The Friends of Paros and Antiparos, thank “Foni tis Parou” for allowing them to clarify their position, following the comments published in a previous edition, on Paros airport’s development project.
First, we congratulate you on having initiated information and a debate about this new airport, with the substantial contributions of the mayor Marco Koveos and the opposition leader Kostas Rokonidas, because our island and its inhabitants need to feed discussions on important topics with full information. We want to participate in this discussion within the civil society, modestly, from our place, to express the interrogations shared by our members. That’s our role, and we are fully aware that the final decision does not belong to us. This decision belongs above all to the citizens of the island in their diversity and their political representatives. We also want to take advantage of this discussion to inform your readers more about who we are.
Our association has existed for 20 years and was founded by women and men from Paros and elsewhere. We care about these islands, their culture and their people – can we support Paros and Antiparos without their people? – by defending a sustainable development, in solidarity, and by preserving their Cycladic character. We remain committed to the idea that our cooperation and collaboration were and are useful to their societies.
The Friends of Paros and Antiparos are not a foreign body in the society of these two islands. For 20 years, we have maintained excellent relations with all the local authorities’ heads and more recently with Marcos Koveos, upon his election. For us, this is a position of principle: our association could not be useful if we politically opposed the elected authorities, both at the municipal and regional level, whether in majority or opposition, that the inhabitants chose themselves.
Mr Markos Koveos, like all his predecessors, has moreover publicly recognized, on several occasions and even very recently, the importance of our contribution to the life of Paros and the significance of the actions carried out often in partnership with the authorities and associations of our islands. We also maintain, and from the start, the best relations with the associations that supported us, for which we thank them very much.
Let us now come to what concerns us here, the project of the extension of the airport of Paros. This project will probably significantly impact the island, its environment, economic and social development, and its physiognomy. Its importance requires the sharing of complete information. Following a debate within our coordinating body, our position is public, available on our website and social networks.
While recognizing the interest of this project, as well as the support of a substantial part of the local population, even the hopes that it arouses, in particular at the end of a long period – since 2008 – of deprivation and suffering, we want to make sure that any negative effects induced by this extension have been taken into account, better still, that concrete actions are planned to mitigate if not correct the effects. However, one question remains, which we have not resolved: should these corrective actions, these accompanying measures be carried out upstream, at the same time or downstream of the expansion of the airport?
We are also concerned about the possibility of unsustainable development which, moreover, may not necessarily benefit the people of Paros in the first place. Our questions could have been dispelled if we had the necessary information to shed light on them. For the moment we have not obtained any. Still, we have been able to note the strong assurances given on this subject by the island’s leading officials, even their support for the project, whether in business or in the official opposition.
A final word, the free discussions on our site – this is part of our associative culture – does not necessarily express the point of view of our association. They are only binding on those who express them. Our association’s position is expressed solely based on the decisions taken by our board of directors, through the voice of its president or its secretary-general.
President of the Friends of Paro and Antiparos