Following a public outcry on social media and in the local Cypriot press relating to work underway at De Costa Beach, Protaras, the Municipality of Paralimni has been forced to defend its actions.
De Costa Beach sits in a small but well protected bay, popular with locals looking for a quiet spot a little off the beaten track. It's also popular with divers due to the easy access and abundant marine life. A winding track leads to the tranquil and secluded shingle beach which hasn't changed much in recent years.
The municipality recently began work on access to the beach and beach itself which involved the use of heavy plant equipment such as diggers. A photo showing the works was originally shared on social media with the following comment (translated) "It's happening now !! One of the most beautiful beaches of Protaras / Cyprus under demolition by bulldozers. I try to overcome the shock to start reacting".
Paralimni Municipality has cited cleaning efforts as the reason for the current works which have caused concern with the local community.
Cypriot news site, OffsiteCy, contacted the competent authority which covers the beach (Famagusta) to check whether the actions of the municipality were approved and legal.
The response obtained from the District Administration's officials was that "so far it has not been considered appropriate to take any action in relation to the Municipality of Paralimni on this issue." They went on to confirm that they do not as yet see anything that has changed the appearance though they would monitor the situation. They added that if the works go beyond the agreed cleaning works, then the municipality will be informed immediately and this may result in police intervention to determine whether any illegal actions have taken place.
The Mayor of Paralimni, Theodoros Pyrillis, in a statement to OffsiteCy and responding to criticism stated that the absurdities and abuses that were made when a tourist complex was built there 30 years ago had gone and they had made better access to the beach. He added that they had taken away around 20 truckloads of gravel that had been thrown on the beach. There was erosion, there were various problems, the beach was not accessible and we removed the materials that had been dumped he said.
Meanwhile there were further updated images shared and an angry response posted in defence of the Municipality in an independent Paralimni community Facebook group. The message (translated) stated that there was "A lot of uproar, again about "nothing", and unfortunately it's not the first time." It continued "Unfortunately cleanliness for some, is an intervention in nature... We are tired... in Paralimni there is a municipal authority, which people fully trust. Particularly in the controversial issue of beaches, there have been excellent moves, which have also improved the image and increased the turnout. So stop insulting people driven by only the common good..."
We found an earlier image taken from a similar position on the De Costa Bay page of the Cyprus Diving Centre website and have created the following animation solely to highlight the changes and allow for comparison: