A massive “promenade” is to ring the newly expanded Geçitköy reservoir and the rare mouflon could be introduced to the area as part of a 220-hectare leisure and nature scheme announced this week.
The network of walkways stretching some 5-6km, and play areas is part of a four-stage project – including also a wildlife sanctuary and tree plantation – announced on Thursday in the wake of last Saturday’s official launch of the undersea pipeline set to fill the reservoir with water from Turkey.
Public Works, Environment and Culture Ministry spokesman Burhan Cambaz said the scheme “envisages having footpaths, recreational areas, children’s play areas, play parks for disabled children, adventure playgrounds, race and cycling tracks, picnic areas and observation towers to watch wildlife”.
Minister Kutlu Evren said the facilities would be built entirely from wood, without any concrete, and all lighting and energy would be from renewable sources.
“In the southern part of the dam, we want to introduce a 70-hectare Nature Protection Area. Here no human activity will be permitted. We want to conserve the habitat and biological make-up that exists and measures are being taken in line with this aim. Universities and scientists will be able to visit the area with special permission.”
Mr Evren said wildlife observation points would be set up, and added: “We are planning to introduce mouflons which are endemic to Cyprus, to protect and increase their habitat, in cooperation with the Turkish National Parks Authority.” Mouflon are currently believed to live mainly in the South’s Troodos mountains.
Some 15,000 pine saplings would be dug in around the reservoir, with the involvement of local people in their planting and care.
Mr Evren said they placed “great importance” on the project, which it was hoped would be completed by 2018.
Mr Cambaz said the ministry expected to meet much of the scheme’s cost, which had yet to be calculated.