The Kyrenia Initiative alongside Karaoğlanoğlu locals have launched a petition to save green space on the coast.
Permission has been granted to build another hotel between the Merit Park and the Kaya Palazzo hotels on the Karaoğlanoğlu coastline.
Citizens say that they need green space rather than another hotel and that they will fight to preserve the 15 acres of public which will be lost to the new five hundred bed hotel.
Residents say that during the construction of the Kaya Palazzo hotel on public land, the natural landscape was lost and building debris damaged the environment, creating an eyesore and pollution.
Spokesman for Kyrenia Initiative Halil Pasha said that it is unacceptable to hand over public land to River Rock Investment Ltd in order to build yet another hotel at the cost of the natural environment. The local representative of River Rock said that the Ministry of Tourism had leased the company 15 acres of land so that they could construct a five-star hotel on the site.
All across Europe, the EU and in Turkey, foreshore protection legislation, as well as ICOZOM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) strictly protect the coastline and legally restrict town planning practices, high buildings and in some cases any development whatsoever, at distances up to a kilometre inshore.
Pasha said that the natural surroundings of the village had been spoiled by the construction of Kaya Palazzo and building another hotel on the site, on which stand St Fanourias Church and natural caves which contains ancient fossil remains of an extinct pygmy hippopotamus, will pose another threat to their existence. He added that it was required by the Law of Good Governance to obtain the consent of local residents prior to the start of any large investment. A meeting to discuss the plans was held on 29 May, said Pasha but the only people invited to attend were representatives of the Environment Office and the Forestry Commission. Kyrenia Town Planning Department was not invited to the meeting and no answer has been given as to why not.
Reportedly, the land which adjoins the coastal footpath was earmarked to provide seating areas, a basketball pitch, tennis courts and a picnic area for the public. However, the tourism ministry reneged on its agreement and leased the land to a private investment company.
“This is a total disaster for us”, said Pasha. “With the development of the green space for public recreation, Kyrenia would have developed a new lung”, he said.
A petition will be presented to the Ministries of Tourism and the Interior, demanding that permission to build the hotel be rescinded and the land be kept as a green space for the benefit of the public.