The government is determined to put a halt to illegal construction on the beach, following a recent spat between state and local officials on several projects that apparently violate the law.
The Cabinet, which met on Monday under the leadership of Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides, decided that all illegal projects currently ongoing in the Protaras area must be terminated. Specifically, works on the beaches of Pernera, Konnos, and Skoutari, must come to a halt, while local administrations elsewhere will need to visit projects on site and assess whether any restoration work should take place.
The decision came days after Paralimni mayor Theodoros Pirillis said ongoing projects in the area were being carried out legally in order to install a rainwater drainage system for the area.
Pirillis told online daily Kathimerini that his office had sought legal advice from a private law firm and the attorney said the construction fell under the jurisdiction of the mayor.
And then, if a case goes to court, a judge’s decision must be respected by all
But the minister disagreed with Pirillis, who said last week he would discuss the matter on Monday. The mayor then clarified that they would wait for the Cabinet meeting but the workers would only carry out necessary work to seal dangerous spots ahead of a new arrival of tourists on Tuesday.
Petrides said that Monday’s decision provides an obligation for local administrations to inform the police in-writing of any irregularities, adding that current practices to this day were ineffective.
“There has to be a direct deterrence for any construction work and a direct application of the law, and this is the agreement with the police, so that when a complaint is filed on paper, then steps will be taken within days to halt the project,” the minister said.
And then if a case goes to court, a judge’s decision must be respected by all.
The minister also mentioned that there is a legislative framework for how licenses ought to be issued for construction work on the beach. Mayors and municipal councils should seek input from other offices and departments, depending on the situation, so that there can be better coordination among those involved.
The decision comes weeks after a similar situation became a hot topic in Paphos, where six residences were being built in Peyia near the sea caves, causing activists and environmentalists to question the legality of those projects and demand that the environment be respected.