The Akamas peninsula is an EU-designated area of outstanding natural beauty.
Minister of the Interior Socrates Hasikos confirmed in a recent reply to a letter from Greens’ MP George Perdikis that “the illegal operation of the outdoor bar at the Asprokremmos-Polis area has been terminated.”
“This is a good result, as the bar was operating illegally close to the turtle beach and sometimes until late at night. We know that the turtles were being affected, we don’t have specific numbers, but the females won’t come out of the sea to lay their eggs if they can see lights on the beach,” said Paphos Green party district secretary, Andreas Evlavis.
He added that noise from loud music at the bar didn’t help either.
The Green Turtle (Cheloniamydas) and the Loggerhead Turtle (Carettacaretta) and their breeding grounds have been protected by law since 1971.They are both endangered species.
Evlavis said that the minister’s letter to Perdikis added that the department of town panning also warned the owner to remove the makeshift non-licensed premises and construction otherwise it would commence a new procedure for taking legal action against him.
“Perdikis has now asked for clarification over what, if any, further action has been taken,” he said. “We will wait for a response.”
Evlalvis said that even this small victory meant something to the area which he said was under threat from the latest Akamas plan which was approved by the cabinet last week.
“This plan will effectively allow for great swathes of land to be developed,” he said.
The latest government approved proposal by Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis has been strongly criticised by detractors who say the plan will be a disaster for the area, and lead to the development of a national treasure.
However, the government says it will protect the Akamas’ beauty and biodiversity as well as developing the region. The proposals five key points include declaring the forest and state owned areas within Natura 2000 – as a national park.
The area sports many vulnerable species, both flora and fauna some of which are endemic to the Akamas peninsula.
Private property – 25 per cent of the area – will be excluded from the national park, which is bad news for nature lovers, said Evlavis.
“If this plan goes ahead, we might as well forget the Akamas as a national park. For twenty years we have been trying to keep the Akamas ‘clean’ of development and at the very least protect the endemic plants, animals and birds,” he said. “This entire area is a huge treasure and once you start to allow something, (development) it will be too late.”
Perdikis has filed a complaint to the European Commission over the Akamas proposal as he says the move benefits two or three major land owners, and more than 8000 residents have signed a petition against the changes.
“The beach bar’s closure is a small victory in a mass of bigger problems and is better than nothing,” said Evlavis.