The development of the central Troodos area and the creation of a natural history museum in the Troodos area and the creation of a national forest park in the Akamas were some of the issues discussed in a meeting chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday.
Speaking to reporters following the meeting at the Presidential Palace, Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyalis said that the meeting which involved the relevant state services centred around what he described as “priorities” of the Anastasiades Government; Troodos and Akamas.
Three different plans are being studied for Troodos; the development of communities, the development of state land and the creation of a natural history museum in the area.
The state, will in the course of the next few days, prepare the regulations to be applied by possible private investors in the development of state land which include government housing around Troodos, Platania, Amiantos and other areas.
In the meantime, foreign experts have arrived on the island and are examining a private collection with natural history specimens and various buildings in the Troodos area for the creation of a natural history museum. It is hoped that by October, the ministerial committee will have the proposal as to where and how to create the museum.
With regards to Akamas, Kouyialis said that amongst the topics discussed, was the creation of a national forest park in accordance with a cabinet decision.
It is expected that the Forestry Department will ask for tenders from international companies to create the park. The two terms of reference from the tender include; the design of the park and ways that the park can be utilised for the benefit of the local communities.
The entire tender process is expected to take nine months.
The meeting also examined the creation of a new local plan for the whole region. The Planning department has started work on a new plan which will include areas both within the Natura designated areas and properties that fall outside the areas. The existence of ‘white areas’ are causing a considerable amount of problems, and the Planning Department will have the plan ready to be presented to the Cabinet within 18 months.
Measures to protect state and private property within the Natura network as decided on by the Cabinet was also discussed, and Forestry Department and Environmental Department officials will start taking the necessary measures with the next few days.
“The President has given his orders. He considers the two areas as a government priority,” said the Minister, adding that Anastasiades will call for a second meeting which will include among others, community leaders and development companies.
The Minister said that the first steps would be noticeable in the Akamas area within the next two months with adoption of the protection policy and is confident that the creation of the park will start in June 2017.
“The next few days will see the announcement for the creation of the park, I am sure that things will gradually fall into place and people will see what we are trying to achieve in the area. Within the next two months, decisions will be taken for the creation of the natural history museum and four to five months from then, we expect to see interest from investors interested in utilising state land,” concluded Kouyalis.