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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Ineia landowners demand right to develop Lara ]

Ineia landowners demand right to develop Lara

THE ongoing dispute between residents of Ineia village and the government over developing Lara Bay gained momentum on Sunday when villagers held a demonstration on the beach.

Community leader Savvas Charalambous has been at the forefront of moves to allow development in areas of Lara Bay, the protected breeding ground of the green turtle.

At the protest, Charalambous blasted the government and the fisheries department claiming they were employing tactics to “use Lara Bay as an excuse to prevent them from developing the area”.

He said that authorities insisting that Lara Bay is one of the last places where these turtles can breed in Cyprus is just an excuse and not valid. He claimed it might be becoming the only breeding ground, simply because turtle eggs from all other coastal areas are being collected and brought to the beach.

He said villagers weren’t seeking heavy development of the area, only the eastern part of the bay, “leaving the rest free for the turtles”.

He said that of the five Laona communities - those villages of the Akamas region - only Ineia had yet to be granted any concessions as regard the Government’s Akamas plan, which limits the amount of development in certain areas and places much of the Akamas under the protection of the Nautura 2000 project.

He complained that Kathikas, Arodes, Droushia and Neo Chorio have all been granted their requests, whilst Ineia has been refused “almost everything”.

He added that he is expecting to meet with the Agriculture Minister Michalis Polynikis to ”ask for justice for his community”.

His comments provoked a sharp response from environmentalists who insist Lara Bay should be left in its natural state.

“As far as the matter of bringing turtle eggs from other places is concerned, this has been happening for years,” said Andreas Evlavis, the district secretary of the Green Party. “There are some places, which are not safe for the eggs to be left to hatch, such as in front of a busy hotel. They are brought to Lara for their protection, and it’s not many. This is not something which can be used as an excuse," he added.

Evlavis and the Greens believe that the Akamas is a place for everyone to visit and enjoy, and that facilities, such as restaurants and hotels should be situated around the villages.

"This is the main issue,” he said," to give these people the right to a part of the tourism, but it has to be in the correct way."

Evlavis said that building in Lara would signify the end of the Akamas.

"That would be a big mistake,” he said." And what is better, to go and stay in Lara, or to go there and then go to Ineia, which has a beautiful views, then eat there or stay a few nights. This is our proposal, which also gives the villages a chance to survive. If they make one big hotel it won’t help them.

President of the European Environmental Movement Ioannis Agyris agreed. "There is no way that hotels or development should take place here, as it would destroy the beauty of Lara and affect the turtles."

He added: “We are not against development in the villages, or a small maximum 50-room hotel in the area, but not close to the beach. I think under the Akamas plan, the government will allow development behind the ’green line’ as we call it, and give the villagers some financial help. I think this is a much better option, to accept what the government will give them."

"It’s time the government invest money in the village and make the programme work,” said Evlavis “The Akamas has to be operated as a proper national park. Now people complain Lara beach and the Akamas is dirty, and there are heavy vehicles and quad bikes ruining the area. “Anyone can go there and do what they want, as there is no authority present there to say, no, this is not allowed."


(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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