Starting tomorrow, September 1, 2023, the stipulations outlined in the Akamas Local Plan will be enacted. Yesterday, Mr. Konstantinos Ioannou, the Minister of Interior, and Mr. Petros Xenophontos, the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, unveiled before the Council of Ministers a comprehensive framework of measures and actions designed to invigorate the developmental undertakings of the Akamas communities. This extensive framework was meticulously devised by a Working Group, featuring participation from all the pertinent Departments and Services of the involved Ministries. The collaborative efforts were steered by the Department of Urban Planning and Zoning, aiming to fortify the socio-economic vitality of the Akamas Communities. This approach aims to establish an ideal foundation that promotes sustainable development within the affected regions, while meticulously safeguarding the area's environmental aspects.
Subsidies for Landowners Aligned with Land Area
The overarching objective of this measure is to extend financial support to landowners—whether legal entities or individuals—residing within the confines of the Akamas Local Plan zone. This support recognizes the role of these land parcels in conserving the region's landscape and biodiversity, while simultaneously contributing to the area's safeguarding. The assistance, provided annually, will be proportional to the land's agricultural rental value and the property's environmental contribution. Under this scheme, landowners are obliged to maintain their properties in their existing states without fencing or interference. However, a degree of flexibility will be permitted for activity alteration within the land parcels, subject to approval from an authoritative government body. This initiative will be carried out utilizing national funds over a five-year period, subject to review at the end of this term. The evaluation will be based on the returns from other socioeconomic support endeavors in the area. The extensification grant will amount to €60 per decimal, capped at €6,600.
Designing and Implementing Road Networks in Residential Zones
This initiative targets the immediate prioritization of underutilized Residential Zones, which have remained inactive due to inadequate infrastructure, as well as the activation of dormant land within Development Zones. The Planning and Zoning Department is anticipated to finalize the core network design for Akamas Communities' Residential Zones by the close of 2024, with project implementation set to commence in 2025. The coordination of this project will be overseen by the Department of Urban Planning and Zoning, working collaboratively with relevant Local Authorities.
Establishment of the Akamas Local Coordination Office
Operating as a local developmental mechanism, the Akamas Local Coordination Office is committed to bolstering, informing, supporting, and fostering synergies to empower Local Communities and residents through initiatives, programs, and projects that accentuate and advance the area.
Operating in complement to the Paphos Local Action Groups, the Akamas Local Coordination Office will have several objectives, including:
- Proposing recommendations for strategic development with prioritized actions, aligning with the area's comprehensive planning as determined by relevant Departments and Services. This consultation process will involve Akamas Communities and other local stakeholders.
- Dispensing information regarding national and European funding programs and grant opportunities. Additionally, it will provide assistance and guidance for funding applications to both Communities and legal/physical entities.
- Serving as a conduit between public and private sectors to promote and coordinate projects that benefit the local community. This involves forming partnerships for area management and enhancement, as well as resolving local issues in collaboration with pertinent departments.
- Elevating the area's profile through branding efforts and showcasing local products.
- Devising and implementing training initiatives for local entrepreneurs and the community at large. These programs will identify funding sources and encourage the development of sustainable business ventures that align with area preservation and responsible use, ultimately fostering job creation.
- Engaging in European programs and initiatives.
Establishing an Industrial Zone within Ineia Community's Administrative Boundaries
The primary objective of this initiative is to directly stimulate economic activity in the region by organizing artisanal developments and rejuvenating craft plots with interested entrepreneurs. This effort contributes to enhancing the quality of the built environment. The project's planning will be managed by the Department of Town and Country Planning, while implementation will be a collaborative endeavor involving local authorities. With set timelines in place, it's anticipated that the study and design phase for the industrial area will conclude by 2024. Subsequently, the project's execution is scheduled for 2025, projected to span a three-year completion period.
Utilization of Akamas National Forest Park's Visitor Service Hub in Lara's Southern Bay by Ineia Community
Considering the profound environmental significance and the established institutional protection of Lara Bay for sea turtle breeding, and as part of the Akamas National Forest Park's Sustainable Development Plan, a proposal has emerged to allot a portion of the economic benefits from the Akamas National Park's visitor service hub operation in the southern Gulf of Lara to the Ineia Community.
In alignment with this intent, deliberation will occur regarding amendments to legislation through either a Ministerial Decision or a Council of Ministers' Decision. This would pave the way for Ineia Community's utilization of the infrastructure, generating economic advantages for the community and fulfilling a longstanding request.
Exploiting Sea Salt within Akamas EEZ's Lara Area by Ineia Community
Following a review of Ineia Community's request for a license to gather sea salt within the region spanning the southern and northern Gulf of Lara, and to use it as a local product, a decision was reached to grant a license for the management and economic utilization of sea salt, contingent on a drafted Operational Plan. This plan encompasses the cost of preparing a Business Plan, inclusive of a techno-economic assessment of salt collection, usage, and disposal. The findings of this study will shape the conditions for granting a long-term license for sea salt's use and exploitation by the Ineia Community.
Feasibility Study for Climbing Use of Ineia's Rocks
This initiative revolves around granting the Community of Ineia the utilization rights for the exploitation of the Alici and Gerakopetra Cliffs, situated within the Akamas National Park and Ineia's administrative boundaries. This arrangement is to be executed through a Long-Term Contract for State Forest Land Use, as per Forest Law. An essential requirement is for the Community to prepare a comprehensive study outlining the proposed usage. The expenses tied to this study will be covered by a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment.
Study to Document, Map, and Promote Stigadia
Stigadia, which are characteristic dry-stone structures found across the Local Plan's rural landscape, was historically employed by the local population to support their agricultural endeavors. Scattered throughout the Akamas Local Plan area, these remnants are significant cultural landmarks. The objective of this measure is to systematically document, map, and raise awareness about stigadia within the Akamas landscape, aiming for their eventual restoration and recognition on the UNESCO heritage list.
State Coverage of Portion of Operating Costs for Akamas Communities' Infrastructure/Museums over 5 Years
Museums and Centers operate within Akamas Communities to showcase and celebrate the region's environmental and cultural richness. These establishments include:
- Ineia Community: Exhibition/Environmental Observatory - Turtle Education Centre and Basketry Museum
- Drousha Community: Akamas Regional Museum of Rural Life
- Pano Arodes Community: Akamas Geology and Palaeontology Information Centre and Small Observatory
- Kathikas Community: Akamas Regional Multipurpose Centre and Akamas Regional Bird and Terrestrial Flora Information Centre
- New Village Community: Reptile and Amphibian Exhibition Centre
The State will provide financial aid amounting to €15,000 per year for each Community, spanning the five-year period from 2024 to 2025.
Exploring the Feasibility of Establishing or Relocating a Livestock Area in Neo Chorio's Administrative Boundaries
This initiative focuses on creating five designated livestock areas to facilitate organized livestock development and provide a direct space for interested livestock farmers. The Department of Agriculture within the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment will assess the project's design and implementation. A decision regarding project execution will be made following consultations with local livestock farmers and relevant stakeholders.
Funding for Various Public Utility Projects Based on Community Needs
Utility projects will be financed through existing aid programs, and additional requests from communities will also be considered.
As a reference, the currently listed requests are as follows:
Community of Ineia:
- Phase 2 expansion of the Community Core
- Repurposing of the Primary School as a versatile center to accommodate the Akamas Local Coordination Office, the Akamas Observatory/Information Center operating under the INTERREG Programme, and a meeting room.
- Reopening of the fishmongers' museum
Community of Drousha:
- Design and construction of the primary road network within the Drousha Industrial Zone.