submitted by KCA Admin on 21.07.2011
Earlier this year, the municipal council of Kythera under the leadership of Mayor Theodoros Koukoulis took the decision to sell three-year leases for those few beaches that had not yet been commercialised, including Kombonada, Fournoi, Kaladi and Palaiopolis Lake. They did so despite the protests of both opposition parties, ignoring a petition with over 300 signatures which had been raised in less than 48 hours. Despite the municipality’s efforts to pretend that the protests were an attempt by a few crackpot “environmentalists” to ban umbrellas and canteens from all the island’s beaches, the opposite was and remains true: we are simply trying to ensure that a few beaches (less that 15% of the total) remain uncommercialised – something that an increasing number of visitors and locals are clamouring for.
What this decision meant in practice was that even the smallest and most remote beaches would now acquire breach umbrellas, recliners and so-called “mobile canteens” – in reality, increasingly permanent constructions with electrical generators, music blaring from loudspeakers and the (nominally illegal) sale of alcohol and cooked meals. The municipality makes much play with the concept of “consumer choice”, claiming that visitors can patronise such establishments or not as they wish. However, as experience has shown, their presence inevitably dominates a site, particularly one relatively restricted in size, changing its character forever.
It would be bad enough if the lessees respected both the law and the conditions of their contract with the municipality; in practice, as the municipality well knows (deputy mayor Makras has admitted as much in a council meeting), they go far beyond both the letter and the spirit of the law. Greece’s basic legislation governing the coastline and its uses (Law 2971/2001, clause 13.1) forbids “interventions which modify the original aspect of the area”, while further regulations specify that while a municipality may allow simple commercial use of a limited area of beachfront by a mobile canteen, such use may not include “the erection of any kind of building or permanent construction such as pergolas, concrete foundations or platforms, earthworks etc.”.
Unfortunately, photographs taken in the last few days show that a number of lessees have already broken the terms of their lease, whilst others are well on their way to doing so. Can anything be done about this? The reform group Kytherian Initiative, which led the original opposition to these proposals, is carrying on the fight. If you agree with us that a few of the more remote or environmentally fragile Kytherian beaches should remain free of noise, loudspeakers, cooking smells and obnoxious constructions, don’t just grumble about it – make your views known where it counts. Take the time to write a letter or send an email to Mayor Koukoulis, with if possible a copy to us and to the local press (just to make sure they don’t get swept under the carpet). If on the other hand you believe than nothing enhances Kythera’s natural beauty like a mock-Polynesian cocktail bar on every beach, then by all means continue to enjoy them…
ADDRESSES TO WRITE TO
Mayor Theodoros Koukoulis
It is very important that copies should also be sent to the three local newspapers:
Kythiraiki Idea: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web page: http://www.protovouliakythera.com/
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