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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 [ Protest against golf plans ]

Protest against golf plans

ENVIRONMENTALISTS staged a demo yesterday outside the Commerce Ministry to protest against the construction of more golf courses, even as within the building government officials hatched new plans for the project, which many doubt will reboot the island’s stalled tourism sector.

The government aims to build another 14 golf courses in addition to the three existing ones – a move that has drawn widespread condemnation. Golf courses are notorious water guzzlers, and what’s more ecologists say the villas, hotel and apartment complexes to be built alongside them will place a high toll on the environment.

“By far the most provocative element are the excessively attractive incentives given to developers, for example the relaxation on building ratios. Actually, it could be said that the golf courses are touts for these building projects… it’s an excuse to build, build and build some more,” said Christos Theodorou, head of the Federation of Environmental and Ecological Organisations of Cyprus, a non-political, non-governmental group.

He said a “double crime” was in progress: “On the one hand, they’re going to be building on farmland and damaging the flora and fauna; and on the other, the projects will consume water and require desalination plants, worsening the pollution of the environment.

“I think that with the island in the throes of a long drought, and with scientists warning of increasingly lesser rainfall in the years to come, it is inconceivable that we are turning to golf courses.”

The administration meanwhile seems not to share these concerns. Yesterday, Commerce Minister Antonis Paschalides reiterated the government’s commitment to the project, which it insists will boost Cyprus’ flagging tourist numbers.

During the brainstorming session, Paschalides told ministry officials that a number of foreign investors had expressed a keen interest in golf-related land development, including Qatari businessmen interested in building luxury hotels.

But a source from an environmental group told the Mail that even government officials are aware that golf-tourism “is sheer madness”.

“Which begs the question why they are moving ahead with this regardless,” the source said.


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



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