The construction of a grandstand and stage by the Pafos 2017 organisers at Aphrodite’s Rock (Petra Tou Romiou) for concerts this weekend has raised concern among environmental groups.
Organisers have constructed a 1,000-seat grand stand at the mythical birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite in light of two concerts set to be performed on Friday and Saturday as part of the Pafos 2017 – European Capital of Culture celebrations.
The grandstands have already been constructed and the stage extends into the sea to a depth of one metre while electrical and sound installations are set to be installed on Wednesday before being inspected by the Cyprus Electricity Authority (EAC) and the Electromechanical Services.
Environmentalists are concerned of the sea pollution and the pressure of so many visitors on a very much protected area.
It seems that the organisers have only received permission from the Forestry Department to stage the event.
According to Forestry Department Director Takis Tsindites, permission was given to the organisers of Pafos 2017 despite the area being a NATURA 2000 site.
He did however note, that had the request been made by a private concern, it would have been denied.
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Environmental Department Director Costas Hadjipanagiotou noted that his department was only made aware of the concert on Tuesday after receiving an e-mail to that effect from the organisers.
Hadjipanagiotou stated that the Department cannot approve the event after the stands have already been constructed, and does not sanction concerts on the water as it is impossible for them to take place without any environmental impact.
Similar requests by the Pafos 2017 organisers to hold concerts at the sea caves in Peyia have been denied by the Environmental Department.
The site on which the concert is to be held, is in a protected planning zone as well as within a protected coastal area and an area close to a protected site.
It also falls within the Randi State Forest and within the NATURA 2000 site Cape White-Aphrodites Rock and has been declared an Area of Social Importance for the natural habitats of fauna and flora as well as a Special Protected Zone for wild birds.
Environmentalists argue that the concert will take place during the middle of the nesting period of the Eleonora’s falcon.
The area between Cape White and Aphrodite’s Rock is considered to be the most important nesting grounds for Eleonora’s falcon in Cyprus and the concerts will have a negative impact on the nesting birds in the area.