In the area where the chapel of Saint Nicholas is located at the springs of the river Kourtaliotis, the Forestry Directorate of Rethimnon and the Tax Office for Antiquities of Rethimnon have approved the installation of a wooden pavilion – a refreshment stand – which the parish of Asomatos wants to place in the area it administers.
Translation (with the help of Deepl) of the article of 20.07.2023 from www://goodnet.gr
Open letter on the occasion of the approval of a snack bar at the springs of the river Kourtaliotis
The “Movement for the Protection of the Kourtaliotis River Springs” has sent an open letter concerning the planned construction of a wooden pavilion with a refreshment room in the area of the Kourtaliotis River Springs.
Specifically, the letter highlights the following:
“As a movement for the protection of the springs of Kourtaliotis, we have recently noted that the installation of a wooden pavilion – a refreshment stand – has been approved by the Forestry Directorate of Rethimnon and the Tax Office for Antiquities of Rethimnon, which the parish of Asomatos wants to install in an area it administers, in the area where the chapel of St. Nicholas is located at the springs of the river Kourtaliotis.
This is the only access to the springs, a place of exceptional beauty and ecological value. This is the wider area of the NATURA 2000 network Kourtaliotis Gorge – Preveli Gorge (GR4330007), which is a highly protected area.
The area is classified as:
– Wildlife Sanctuary (WSA) – areas classified as suitable for the development of wildlife populations or as habitat for the reproduction, feeding and wintering of wildlife species, or as fish breeding and hatchery areas (https://ypen.gov.gr/).
– Special protection areas (Καταφύγιο Άγριας Ζωής (ΚΑΖ)) for bird fauna under Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds.
Under Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds, EU countries are obliged to take measures to avoid:
— Deterioration of the species’ habitats
— disturbance of species for which special areas of conservation have been designated, where such disturbance is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the objectives of the Directive
— deliberate disturbances that endanger conservation, etc.
– Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Sites of Community Importance (SCI) under Directive 92/43/EOC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.
Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) are sites that have been officially designated by the European Commission and are therefore subject to the protection provisions of Article 6(2), (3) and (4).
Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are sites of Community importance designated by Member States through legislation and for which the necessary conservation measures have been taken to ensure the conservation of the species and habitat types of Community importance occurring there. (Natura 2000 – Environment – European Commission).
According to the European Environment Agency (Natura 2000, biodiversity.europa.eu), the site hosts 27 protected species of migratory and non-migratory wild birds, birds of prey, waders and other species that breed and nest in this particular environment (important nesting area).
The pressure on the area during the summer months due to tourism is already very high. The establishment of a canteen in the gorge would result in the setting up of tables, noise pollution (from noise, music, generators, etc.), light pollution at night, visitors generally staying longer in the gorge and possible environmental and water pollution. All of this will have a detrimental effect on the wildlife of the gorge and violate the regulations protecting the area.
We are addressing this letter to the authorities who issued the permits, to the municipality of Asomatos and to the local population. As citizens, we see it as our duty to know exactly the planned interventions (which must always be in accordance with the regulations protecting the area) on a landmarkof the prefecture. On a particularly fragile natural resource that has already been severely stressed by the presence of man and has experienced the sloppiness of infrastructure and works.
We all know that the Kourtaliotis Gorge and its springs need integrated, responsible and scientifically documented planning to protect this special environment and its wildlife, but also to allow local people and visitors to enjoy both its natural beauty and its precious water.
We hereby declare and assure that we will do everything in our power to achieve the above objectives. We ask the relevant authorities to respond to our concerns in writing so that together we can ensure the protection of this habitat for future generations.
“Movement for the Protection of the Kourtaliotis Springs”.