Cyprus Mail

Urgent review called for Larnaca park

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The proposed park

The Cyprus Wetlands Conservation group has called for an urgent review of the proposed revamp of Larnaca’s Pattichion park, claiming that it amounts to yet another environmental blunder.

In an open letter to President Nikos Christodoulides, the group called on him to intervene and immediately terminate the works at Pattichion park/Larnaca Salt Lake before irreversible damage is done.

“We entreat your intervention so that the works […] are immediately terminated, and time is given to carry out a special ecological assessment (SEA) before the park suffers irreparable damage,” the group said.

The conservationists have already requested the municipality suspend the works.

The upgrade was to include a circular raised walkway, a refreshment area, public toilets, fitness equipment, a playground, a skate park and parking.

In addition, “a substantial enhancement of the green area by planting new trees” and creation of a new botanical garden and bird observatories were envisioned.

The wetland’s protection group, however, is asking for an SEA to be carried out, after being informed of intentions by the Larnaca municipality last week.

In its letter, the organisation notes that the area proposed for development falls inside the Natura 2000 network and therefore, according to the environment department, ought to be subject to laws governing conservation and special protection zones.

It also pointed out that the Larnaca Salt Lake falls under protection of the Ramsar Convention to which Cyprus is a party, which calls on Mediterranean states to take appropriate measures towards wetland protection.

The park is home to dozens of important and even rare flora and fauna, as well as migratory species.

Among other things, the municipality did not proceed with public consultation before starting the project, the conservationists claim, but went straight to the tendering process, while architectural design was directly awarded.

Arguing that legal procedures were circumvented and that the project was moved forward without the required rigorous assessment, the group said: “The reasoned findings study [of the environment department] is not equivalent to approval by an environmental impact committee,” which ought to be secured for an intervention of such a scale in a Natura 2000 area.

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