Cyprus Mail

Akamas villages enraged by municipal reforms that split them up

akamas 1
Akamas peninsula

Akamas communities are up in arms over the new local government landscape approved by parliament on Thursday, which splits them between different municipalities in what they see as an attempt to weaken them ahead of the introduction of a management plan for the peninsula.

After years of discussion and haggling, MPs on Thursday finally approved three local government reform bills aimed at creating more efficient local authorities. Changes include reducing the number of municipalities from 30 to 20 and the clustering of local councils.

Under the new landscape, which is due to come into force in 2024, Paphos will have four municipalities – with some of the Akamas communities coming under an enlarged Polis Chrysochous Municipality, and others under Peyia. Three Akamas communities will join the Yiolou cluster.

This arrangement has enraged Akamas community leaders. Inia community leader Yiangos Tsivikos said the communities had three years ago agreed to a 13-strong cluster of Laona-Akamas communities.

Instead, without any consultation, they have now been split into three, and all parties that voted in favour should stay away, he told Pafosnet.

“They should not set a foot in the area, and we will talk again at the next elections. What has happened is political party bartering based on the votes of each party and not an arrangement for the good of the people,” he said.

Tsivikos said that an undemocratic result had been foisted upon them, against which they will be taking legal action.

Neo Chorio community leader Andreas Christodoulos Mahimos spoke in a similar vein. The 13 Laona communities have been working well together for decades, he said.

“They have come to break us up. On the eve of the drawing up of the local plan for the Akamas which we have been waiting for, some people wanted to separate us because they have other plans. Some people decided for us without us. Not a single letter to the state was taken into consideration,” he told the website.

“These parties should not look for votes in these villages. They will all get voted down.”

Under the new system Peyia will be the seat of the municipality of west Paphos which will be made up of the municipality of Peyia and the communities of Akoursou, Inia, Kathikas, Kato Arodes, Kissonerga and Pano Arodes.

And Polis Chrysochous Municipality will also include the communities of Ayia Marina, Androlikou, Argakas, Yialia, Droushia, Kritou Tera, Makountas, Neo Chorio, Nea Dimata, Pelathousa, Pomos, Tera and Chrysochous.

One of the last unspoiled areas on the island, Akamas has for years been a battling ground between environmentalists anxious to ensure its protection and local communities who have been lobbying for what they call mild development that will create jobs and prevent depopulation.

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