Another 30 trees on Kyriakou Matsi are to be cut down, Vassos Vasiliou reports in Phileleftheros on Thursday.
Forestry Department director Charalambos Alexandrou is ready to give the go-ahead for the “sacrifice” of the trees as they have been branded dangerous and “a threat to human lives and properties,” the newspaper added.
Alexandrou said that the removal of the trees is inevitable because their roots have been destroyed during the construction works on the road, and worms have also been spotted worsening their health even further.
He also told Phileleftheros that the Department is anticipating a backlash due to the large number of trees to be removed, but clarified that the responsibility should be shared with Nicosia Municipality and the Department of Environment with whom he said he is in communication.
In a letter to the head of the Department of Environment dated October 3, 2019, Alexandrou informed that “during the Forestry Department’s visits to Kyriakou Matsi Avenue it has been found that…digging near the trees was done in depths of 1m and at a distance shorter than 1m on both ends which endangers their roots increasing the chances of them drying out in the near future. We estimate that this will affect approximately 30 trees. ”
According to the Cyprus News Agency, Nicosia Municipality has published an announcement in response to the outcry promising to plant 90 grown trees to replace the ones removed for safety reasons and the ones fallen by the wind.
“It should be emphasised that the Municipal Council decided to proceed with the upgrading works on Kyriakou Matsi Avenue aiming to maintain the road’s character despite recommendations to widen the road and remove the trees,” the announcement said, adding that “part of the plan is to enrich the greenery by planting 90 large trees, thus enriching the local experience for all citizens.”
The Municipality has also attributed the removal of the trees to their age and overall health rather than the road works near them, adding that when they were affected by strong winds it was the contractor and supervising engineers that sped to the scene to remove the fallen trees.
The felling of 4 trees by the contractor, 3 cypresses and a pine tree, is said to have taken place after approval was received by the Forestry Department which described them as unstable and dangerous to the general public.
“We are closely collaborating with the Forestry Department to protect the trees on the avenue for the duration of the upgrading works.”
“We follow a sustainable, environmentally-friendly policy in all our planned projects, which include the building of a pavement network, a small buses network, and the planting of over 5,000 grown trees,” the announcement concluded.