Works in the Akamas should stop immediately, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Saturday, who said he was “personally annoyed” by pictures that showed roadworks have deviated from the agreed framework for the area.
The debate about the roadworks has been raging for more than a week, with ministers saying nothing is wrong, aside from the fact that there were delays, while environmental organisations and the audit services have cried foul play, as some of the roads seem to have been widened to 10m, which is not included in the environmental study.
Speaking after addressing the Sixth Mediterranean Symposium by BPW, the president said: “I was personally annoyed when I saw the picture.”
He called for the works to be halted so that the state had time to review if they had in fact deviated from the plan.
Asked to comment on Tuesday about concerns raised over the roadworks, Environment Minister Petros Xenophontos said it seemed that nothing had been done that deviates from the study, however he noted the most serious issue identified is the huge delay in the completion of the project.
“The project should have been finished by now, so we are talking about a very significant delay,” he said, explaining that the contractor has appealed to the government to get an extension and that this request will be examined.
Xenophontos said that the project is meant to finish by December 27, and he will meet the contractor as this is an important project for the area.
Meanwhile, the interior ministry said on Friday no development licences have been given out by the ministry in the Akamas’ white zones, areas where no development is allowed.
This follows claims by environmental groups that not only were the roadworks violating the plans for Akamas, but also structures for businesses were also being built in the area that went against the plan.
The ministry said that applications for licences have been received, and that they are being examined and awaiting the all-clear following the guidelines of the environmental study.
Commenting on the roadworks, the ministry said that the works on the Lara road are outside the white zone in an area earmarked for residential and tourist developments.
Another road, Aspros Potamos-Toxeftra-Lara, where there is roadworks that involve putting dirt piles, are within the plan the ministry said.
The forestry department also said no deviations from the environmental study have been made, and all the terms laid out in it are being followed in Akamas.
It said the plan was being fully complied with, and it would “position itself if and when it receives any comments and observation from the environment department and the audit service”.
The first phase of the works is currently being carried out under the auspices of the department, which will improve forestry roads for private use.
“An issue has been raised and discussion is being held on [the roadworks], without having clearly set out the problem and its details,” the department said.
It added that after the problem was raised, the forestry department requested the environment department conduct checks to ensure that all the guidelines set out in the environmental study are being followed.