At a long joint meeting of the Committees on Environment and Home Affairs, representatives of relevant government agencies, independent organizations, environmental organizations, as well as representatives of communities, discussed the proposed Akamas Local Plan.
In statements After the meeting, the Presidents of the two Committees stressed the need to protect Akamas against any interests.
Mr. Theopemptou, Chairman of the Environment Committee, said that the way the Government treats Akamas has been evident since 2017 when they introduced an amendment to the regulation, “so as to give the Akamas beaches to the communities and to businessmen to operate them”.
“Today we came to discuss a government decision to give development rights, within Akamas to have specialized developments, individual houses, roads, which will end at the beach, extensions, and it is understood that this is a deliberate plan to destroy the area, with development, “he added.
He expressed concern about the plans that the government has started and its decision to give development rights.
“We are used to the fact that these steps are always taken shortly before the elections, but “I want everyone to know that there are more people who love Akamas and want him protected.” “>Mr. Damianou, in his own statements, stressed that they will not allow any interests, private, political or other, to go beyond the need to continue protecting the Akamas area.
He said that they considered the environmental and urban dimension regarding the emerging local plan Akama and that the discussion will continue.
“I have to say that all the previous weeks we have been receiving information, which was worrying in the sense of the deterioration of this ecosystem that we are all proud of and planning for a so-called gentle development of the Akama area,” he said. p class = “text-paragraph”> During the session, Mr. Damianou asked the Director of the Department of Urban Planning, Kyriakos Koundouros, to submit the local plan to the Parliament, after a recent refusal of the Minister of Interior to do so, as he said, citing the current legislation concerning Urban Planning.
Mr. Koundouros said that they should consult with the Legal Service before giving an answer, with Mr. Damianou noting that they have until Thursday morning to answer and if they refuse to submit the plan to Parliament, it will be noted, and they will see how to move.
Mr. Damianou later said in his statements that they have given a deadline of 24 hours for the competent Ministry to consult with its legal advisor “and to judge whether any of their own regulations are set above and beyond the obligation to be accountable to the parliamentary “No one is above parliamentary scrutiny,” he said, adding that they would wait until tomorrow to comply with the requirement to submit the hatching local plan “for which all they speak but few know, and certainly not the Members of Parliament “.
Mr. Damianou also referred to some positions of principle, which, as he said, they repeated, such as, that man and the environment should not be in conflict but in harmony, while, acknowledging that a number of communities are wronged, he said that the restoration of their rights, should not be done to the detriment of the environment.
He also said that there must be respect for laws and conventions ratified by the Republic of Cyprus regarding the environment, sustainability growth and sensitivity to the legitimate demands of a number of affected communities.
One issue raised was that of the individual residence.
Mr. Theopemptou, said in his statements that the positions of environmental organizations but also of the Movement of Ecologists-Citizens' Cooperation, has always been against the individual residence.
“It is an issue that is being exploited by many in Cyprus despite the fact that the provisions of the legislation have a logical basis. “We know very well that we are violating them all,” he said, adding that the individual residence is not built to serve residents who do not have a plot of land in the community. “All these developments in the middle of nowhere, are individual houses which you have the right to get and relax from the Council of Derogations and to make an entire settlement,” he said.
On the same subject, the President of ETEK, Konstantinos Konstantis, said during the meeting that the Chamber is against policies for diffuse development such as individual housing, which is, as it is, “a cancer”, and should be banned throughout Cyprus, as it circumvents important policies for sustainable development.
For Akamas, he said the cost should be borne by everyone as a society and not just the locals. He spoke in support of the US Alliance for Democracy, but said that maintaining some independence was not the answer. “> Representatives of environmental and other organizations have expressed reservations about various provisions of the Plan.
The executive director of Terra Cypria, Lefkios Sergidis, stated that the local plan that is being promoted creates developments within the communities, while the issue of private property is not solved only through exchange. He said the plan should include good practices from other European countries on the issue of property.
Elias Pekris, President of the Cyprus Federation of Hunting and Wildlife Conservation, expressed concern for the 28 visitable farms envisaged by the Plan, which, he said, will be from the forest edges to the edges of the communities and will change the character of the area.
He also said that if an area is so environmentally important, why not buy the land from the Government at its true value and that they are ready to be taxed for this purpose.
The District Secretary of the Panagrotikos Union of Cyprus, Charalambos Pittokopitis, called on the Town Planning Council, as “the last” to satisfy the very justified requests of Inneia, which, he said, is the only community that had tourist zones on the beaches and overnight zeroed.
