NEWS

A beach or a road?

The lovely sands of Livadakia on Serifos look more like a road than a beach. Local residents complain that dozens of cars drive across the beach every day, inconveniencing swimmers. The extra traffic is generated by a new bar and restaurant that has been set up in the middle of the beach, and to which there is no other means of access since the owner was not allowed to build a road at right angles to the shore. So delivery vehicles and customers get to the bar by driving over the beach. Dora Spachi, president of the Serifos Association of Friends for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage told Kathimerini that on June 14 the local council had decided to install barriers at the points where rural roads terminate at the beach, prohibiting the passage of vehicles. This decision was never implemented. On August 2, Stelios Sezenias, head of the Serifos Land Office, sent the municipality a letter reminding it of its obligation to take steps to prevent vehicles from using the beach, to protect the beach as an area of common use and to allow its safe use by the public. If this was not done, the letter added, «we will be in the difficult position of» asking for the municipality to be relieved of its responsibility for the beach. «We don’t understand why they don’t install the barriers that have been ordered and have arrived on Serifos,» said Spachi. The situation has become unbearable, both for people on the beach who get showered with sand every time a vehicle drives past, and for the owners of seaside houses, who are bothered by the noise. Signs have been put up to prohibit vehicles but they have been defaced and made useless. Serifos Mayor Angeliki Synodinou told Kathimerini that the traffic barriers had not been installed because the whole 10-meter-wide stretch of beach had to be freed up first. «Cars do drive onto the beach and the port authorities and the police should take action,» said Synodinou, «but the municipality’s decision to install barriers will be implemented when the beach expanse is free and handed over for recreational purposes. That is, when the walls of the houses that abut on the beach are moved back.» Does one infringement cancel out another?