safeguarding of the remaining state forest land for future generations,” the group said.
In February this year, environmental authorities turned down an application for a golf resort in the Ayia Napa area because of the negative irreversible effects on the natural environment.
The decision was taken after they conducted an ecological assessment study and an environmental impact study.
The study concluded the project would lead to the destruction of 7.5 per cent of a priority-protected Natura 2000 habitat of seasonal Mediterranean lakes.