Call by the Municipality for a mass protest rally on Sunday in Agia Thekla
Municipalities of the free area of Famagusta, important business entities and the local community, join their voices and send a clear message to the government and relevant government departments, claiming the right to the essential development of the coastal front of Sotiras, but also of the province more broadly. The reactions were ignited again, after the decision of the Council of Ministers to revoke a decision made by the previous government, regarding the granting of a derogation permit to the Sun City project, in the area of Agia Thekla. Residents and local bodies speak of an attempt to marginalize the specific area, with the Municipality of Sotiras declaring that it will not remain apathetic to monitor the developments and will challenge by any legal means decisions that were “taken in his absence”.
Indicative of the situation prevailing in the region, is the announcement of the Tourist Commercial Industrial Company of Famagusta (TEBEA), according to which, with the attitude of the competent government departments and the Council of Ministers, with regard to issues of development in the region, “it is condemned an entire region and province in recession and withering, with a negative impact on the local society, economy and well-being of the residents of the region”, while any interest from potential investors in the wider region is also discouraged.
Incentives for deployments
For its part, the Famagusta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBE Famagusta) speaks of discrimination on the part of the competent authorities regarding the development on the Agia Thekla-Potamou Liopetriou beach front, calling on the government to provide specific incentives, so that to create conditions and infrastructure for further development, which is not based entirely on tourism, but also extends to areas such as health, high technology, the green economy, education, as well as the transfer of company headquarters to the region. These are sectors that plague this province over time, while its workforce is mainly employed seasonally in sectors such as tourism and agriculture.
In the case of the Sotiras coastal front, although significant investment interest is shown in these sectors, however, all efforts, according to local agencies, are blocked by the obstacles put up by the authorities, under the “pretext of environmental concerns”. Any concerns expressed are mainly based on the fact that some proposed developments in the area abut a Natura 2000 area, which was designated as such in 2008, due to the presence of the Rock-plumidi bird. The Authorities refer to the Special Ecological Assessment (SEA) report, which was prepared in June 2021, just six months after the publication of the Local Plan for the area, which was completed after seven years of substantive consultation between all relevant government departments. What is surprising is that, in essence, the content of the EOA in practice cancels several of the provisions of the Local Plan. Indicative of the situation that has developed is that the Municipality of Sotiras intends to challenge it legally as, as it claims, it was implemented irregularly without any consultation with the local Authorities and the local community. In fact, “to prove its ecological sensitivities and the identification of words and deeds”, as stated in a relevant announcement, the Sotiras Municipal Council has commissioned the preparation of an independent environmental study to experts. At the same time, the Municipality declares that it does not in any way wish for unregulated development, but on the contrary, seeks to implement the provisions of the Local Plan, with the simultaneous adoption of appropriate environmental conditions that shield the ZEP.
Dynamic response of local society
The local community of Sotiras, as well as the Municipality of Sotiras, strongly express their annoyance with the inflexible attitude of the state departments and the government, something that has also been recorded in the context of a pan-municipal gathering held, on the occasion of the specific issue, while they are also preparing for new dynamic protests. After all, this is a municipality whose citizens are mainly employed in seasonal work, while youth unemployment remains one of the most important problems. A perennial demand of the residents of the area, according to the mayor of Sotiras, Mr. Georgios Takka, is to stop the victimization of Sotiras and to implement developments in the area, which lead to the creation of quality jobs, without this meaning that the need to respect the environment.
The local Authorities abandon those responsible for a discriminatory attitude and a tendency to reject in advance the requests for investments in the area, without even taking into account proposed modern, scientifically processed solutions that could be immediately implemented and contribute at the same time to the protection of the environment. Indicative of the climate that has developed is the protest event organized on Sunday, July 2, where the Municipality of Sotiras calls on citizens to gather en masse at 10:30 a.m. at the Agia Thekla Flyover, in order to protest against the decisions taken regarding the coastal area of Sotiras.
At a time when sustainable development and quality jobs are a key issue, the developments surrounding this issue are awaited with particular interest. p> < iframe width='300px' height='500px' src='https://www.adstorebluebird.cy/api/banner/ServeBanner?zoneId=2734' frameborder='0' scrolling='no'>