Schinias park forges ahead

Schinias, despite having had the rockiest ride in the pre-Olympic period, is nearer to completion than any other project. The broader area has been established as a national park, the administrative body is up and running, and protection of the area is now the outstanding issue. According to the pertinent presidential decree, the area will function as an environmental learning center, with only low-impact sports and recreation allowed that will not have repercussions on the environment. Low impact Olympic facilities are thus temporary, while facilities for post-Olympic use will be permanent. Watchtowers that were used to oversee the boat races will now be turned into bird observation posts for visitors to the park. The environmental center and park administration will be housed in buildings that served the needs of VIPs during the Olympics. But the most important clause in the presidential decree of June 22, 2000 regards the curbs placed on building in the area – most of which is illegal. The boundaries of the national park have been drawn so as to leave out any existing settlement, with the exception of the Aghios Georgios settlement at Kato Souli. Pressure is already being exerted to amend the existing boundary so it skirts the settlement. Building threat The existence in the area of a number of building cooperatives (of judicial employees, judges, public prosecutors and police employees) poses a perennial danger to the area. However, procedures have already been set in motion to fence off and clean the park, as well as remove old military bases in the area.