Sifnos: New voices for a “brake” in pools, caves

Sifnos: New voices for a “brake” in pools, caves

Sifnos: New voices for a

“It all starts with how easily the land sells. Twenty years ago you couldn’t find anything to buy, no one was selling. Now it’s exactly the opposite happening, because people have come and have offered exorbitant sums, much more than the real value of the properties”, says Ronia Anastasiadou, a resident of Sifnos active in thematic tourism, to “K”. [SHUTTERSTOCK]

“The monopolization of the agricultural economy and the transformation of the island rural space into an unrestricted investment space, with the depletion of natural resources and the absolute adaptation to the needs of mass tourism seem to lead to a myth paradox of Sisyphus: The peak of development can plunge communities into the total destruction of the sources they used for their subsistence”.

This passage, taken from documentary “Being an Islander” (To be an islander) of Dimitris Boura and she Anastasia Christofilopoulos for the Sifnos, seems to sum up the concerns of its inhabitants about the future of the island. After the letter from the municipality to three ministries, to which it demanded the prohibition of swimming pools, underground constructions, the alteration of the architectural heritage of the island and the destruction of paths (see “K” 8.4.23), a letter signed by 100 friends of the island highlights and expands the issues created by unregulated tourist/residential development. The signatories declare their support for the municipality’s initiative and indicate the number of issues related to those mentioned. Among them, the integrated management of water resources, anarchic and off-scale construction, respect for the protected heritage Natural space. “It is clear that the local community itself is ready to demand development that will secure both the present and the future of its children,” the letter said. “In Sifnos, as in other cyclades islands, it is feared that the situation will worsen. The islands are experiencing an unprecedented property boom,” says o Giannis Spilanis, professor at the University of the Aegean Sea and director of the Aegean Sustainable Tourism Observatory. “The difference in the case of Sifnos is that not only a part of society reacts but also the businessmen themselves, who do not want the character of the island to be destroyed. Potential investors came on the islands, stayed a few days and looked for opportunities. Now they come by helicopter, see and leave the same day. It’s normal for them to worry.”

Sifnos: New voices for one

Red line

A hundred friends of the island, by their letter, support the initiative of the municipality to solicit the competent state authorities to safeguard the cultural heritage of the island.

“Sifnos has been destroyed twice in its history by monoculture: in antiquity, when its mines were flooded, and in the 1950s, when new materials put pottery out of competition. Nevertheless, the majority of Sifnians refuse to see the reality: for the moment, the target of investors are the overperforming islands. Now it’s Sifnos, when it stops giving what they want it will be another place,” says o Dimitris Bouras, anthropologist and creator of the documentary. “Today, there is easy money and short-sighted logic on the island. But at the same time, the island has crossed the ‘red line’, for its natural resources, for its heritage, its countryside”.

Sifnos: New voices for a

“The rules are not respected”

THE Ronia Anastasiadou, a resident of the island, is active in thematic tourism. “I think it all starts with how easily the land is sold. 20 years ago, there was nothing to buy, no one was selling. Now the exact opposite is happening, as people have come in and offered exorbitant sums, far in excess of the real value of the properties. At the same time, whatever the existing rules, they are not respected, there is no control, indecency prevails. He who has money does what he wants. But even if they are not illegal, you see how out of place they are: they build huge houses and because the white looks intense, they also put exposed stone walls, which here they only use in the stables. And then, whoever built the juggernaut on top of the mountain or in the middle of nowhere, needs electricity, water, sewage, and the meager resources of the municipality must also serve them instead of needs of the society. Together, our society is changing. Once upon a time, the islands were animated by the officials who were appointed there, or those who had decided to leave city life behind. Now not all of them find housing – since everything is on Airbnb – and they leave. I don’t know how it can be stopped.”

The letter

We are Sifnos lovers and most of us have spent much of the year on the island for many years. We strongly support the initiative of the Municipality of Sifnos to address a letter to the competent public bodies for the preservation of the cultural heritage of the island. It is clear that the local community itself is ready to demand development that will ensure both the present and the future of its children.

Other examples of interdependent issues with those put forward by the Municipality are the integrated management of water resources, anarchic and off-scale constructions, respect for the Natura protected area, maintenance of dry stones and paths, garbage management, limiting cars within the carrying capacity of the island in combination with even better public transport, protection of natural beauty and others.

On the island, there are already many related initiatives in which residents actively participate. With the current pioneering movement, Sifnos is launching a fruitful dialogue for the sustainable development not only of itself but also of other islands as well as the exploration of a new model of tourism that respects the environment and cultural heritage.

1. Vasia Athanassoula
2. Nikos Anastasopoulos
3. Alina Valvi
4. Angeliki Vafeidis
5. Kostis Vafeidis
6. Nikos Vernikos
7. John Bicknell
8. Becky Bloom
9. Alex Bloom
10. Alexandra Voulpiotis
11. Ilias Gounaris
12. Maro Grigoriadis
13. Maria Griva
14. Zoe Gozadinou
15. Angela Colman
16. Deborah Colman
17. Rosy Colman
18. Catherine Galle
19. Raymond Galle
20. Christine Greiner
21. Frank Greiner
22. Ion Dagtoglou
23. Jim Devine
24. Dragon Chest
25. Eleni Dori
26. Michael Ellis
27. Alexis Efstratiadis
28. Thodoris Efstratiadis
29. Loukia Efstratiadis
30. Marie Efstratiadis
31. Flavia Zakian
32. Nikos Zacharie
33. Amalia Zepou
34. Greta Zepou
35. Kostas Zepos
36. Diane Issidoride
37. Fotini Issidoridis
38. Anastasios Ioannou
39. Ioanna Ioannou
40. Rebecca Camhi
41. Aris Kanris
42. Vasilis Karatzas
43. Minni Karras
44. Anna Kasimati
45. Christos Katsakos
46. ​​Alexandra Katsiri
47. Eleftheria Katsiris
48. Nikos Katsiris
49. Mary Kelley
50. Jerome Koehler
51. Elisabeth Koulouri
52. Phaedon Corneille
53. Chrysovergis Kritas
54. Marina Kyriaki
55. Dimitris Konstantinou
56. Katerina Konstantinou
57. Constantin Lalakis
58. Maria Luge
59. Dimitris Manikas
60. Dimitra Markel
61. Georges Xydis
62. Lisa Xydis
63. Eleni Machira-Ontoni
64. Achilleas Mitsos
65. Popi Miestris
66. