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Controversy over Ayia Napa beach

ΠΑΡΑΛΙΑ ΑΓΙΑ ΝΑΠΑ ΑΜΜΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΚΑΜΠΟΥΡΗ 1024x768

Contracts were signed to rehabilitate the ‘Ammos tou Kambouris’ beach in Ayia Napa by the municipality and a private sand works company in attempt to but a bandage on a decade of environmental destruction, it emerged on Friday.

The issue has been going on for the past eleven years, when the specific beach was declared a protected site due to the construction in nearby areas. However, the government eventually moved to relax the measures, paving the way to increase development.

On Friday, the Ayia Napa municipality announced that it had signed a contract with the company Sandworks Ltd to rehabilitate the beach.

Contacted by the Cyprus Mail, the company said that they will be bringing sand to the beach as part of the rehabilitation, but that if any planting or other works happen it would be up to the municipality.

According to the announcement from the municipality the works of bringing the sand are set to cost €189,000, which are going to be taken on by the municipality.

At a House interior committee meeting a day ago, Greens MP Alexandra Attalides said that the government, church, and “international convicts” were colluding to commit an environmental crime at the Ammos Kambouri beach.

Her statements brought to the fore an old scandal connected to Malaysian fugitive Jho Low who obtained a Cypriot passport after coming to Cyprus in 2015, and reportedly invested in some property in the Famagusta district.

Presenting images from the area and a number of documents, Attalides told deputies at the House interior committee that the problem has been ongoing since 2012.

Turning to Ayia Napa Mayor Christos Zannetou, she asked for a clear answer if the church has any land in the area and if there were hotels operating at the beach. More importantly, Attalides said she wanted to know if legal measures had been taken against them.

Two years ago, the late Archbishop Chrysostomos was embroiled in the scandal after it emerged Low made a €300,000 donation to the church and then purchased a villa on church land.

Attalides suggested the villa falls under a protected area and therefore should not have been built in the first place.

Commenting further on Friday, Greens MP Efi Xanthou told the Cyprus Mail that even with the move by the municipality to rehabilitate the beach being welcome, the damage will take years to fix, and even then, it would not return to its original state.

She said it was a “landmark decision” to have to beach rehabilitated and would pave the way for other areas that have been similarly affected by developments including Sotira and Peyia to have corrective measures.

However, she said: “Taxpayers will be paying the bill to correct the damage that should not have happened [in the first place].”

She called on local authorities to be more attentive to the interventions made to the environment, to avoid further problems in the future.

Earlier in the week, Attalides called for the case of the environmental crime to be reopened.

She claimed that the police and the legal service failed to substantiate allegations made about planning interventions at the Ayia Napa beach.

She said authorities did not contact complainants to testify and urged that the case should be reopened.

 

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