Peyia mayor defends controversial development projects.
Peyia mayor Marinos Lambrou told MPs on Wednesday that his area was under attack over its development projects, as he later revealed that as a civil engineer he had done work for one of the companies developing land there.
The development of the area was discussed by the House environment committee following the public outcry over the environmental damage done to the area known as the sea caves, which are used by the endangered Mediterranean monk seals.
The latest project in the area includes a five-star hotel and luxury villas, which have apparently been given the nod of approval by the environment department.
Lambrou told MPs that the hotel in question was not being built on the coastline but behind it. He said Peyia had not had a new hotel in the area for 30 years.
"We want development in Peyia," he reportedly said. "Elsewhere they are building marinas and we are left watching the seals."
MPs asked Lambrou to say whether he had any personal interest in the developments. Speaking after the meeting, he said that he was not a shareholder but as a civil engineer he had worked with various companies, and that he had carried out structural studies for a project owned by one of the companies involved in a development in Peyia.
The head of the environment department Costas Hadjipanayiotou said they were looking into the effects from the developments in the area.
Hadjipanayiotou said in the course of the procedure it was determined by another ministry that certain procedures relating to zoning had not been done properly in 2008. Other irregularities from 2009 onwards include the construction of kiosks and restaurants on the beach, rock works on the coast, installation of floodlights and cultivation of alien types of flora.
Last Thursday, all departments involved in licensing developments in the region took part in a meeting headed by the environment minister. Measures and recommendations were submitted and were awaiting discussion.
Environment commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou said rezoning the area in 2008 was a big mistake as it was not based on studies that took into account the environmental effects.
She suggested freezing all developments until the local plan was reviewed.
The technical chamber Etek said the affair was a preordained crime.
"This is not the kind of development we want," Etek representative Christodoulos Hadjiodysseos said.
He said the state should shoulder the burden of the wrong decisions it had taken, compensate those affected and restore the area.
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