President of the Kokkinochoria sewerage council and Mayor of Dherynia, Andros Karayiannis, has asked to meet with the ministers of the interior and agriculture to find a solution for the completion of the planned sewerage plant which has sparked contention among the area’s residents.

Liopetri residents are reacting to the construction of a sewerage pumping station, arguing that the project be done 500 metres further away. Earlier this week, residents gathered at the planned site in protest, and physically prevented scheduled drilling works from beginning, claiming that the plant will be built next to their homes in a residential area, causing environmental pollution, nuisance and stench.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Karayiannis said the project must be completed by 2023, and added that a council meeting on Thursday, which included the director of European development programmes, Theodosis Tsiolas, the director of the ministry of agriculture, and officials of the water development council, had detailed the residents’ concerns.

Karayiannis said following the interruption of works by residents, the matter has become the responsibility of the pertinent authorities. The mayor brought up the fact that €30.5 million–earmarked for the project from EU Political Cohesion Funds—are at stake, and that, in his view, the Liopetri residents’ reactions jeopardise delivery of this funding.

“In the event of this, the project will not be completed until December 31, 2023,” he said.

Describing the construction of the plant as necessary for the protection of the environment and public health, Karayiannis stated that there cannot be a community in Cyprus without a functioning sewerage system in 2022.

According to Karayiannis experts have already explained that the plant cannot be moved from its proposed site, due to the morphology of the soil and the sewerage board is unwilling to incur an additional sum of half a million euros, to build the pumping station elsewhere.

Deputy Mayor of Liopetri Vassos Manolis, for his part, told CNA that residents were not against the construction of the station per se but that they strongly object to its location. Residents had sought input from a private specialist who they say gave the opinion that the project could in fact be done in a simple way, on public land along the same road, only 500 metres away.

Manolis added that community protests against the project have been ongoing since 2004, but no one was interested in visiting the alternate site proposed by residents to study the feasibility of relocation.

“In the event that the views of the community are not heard, we will collect residents’ electoral registers, as well those of residents of neighbouring communities who support us, and hand them over to the district administration in protest,” Manolis concluded.