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Controversy brews over Lara beach sunbeds

Εκδήλωση διαμαρτυρίας στην Παραλία Λάρας στον Ακάμα, Πάφος
File photo

Sunbeds will be placed on Lara beach whether there is a permit for them or not, Inia’s community leader said on Thursday, enflaming environmentalists and going against everything the agriculture minister had pledged a day earlier.

The community leader Yiangos Tsivikos’ provocative statements were a response to Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos, who announced the Akamas local plan after Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

The minister expressly said sunbeds and umbrellas will never be accepted on Lara beach.

However, Tsivikos was on the airwaves saying if a permit would not be granted for the sunbeds, he would go and place them there himself, authorities be damned.

At the same time, Xenophontos was also accused of being ambiguous over the matter, after he appeared to renegade on his earlier strongly worded statements.

Grilled during an interview on the state broadcaster on measures for the Akamas local plan, he was asked multiple times if sunbeds and umbrellas at Lara beach would be expressly forbidden.

He said the fisheries department rules forbid it but if a request was filed from the community, it would be examined.

Green party member Efi Xanthou told the Cyprus Mail that the political attitude where “we say no to sunbeds but maybe we’ll consider it” is not ideal.

Nonetheless she said she would choose to focus on his earlier adamance.

Additionally, Xanthou raised the matter of poor enforcement which is already in place. Sunbeds are not allowed at Gialia beach after 7pm however it transpired that this was not effectively adhered to.

Where the contentious 250 Lara beach sunbeds are concerned, Xenophontos rubbished the figure on Thursday, saying the government had no such thoughts.

Evidently, Tsivikos has other plans and environmentalists quickly picked up on the fact that with 250 sunbeds, this would mean a host of cars to the area and increased foot traffic that would inevitably follow.

“They haven’t said how many parking spots there will be,” Xanthou stressed.

The minister however responded by saying “Cypriots are sensitive people; they care about turtles. There’s even a museum for turtles in the area”.

The statement raised a lot of eyebrows, not only because it contradicted the facts on the ground but because having hordes of people parked and at the beach would impact the turtles, whether people were sensitive or not.

Additionally, Xenophontos did not specify whether sunbeds may be permitted at the nearby cliff at the beach.

“Whether they’re at the cliff or on the beach, there will be cars in the area,” Xanthou highlighted.

Additionally, she raised concerns over the 14 kiosks that will be permitted to be setup in Akamas.

“We’re focusing on the sunbeds and not even discussing this.”

Xanthou raised fears that these kiosks will have provisions for water, electricity and be linked to a road network, thus there me be risks of future development that may go beyond the scope of a simple kiosk.

“I hope this sunbed discussion is not a deflection so as to take attention away from this.”

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