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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Our View: Giving into the NIMBY brigade would be a mistake ]

Our View: Giving into the NIMBY brigade would be a mistake

THE NIMBY (not in my back yard) phenomenon is not specific to Cyprus. It is experienced worldwide, but in Cyprus it may surface more frequently.

This is probably because many people own land which they have seen appreciate in value over the years and are intent on protecting this asset. They fear that the creation of a waste disposal dump or a wind farm, or an electricity sub-station or an effluent treatment plant would reduce the value of their land, and therefore oppose it. Some of them go as far as resorting to violence and wanton destruction of private property in order to protect their interests.

Three years ago we witnessed terrible violence when Lymbia residents decided to block work on a solid waste treatment plant that would be built in nearby Koshi. Tyres and cars were set alight, cars were hurled from a bridge onto a motorway and police were pelted with rocks. In the end, the government offered sweeteners to the villagers and they agreed to the creation of the plant. Not so long ago in the Larnaca district, residents destroyed equipment, for measuring wind power, on private property and worth more than €100,000, because they feared the creation of a wind farm to lower land prices.

The latter was a clear case of protecting the value of land because nobody could claim that a wind farm posed a threat to public health, which is the NIMBY’s main argument. CyTA was prevented from setting up a powerful satellite dish in the Sha area because it was supposedly a health hazard. The public health risk argument no longer stands. Since we joined the EU the authorities have been taking all the precautions and safety measures, stipulated by the Union to protect the public.

This is why it is difficult to take the protests of Ormidhia residents, opposed to the creation of solid waste depot close to the village, seriously. Public health is not at risk from the depot at which the whole area’s household waste would be taken before it is transferred to the Koshi treatment plant. More importantly, the village council had given the go-ahead for the creation of the depot. And just when the bulldozers and workmen were sent in to start work on Wednesday, the residents turned up in numbers to stop them, demanding that nothing was done until the injunction they filed against the project in court was heard, later this month.

NIMBYs have now discovered legal methods to delay projects they oppose. The minister of interior, meanwhile, called a meeting of representatives of local authorities of the area on Monday. This was a mistake as the government has given in to the bullying NIMBY brigade. As long as the government followed all the correct procedures, offered some form of compensation to the village council, there should have been no need for more meetings. And if the residents tried to stop work they should have been arrested and charged.

 



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



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