What lies be­hind Sha­co­las and the Limni pro­ject?

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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