Cyprus Mail
FeaturedOpinionOur View

Our View: Akamas plan must not break the bank

comment les the rezoning of nature areas such as on the akamas peninsula all reflect the corruption of government officials
According to the European Commission, conservation measures for 28 of Cyprus' 37 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) have not been established and the conservation objectives for five sites are deemed inadequate, leaving species and habitats vulnerable.

After years of consultations, which included quarrels, protests, and stand-offs between the Akamas communities and the successive governments, the Akamas plan was approved by the council of ministers.

It had taken many years for the plan to be finalised, the Anastasiades government engaging in endless horse-trading to wear down the opposition of the area’s landowners, who would not be able to develop their properties. In the end, the outgoing council of ministers approved the plan, in one of its last decisions, with the proviso that it would not be implemented for six months.

In other words, it decided to leave the thankless task of carrying on the consultations with representatives of the communities to the new government, which had until the end of August to put the final touches to it. A four-month period was given for the submission of objections and 620 were filed. Some of these were addressed by a committee set up by the town planning department which put together its own package of proposals and presented it to the communities at the end of July.

There were still misunderstandings, it appeared, as one community leader suggested that Inia village should be allowed to place sunbeds on the Lara turtle beach. Agriculture minister, Petros Xenophontos, issued a strong denial on Wednesday, asserting that this would never happen. Now there is talk of putting the sunbeds on the hill overlooking the bay, but for this the approval of the forestry department, apparently, would be needed.

The most important issue that has yet to be agreed on is the compensation that would be paid to landowners. The government has labelled this a “subsidy” per hectare to landowners, for “the contribution of the countryside plots in the protection of the environment and the maintenance of the area’s biodiversity.” It would appear the landowners are holding out for a higher price per hectare than has been offered by the government, which had said the level of subsidy would be announced later, suggesting there will be more haggling.

Landowners, understandably feel hard done by, as they have been denied the right of developing their land, a right enjoyed by landowners in all other parts of Cyprus, admittedly, with devastating effects for the environment. A level of compensation is justified, but the government should resist the temptation of being very generous, in order to keep locals happy. The latter will hold out for as much as they can get, but the government must consider public finances. It should bear in mind that whatever it offers would not be considered enough to satisfy the locals.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Israeli media: US missiles transited Cyprus en route to Israel

Elias Hazou

National guard chief: Auditor’s report risks military secrets

Elias Hazou

Calls for ‘urgent’ action on migration

Tom Cleaver

Local govt reform ‘on the right track’

Tom Cleaver

Kurt Cobain is still shaping culture

The Conversation

Keravnos expects party meeting to resolve multiple pensions spat

Tom Cleaver