Cyprus Mail

Akamas Park: a difficult goal

This democracy of ours is still discussing what to do with the Akamas park (which mainly comprises governmental land, as well as some privately owned plots) without any solution in sight.

On the one hand the locals insist on the possibility of development of around 10-15 per cent building density claiming that it is the only way for the locals to be placed on an equal position with other agricultural areas, with the goal for the locals to remain in their villages. On the other side the various environmentalists insist on retaining the prevailing agricultural zones as they are.

In their remote position, the Akamas villages have a poor income hence the depletion of the local population, which has now fallen to 40 per cent of the original number.

If indeed the government grants widespread development rights in the area, more likely than not the locals will sell their property at much higher prices and move away, thus not achieving the goal of retaining the local population.

A targeted (mainly touristic) approach is the solution, on which other commercial activities could be attached. The first effort was made by developing the Anassa hotel, which is now a jewel for the locality and Cyprus in general and the under construction hotel at Latchi harbour. Other projects such as the Photiades Group at Fontana Amoroza and the more recent proposed project by the Shacolas Group (at Limni) have been turned down, robbing the locals, including local farmers of any chance of improvement. The only positive development for the area is the new expected improved Paphos-Polis road.

We should adopt a business basis for development including agriculture on which other small businesses could be developed, whereas the position of the ministry of agriculture not wanting to improve and asphalt the dangerous earth roads, which could improve the visitation and enjoyment of the park, is a mistake.

Some of our thoughts of infrastructural development on which the Akamas peninsula could be based are the reduction of hunting, the use of forest rangers, the reduction of the camping areas (two to three spots with a capacity of 50 people) with facilities, the creation of boat shelters…

If this business approach of ours for the development of the area is adopted, Akamas might have a good chance of survival. This approach has been adopted by all sorts of run down villages, such as Zagorochoria in Greece, distant villages in Sardinia and even numerous villages/localities in Italy.  If such a business approach is adopted, then local properties values and demand will fall into place. So too could tourist development of five to six small scale hotels which should blend with the environment.

If we are to address the widespread development zones vis-à-vis the situation some limited development should be allowed in chosen localities (not only on the beach).

Housing should be limited to the periphery of villages and all licenced projects to be provided in terms of facilities/services by the state, but land owners to be charged the cost prior to any development and to be paid as such.

This is the basics of a compromise solution which will not please everyone but it can form the basis of deliberations that could conclude within the next six to 12 months., [email protected]

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