Meeting Municipality Kythira
Tuesday’s (25-02-2020) publicly held municipal meeting was moderately well attended, though it is to be hoped that public involvement will increase over the coming days as the facts become better known. However, the most significant takeaway was the firmly expressed desire of all three municipal groupings (majority administration and two opposition groups) to maintain an unbroken front and forge a common policy in response to the proposed installation of perhaps up to nine wind farms on the island. The meeting began with the mayor’s sober, trenchant and well informed presentation of the facts to date – so up to date, in fact, that he had to interrupt the session for a few minutes to take a relevant telephone call from a ministerial contact. Reiterating that the four permits issued to date (two more were added very recently) are only production and not installation permits, the mayor empasised that there is nevertheless little time to waste in reacting to the proposals, as they strongly reflect the government’s overall energy policies. He referred to the unfortunate and exceedingly ill-informed decision of an earlier municipal administration, under mayor T. Koukoulis in 2008, to accept the installation of wind parks on Kythera by conceding that interested parties would have “the possibility of acquiring the necessary land” (an essential first step in the proceedings).
The mayor emphasised that there were a number of facts militating against the success of the applications during the course of the planning permission and environmental impact procedures, laying particular emphasis on the power of the Archaeological Service to withhold permission and stressing that the influential Hellenic Ornithological Society had already declared itself to be flatly against the installation of any wind farms on Kythera. He added it was also obvious that by definition, the ridgeline of virtually all mountain ranges on the island were the legal property of the Domestic Wealth Bureau, and that no such land would be leased to the developers.
He concluded by proposing a number of initiatives to be implemented in the immediate future, all of which were supported by the opposition groups while also clearly reflecting the will of the meeting in general.
Watch the whole meeting (in Greek)
Of these, the most significant included:
1. The unfortunate 2008 municipal decision to be immediately rescinded;
2. A full environmental, social and economic impact survey to be commissioned by the municipality and held in readiness, to be used in refuting any similar survey prepared on behalf of the developers;
3. An open conference to be called as soon as possible, probably in a matter of weeks, inviting all interested parties including specialist and professional associations to present their views and recommendations;
4. The Domestic Wealth Bureau to formally announce that no leases would be issued without the explicit permission of the municipality (immediately agreed to by the chair of the Enchorios, who was present).
The mayor sensibly refused a suggestion that the municipality immediately and unreservedly declare itself to be flatly against any form of wind power on the island, on the grounds that any such decision should await proper consideration of all facts and issues, or risk being accused of partiality. Such consideration should not, however be delayed.
All in all, a positive and above all, sober and realistic start to what promises to be a long-drawn out campaign.