IOS - LANDSCAPE OF SPECIAL NATURAL BEAUTY
Ios is one of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades. It has about 2000 inhabitants and a size of 108 square kilometers. It has a rich history, one of the most important Early Cycladic settlements, as well as many other protected archaeological sites and monuments. It has more sandy beaches than most Cycladic islands, with the most famous being in Mylopotas and Manganari. It has protected wetlands and wildlife refuges. Ios has been characterized as a whole “Landscape of Special Natural Beauty” since 1977.
A DISASTER IN PROGRESS
A large portion of Ios has been purchased by several companies behind which stands a common investor. The objective of these companies is to develop large-scale tourist accommodations and five-star hotels. These real estate developments stand in conflict with the island’s capacity to host visitors, and their ongoing construction is already accompanied by infractions of the law as well as massive damage to the environment. State subsidies in the tens of millions of euros have been approved for these development projects. Ios is at risk of forever losing its traditional Aegean characteristics. Other Cycladic islands might soon be looking at the same fate. This kind of “development” is not sustainable. It does not contribute to the public interest, and it should not be supported by the State.
The Association “Save Ios” was founded with the goal of protecting the traditional Aegean character of Ios, to ensure continued free access to beaches and other public spaces, and to promote sustainable development of the island. On our website we present information on the environmental devastation being wreaked on beautiful Ios, and the basically non-existent State and media reaction. Our website serves to raise awareness and to inform the public.
BEFORE AND AFTER
The investment plans that have progressed so far concern two areas of Ios, “Raches Pappas” and “Koumbara-Diakofto”. Before and after photos for each area capture the beauty of the landscape and the damage that has been done, which unfortunately are not reversible.
On July 15, 2020, the Interministerial Committee on Strategic Investments approved new and large-scale investment plans in the same areas. More information here.
A five-star hotel called Calilo has been built in the “Raches Pappas” area of Ios. In the part of the area near the sea there was a protected wetland, which was fed by streams coming from the surrounding mountain slopes. This wetland has now been destroyed, and streams that fed it have been filled. The wetland and streams area has been converted into a hotel.
In the area “Koumbara – Diakofto” of Ios, a complex tourist accommodation has been licensed by the company 105 SA. Diakofto is a rocky islet that was connected to the main part of Ios with a narrow strip of rocks. At the connection point there is a beach called Koumbara. The licensing includes the construction of a bridge that connects the rocky islet with the beach, something that is incompatible with the Cycladic landscape. The works in the area have been stopped until the State Council adjudicates an application for cancellation of the permit. In the meantime, autopsies of the Environmental Inspectors have revealed a number of illegalities, which concern the area of the bridge, the alteration of the landscape, the construction of buildings without a permit, the obstruction of control, etc.
THE NEW MAP OF IOS
The video clip below shows all the parts of the island that have been bought by the aforementioned companies. The part of the island that has been left for public access (since access has been restricted to the corresponding beaches) has shrunk, especially on the island’s south side.