He also said that there is provision in the local plan for banning the irrigation network and expressed the hope that such provision will not be adopted.
his community is “blatantly wronged” as, of all the communities in the Akama area, it was the only one affected by the Decree for no development west of the communities. All the property of the community, he said, 36 square kilometers, was all in the west.
He also said that he had heard during the debate on environmental and animal protection directives but no one had mentioned the protection of man and his rights.
” We, the inhabitants, have saved Akamas for so many years that you are all talking about Akamas here today. “For 33 years, the only ones who have rejoiced in Akamas are all of you, except the residents,” he said.
Mr Tsivikos said they would not accept the local plan and called on those in charge to see Inneia as an exception and not to put it in the same basket as the other communities, referring to “two meters and two weights” in his community.
During the discussion, DISY MP, Charalambos Pazaros, said that the time has come, after decades, to give a solution to this problem. Man, he said, can coexist with the environment as long as the right environmental consciousness is cultivated.
DIKO MP, Chrysanthos Savvidis, said that some can not say that they think of Akamas but that his population has declined sharply in the last 40 years. Young people do not live in communities because they have no prospects, he said, adding that the average age is 65 and over.
in 10 years, if no one is left, the Akamas issue will be resolved.
ELAM MP Linos Papagiannis said that the state must put its hand deep in its pocket and give the residents what they are entitled to. He also said that this development should not be to the detriment of the new generation. In statements after the session, he said that ELAM's position is that Akamas should be protected “as the apple of his eye.”
DISY MP, Nikos Sykas, in his statements after the session, said that he considers “that this government, since 2016, has dared and touched on the issue of Akamas”. He said that it is a very difficult issue, which touches both the human side and the moral and ecological side and the environmental sensitivity.
“You understand such difficult issues need first “all the composition and the useful effort of a compromise”, he added.
He said that in the Democratic Alarm they believe that man and the environment must coexist. “We will take into account the specifics of the area,” he said, adding that they had heard today that both flora and fauna were affected in terms of biodiversity “and we must be careful, as we have also heard today that there are 3,500 landowners.” which should be taken into account “.
Bearing in mind what was presented at the session by the public services and in general by the Land Registry and the Environment Service, he said, “I consider that we are procedurally coming to the end of the announcement of the next phase of the public consultation on Akamas' local plan.” He called on all parties involved to look at the issue consensually, so as not to wrong either the environment or the residents of those areas, who, as he said, are perhaps the most wronged by the entire population spectrum of this place. >
Alexandra Attalidou, Member of Parliament for the Ecologists 'Movement-Citizens' Cooperation, referred to non-transparent sub-procedures and “unacceptable intervention for the immediate approval of a revised local plan”, for which the Environmental Authority also expressed great reservations and the Service protection of fauna and flora but also all environmental organizations.
He also said that while the Minister of Interior had previously told the Home Affairs Committee that the policy of individual residence is disastrous, however, in the case of the local Plan this policy is approved as well as of the farms “which are basically the back door for the hotel and other development. ” >
On behalf of the ecological intervention Friends of Akamas, Kyriakos Tsimillis said that the joint meeting of the two Committees was very timely, “because indeed the issue of Akamas is reaching a critical juncture”.
” We officially found out today, it was admitted, that the government has abandoned since 2016 in secret and without documentation, the goal and commitment to declare the entire peninsula a National Park, category 2 according to IUCN, and a biosphere reserve ” , he said.
Beyond that, he added, “we find that the steps taken are completely inadequate.” He said that, on the one hand, is the declaration of a national forest park, which is a degradation of protection, in a geographically shrinking area, essentially the two state forests, which were protected by law. On the other hand, he added, proceeding with two separate and non-functional procedures, for Pegeia and the Akama communities, with corresponding plans. We had before us the proposal for a local plan of the Akama communities, he said. He added that this violates the Ministerial commitment itself and a statement on its goals, which was against the dispersed, but in favor of the solid development of communities.
Very right, he said, the Department of the Environment, expressed its strong reservations, “since the new proposal does not satisfy, it does not remove the reasons for the negative interim opinion that preceded it”.
Savvas Chatziminas, President of the Akama Landowners Association, who represented the communities of Drousia and Neo Chorio, said that there can be no two-speed citizens and that a decision must be made.
He added that Article 23 of the constitution says that from the moment it is used and the value of the property should be compensated. “Unfortunately, no government has done that,” he said. “Either a building factor or compensation will be provided,” he added.