Environment Commissioner, Ioanna Panayiotou has asked for an environmental impact study over plans for a major development next to the Kouris Dam in the community of Alassa.
In a letter to Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos she noted that the project was planned on private land, which was included in the protection zone up until two days before the presidential election of 2008.
In her letter, Panayiotou said the change in the planning zone two days before the presidential elections was a scandal, noting that disciplinary or criminal liability should be examined were appropriate.
Additionally, as suggested by ETEK, the impact of the development should be investigated immediately.
The development involves the construction of 1,010 apartments, 15 shops, eight offices, a restaurant, three cafes and a supermarket, a total area of 81,403 square metres, in addition to a golf course, just 90 metres from the Kouris Dam. The community of Alassa currently has 80 houses with a population of approximately 200 people.
This private land, up until two days before the presidential elections of 2008, was included in the protection zone of the dam.
However, by decision of the Interior Minister dated February 12, 2008 and published in the Gazette on February 15, 2008, the policy statement was revised to the benefit of the company. The building factor and coverage of 1% (protection zone Z3) was upgraded to a coefficient of 40% and 25% coverage rate (residential zone H4).
This protection zone in question was established at the recommendation of a French expert (recommended to the Republic of Cyprus by the European Union under the programme TAIEX).
The creation of protection zones for water supply reservoirs is an obligation of the Republic arising from the European directive 200/60/EK and N13 (I) 2010.
The Water Development Department is against the reported development and its proposed location (100 metres from the highest level of the reservoir) because there is a huge risk of contamination of the reservoir and all associated facilities (pipeline south project) of rain waters will transit through the development.
It considers that the development compromises public health and water supply in all provinces except Paphos, as the Kouris reservoir is the main source of water supply in Cyprus.
Moreover, the Republic of Cyprus, with the potential authorisation of this development, would violate the European Directive 200/60/EK, risking the imposition of large fines.
It is noted that the same company was licensed to create a golf course in the area which did not proceed because of the risk of contamination of the reservoir.
The Environment Commissioner in a letter to the Department of Environment also expressed serious concerns about the implications of the development on Kouris dam.
The letters have been sent to the President of the Republic, the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment and the Chairman of the Environment Committee of the House of Representatives.