What lies behind Shacolas and the Limni project?
From one of those weird sites, I received a comment from an unknown person, with the headline I have used above. The author was probably not even born the year that the Dutch investors purchased the Limni region back in 1983 or was playing ball in the schoolyard and thus is possessed by such hatred that he did not even bother to conduct the most basic of research, even if he reaches a conclusion of his own based on that research.
• The property was purchased in 1983 (we did the market valuation) by Dutch a company with a potential to mine copper.
• During our research at the time, there was no mention from the British colonial rule about restoration of the area to its natural habitat.
• The project was out of commission and had the following elements:
i. There was a huge crater full to 20% by toxic water (from copper) which was seeping into the groundwater aquifer thereby contaminating other water sources in the area.
ii. There were two huge mounds of carcinogenic tailings which with the slightest wind was transported west (in powder form) affecting neighbouring villages.
iii. There was a jetty that has ruined and the sea, some 200 meters in, was red from the remnants of copper that flowed over when loading into barges.
iv. The beach was abandoned with similar copper tailings on the surface.
There is much more information for those who either do not remember or did not visit the area before the purchase by the Dutch, a company that had further drilling rights in north western part in the area of the neighbouring villages.
The author of the website suggests that the new owner (Shacolas) should continue the drilling, judging from what is happening in Greece with the discovery of and digging for gold, despite the protests. Is he serious? Let’s look at what we have now: i. All the contents from the mounds of carcinogenic hills containing the copper and toxic tailings have transferred into the crater which has now been closed and the land is being reused for golf or other purposes. ii. The beach has been cleaned up and trees planted. iii. The seabed has been cleaned up and the damaged jetty has been rebuilt.
iv. Some 300,000 trees have ecological restoration of the area.
v. Small pockets of land have been bought up by the project developers and integrated into the wider project.
The project developers, just like scores of others, have applied for the construction of a golf course. So, what’s the problem?
The developer is trying to create a golf course-resort for the benefit of the company, but also for the benefit of the region (see similar reactions to the Anassa hotel). Local authorities, villages and of course the locals are looking forward to it and want to see the start of the project, which will create jobs in the area. Certainly, the uneducated columnist, who may have been paid by others, wants to leave
the the unemployment level at 16% (higher in north western Paphos district) and seem content with the same income from tourism (as per the Troika memorandum) and keep the locals on their donkeys.
The author even suggests that the late President Clerides should be to blame and that he altered the building coefficient for the residences of the Shacolas Group project. How stupid can one be! These regulations had existed for 30 years before Clerides.
The author also includes a statement by Green MP George Perdikis about the “quality of democracy”. In this connection, it is incomprehensible how the Environment Commissioner has reported the Republic of Cyprus to the EU authorities, while on a generous income/budget of 150,000 euros a year paid by us taxpayers, without taking into account the high rate of unemployment, a recovery in the construction industry, and our emigrating youth (potential architects, engineers, contractors, etc.).
The Limni rehabilitation cost has to date reached the amount of more than 32 mln euros and still has nothing tangible, due to obstacles, delays and bureaucracy.
First of all, there is the quality of life of the residents of the area to consider, including employment opportunities, raising the standard of living, job opportunities for the next generations to help preserve the inhabitants in their villages and encouraging the return of those who have chosen to emigrate, to other districts or even countries. The recent decision of the European Court on the matter for Hungary is relevant and should be considered when keeping a balance of sustainable environment and encouraging economic growth.
So, then, who is “hiding” behind this project? Is it the true concern of past and present governments and others for a better future for the region and Cyprus in general?
The uneducated writer also referred to the Mall of Cyprus. I do not want to abuse the editorial space offered to me, but rest assured, I will return on this matter too.