The Municipality of Ayia Napa is expected to proceed to the construction of two docks along the coast, thus allowing the users of the foot-walk to access the sea without risking an accident due to the rocky and gnarled terrain of the beach stretching along the shore.
The project is located in the Ayia Napa municipality west of the fishing shelter and towards the Nissi beach and was eventually approved by the Department of Environment despite the initial fears regarding the impact of the docks on the local marine ecosystem, including the reef that is home to the species Vermetus and Cystoseira.
As a result, the Ayia Napa Municipality modified its initial plans, including new methods of piling that do not affect the rock formations hosting these species, and reduced lighting, oriented away from the water and operating only when necessary.
The docks and platforms under examination aim at granting access to the public to the sea and their land section lies within the beach’s protection zone.
Foot-Walk, Cycling Track & Beach Volley Courts
The foot-walk/Cycling Track in Ayia Napa occupies the beach west of the fishing shelter, starting from the parking space of the recently revamped shelter. The whole project’s estimated cost amounts to €6,5 million (€3,5 million for the 1st Phase and €3 million for the 2nd) and will be built upon the existing pedestal constructed there 25 years ago.
The project includes the construction of a coastal road 5 metres wide and 2,850 metres long, 3 playgrounds, a flower garden with endemic flora, nature observation posts, beach volley and beach soccer courts, a skate park, a parking space along the constructions with access to the existing road network, as well as all urban equipment including benches, wastepaper baskets, potable water faucets, public showers, shelters, robing rooms/ restrooms.
Impact on the Environment
In the area of the eastern dock, there is a substratum rock and Vermetus reefs. After thorough field research, the site considered best for the construction of the dock is mostly sandy. The dock piles could have an adverse impact on certain parts of the rock substratum, and that is why the whole construction was amended, to minimize the risk of endangering the local marine ecosystem.
On the other hand, the construction area of the western dock does not have any significant marine species, and there is no notable danger for the ecosystem.
The underwater placement of dock piles may cause noise and vibrations. The noise produced by such construction works is considered of low frequency, affecting mostly fishes, for example by causing panic, altering their traveling routes and feeding territories. However, several recent studies show that marine species exhibit great adjustability in high noise levels. Hence, any consequences from the project works are considered short-term and local, since after their conclusion they will either reduce substantially or disappear altogether.
This project is also recommended for the optimization of the whole area. The docks will change the overall appearance of the beach. The dock will reduce the intensity of the light reflecting on the water, leading to a reduction of the phytoplankton and flora productivity, and, consequently, the reduced photosynthesis of the photophilous macroalgae under the constructions. To resolve that issue, the use of artificial LED lighting was suggested on the dock’s rails, which will not affect the water, since it will be right on the dock.
Hence, the Department of Environment suggested the advance of the project, provided certain terms and conditions be fulfilled.
To be sure, the presence of the vermetus and cystoseira species in the area, combined with the construction of the docks, require proper planning and the use of methods that will not affect the local marine ecosystem. All developments prove the authorities and project managers are doing their best to make sure the beach area is optimized but not on against local marine life.
One thing is for sure. As soon as the construction works begin, the already highly valued area will meet an unprecedented level of development, in all aspects, including overall quality of life, financial prospects, tourist infrastructure, etc.
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