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Proposal to increase sunbeds on Lady’s Mile raises concerns

lady's mile website
Lady's Mile beach

A proposal by Ypsonas municipality to dramatically increase the sunbeds and umbrella coverage along the popular Limassol beach Lady’s Mile has raised concern amongst environmentalists and wildlife activists.

The concern is that the municipality’s plan to expand sunbed and umbrella numbers – up to 1,000 – on Lady’s Mile means more visitors and will lead to calls for more parking spaces along “the already congested road”.

“It will exacerbate disturbance, lead to habitat loss, and further compact the sandy beach habitat,” BirdLife Cyprus wrote on social media.

Speaking on Friday to the Cyprus Mail, director of the NGO Martin Hellicar said that the wildlife in the area is already being impacted as the regulations currently in place are not being properly adhered to.

“The rules concerning the current sunbeds are not being observed, and they’re being left out all night in some cases – which means that the turtles can’t get onto the beach properly,” he said.

Hellicar explained that the handful of restaurants along the beach are allowed to have sunbeds and umbrellas outside, but that these are supposed to be stored away by 7pm, although adherence is lacking.

He explained that the proposal for approximately 1,000 sunbeds – “covering basically all of Lady’s Mile” – came from the municipality, but “indeed the responsible authority is the environment department of the British bases”.

It was not immediately clear how far along the plans for any additional beach equipment really are.

Hellicar highlighted that it is a delicate issue but that “a balance between a popular public beach – and that’s great – and the needs of the wildlife must be found”.

“Wildlife does not have a plan B, whereas humans can always find another option – so it’s up to us to find that compromise,” he told us.

Lady’s Mile is about a 15-minute drive from much of the bustling Limassol city.

The beach is adjacent to the Akrotiri wetlands which includes the Akrotiri salt-lake and is popular with visitors while also falling under various nature protection regulations.

Also related to Lady’s Mile is Limassol municipality’s efforts to redevelop the road at a cost of €6m, according to the city’s mayor Nicos Nicolaides.

“Either we leave things as they are today, continuing in an uncontrolled manner, or we do something to stop the status quo and provide a serious service to the area,” he said last month.

The decades-long plan has drawn mixed reactions, with many concerned that the redevelopment may go too far, miss the mark of its stated aim, and spoil the area.

But others argue it is needed as many act recklessly in the area, such as driving on to the salt lake or disturbing turtle nesting sites.

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