The golf course of the company Ayia Napa Forest Golf Ltd is expected to be created on state forest land in Agioi Saranda, Mana to Nero and Arkakouthkia, in the Municipality of Paralimni.
The third time the company has attempted to secure a leased site for the golf course, as in two previous cases, the project did not proceed to the areas selected due to environmental reactions.
According to the response of the Minister of Agriculture Costas Kadis to the MP of Ecologists George Perdiki, the first case concerned the lease of state forest land of 575 decares within the Natura 2000 area, in Cape Greco by the decision of the Minister in 2007. The project would be done without incentives and any residential or commercial development. As a result of these restrictions, the company did not proceed with the project, judging it financially unprofitable.
The ministry annulled its previous decision in 2014, approving in the second case, the lease of 590 decares of forest land in the Ayia Napa forest and reaffirming the government's commitment to building a single golf course within the Natura 2000 Cape Greco area. A relevant lease agreement between the Forest Department director and the company Ayia Napa Forest Golf Ltd was signed in March 2015.
However, during the examination of the urban planning permit application submitted in 2017, the Environmental Impact Assessment Committee concluded that the creation and operation of a golf course and related tourist developments within the protected area would have significant adverse and irreversible effects on the site.
Therefore, the company located a new location where there are a few environmental impacts and social reactions as possible and submitted, on 11/5/2020, a new application for the lease of state forest land. The new application concerns state forest land in the Municipality of Paralimni, with a total area of 771,148 square meters.
As noted, the company may apply for an exchange of private with state forest land, and the area that can be leased to the company may only apply to the golf course area.
Also, the possibility is open for the company to request from the cadastral department the lease of a small area of state (Halitiki) Land to access and amalgamate state forest plots.
It appears that it is outside the Natura 2000 Network. The elements of the natural environment in the area are not a deterrent to further consideration of the lease of state forest land for the proposed development purposes.
In the context of project evaluation, it is noted that a comprehensive and integrated environmental impact assessment will be made about the creation and operation of this project before its licensing. At the same time, the affected authorities/bodies are reported to have mostly positive views.
Based on the above, there is an intention to ask the cadastral department to determine the market rent and its consent to the company for consultation with the planning department to investigate the possibility of licensing the project.
To mitigate the effects on the environment, the design of the project should be occupied by an ecological approach and include at least the adaptation of structures to the ground, the protection of the natural environment, and the preservation of part of the natural vegetation.
The company "Ayia Napa Forest Golf Ltd," as mentioned, was established in 1998 by the hoteliers of the Free Province of Famagusta with the sole purpose of creating a golf course, to attract winter tourism, but also further upgrading the tourist product of the area and the mitigation of seasonality.
The company had expressed its interest in the investment promotion policy for the creation of golf courses, based on which a total of 14 four developments throughout Cyprus were encouraged.