Environmentalist are concerned about the fresh impetus given to plans to develop the Bafra coastline into another Ayia Napa, ‘Cyprus Mail’ reports.
Recent efforts to re-invigorate stalled projects to build hotels, casinos and a golf course in the area by imposing penalties on delayed building works and in some case invalidating contracts and re-leasing plots of land are being made to get new developments moving.
The project aims to increase the North’s tourism capacity by at least 15,000 beds. The long-term objective is for the entire Bafra beach area to become one large resort complex. This would comprise a mix of luxury hotels and casinos, the buildings to be mostly inspired by and modelled on themes from ancient history or mythology such as the already existing Kaya Artemis hotel (above).
However, environmentalist say that thousands of donums of low grade forest and shrub land have been bulldozed and concreted over right as far as some of the best beaches in Bafra.
Robin Snape, a leading environmentalist and board member of the North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature as well as head of Marine Turtle Conservation Project, has commented that projects of the Bafra scale and magnitude require precise and detailed study as to their potential impact on environment.
“I don’t believe that anything like this has been done in Bafra. Nobody has ever consulted us, nobody has asked any questions. If they were doing a proper research we would have definitely been consulted.”
But Mehmet Yildirim, deputy director of the Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency (YAGA), replies that due diligence was and is observed: “Each investor has to submit an environment impact assessment report to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. If the ministry does not approve the project, it won’t happen.”