PARTS of the Paphos coastline are being irrevocably destroyed by development according to the Green Party and a Peyia councillor.
Councillor Linda Leblanc, also a Green party member and she told the Cyprus Mail: “This area of the St. George coast used to be a beautiful pristine example of coastline, but work being carried out by a developer has destroyed all that.”
The Green Party is insisting that the work being carried out is illegal as it encroaches onto the protected coastal area, despite the fact that the developer says he has all the necessary permits from the town planning department.
Leblanc said: “The problem is that they have excavated a couple of metres down on the coastal area right next to the sea. They have also built an ugly concrete retaining wall and backfilled it with red soil.”
Leblanc also pointed out, that water pipes which have been put in at the luxury villas being built by the developer are illegal as they will run into the sea. “The sea here is clean and beautiful and this in not acceptable,” she said.
The local councillor added that the district office had previously described the area as a green area, but she that to the best of her knowledge, a green area could not be right next to the sea, as this is designated as a protected coastal zone.
“The protected coastal area and a green area are not the same thing,” she underlined.
As this development is the first large scale works to be undertaken in the area, Leblanc said the Greens feared the situation would set a precedent for future construction projects.
“We are very worried that this action will be the first of many encroachments onto the protected zone and could cause the destruction of the whole of St. George’s coastline,” Leblanc said.
She said that the Green Party had written a letter to the Paphos district office asking them to clarify what constituted a green area and a protected coastal zone.
According to Leblanc developers must provide a green area in every development but added again that this is not the same thing as a coastal area.
The councillor said: “The damage had already been done to this stretch of coast and the concrete retaining wall extends for at least 30 metres. Many residents both local and foreign have complained to me about what is happening in this area and we – the Greens – are trying to clarify the situation.”
In addition Leblanc said that a couple of years ago, Peyia municipality had officially requested that the beach there be designated a public area.
“If this goes ahead there will probably be more problems and illegal kiosks, as we already see in Coral Bay.”
She continued: “If you care about the environment the future doesn’t look good for this coastline. There are many applications which have been filed to develop this coastline, including the building of another hotel.”
In the meantime, a spokesman in the UK for the luxury development told the Cyprus Mail that all necessary permits were in place and that, ”everything was as it’s supposed to be.”
He also pointed out that the company had given back to the municipality of Peyia, 10 per cent of the land, which is found closest to where the proposed coastal pathway will be constructed.