The Pan-Cretan Network of Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations, “Ecocrete”, opposes the Kavo Sidero investment project, calling on the government to stop encouraging major tourism investments which are not in the interests of local communities and cause irreparable damage to the environment and natural and cultural resources. Their press release states, among other things, that:
“The Secretariat of the Pan-Cretan Network of Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations, ‘Ecocrete’, declares its strong opposition to the approval by the Ministry of the Environment, Planning and Public Works of the environmental terms for the investment by British company Loyalward in Kavo Sidero, and states that the environmental groups of Crete will sign a joint petition for the annulment of the corresponding Joint Ministerial Decision.
We believe that the planned investment project, comprising six tourist complexes – one above each beach and one in the centre of the area – and a hotel with a total capacity of 7,000 beds, with three golf courses and the corresponding infrastructure, on the area of 2,600 hectares leased from “Panagia Akrotiriani SA” and covering almost the whole of Kavo Sidero, is completely incompatible with the surroundings, for the following reasons:
- It is contrary to every notion and prospect of sustainable local development, as there is no real economic and social link to the local community, while planning exhaustive exploitation of the land and its natural resources for company profits. Who can tell us what the true benefits will be to the citizens of a municipality which is not affected by unemployment and has extremely good prospects of mild tourism and agricultural development by its own means?
- It is contrary to the aims of the Natura 2000-protected ecotope of Kavo Sidero, a recognised natural monument.
- It is contrary to the identity of the local area, a typical east Cretan landscape of outstanding natural beauty with a semi-arid climate, maquis vegetation and unique biodiversity, boasting the unique palm grove of Vai and huge archaeological interest, where water-greedy and dangerous golf courses, hundreds of holiday apartments, hotels and conference centres have no place whatsoever.
- It is contrary to the protection the whole area should enjoy due to the high risk of desertification, according to the UN Convention on Desertification and international programmes such as CORINE, MEDALUS, DESERTLINKS and DESIRE among others.
- It is contrary to every notion of local carrying capacity, with a 7,000-bed tourist complex planned in a municipality of 2,500 inhabitants. It should be noted that current thinking on carrying capacity, in parts of Europe which are true models of sustainable tourism development, prohibits bed numbers exceeding 40% of the local population.”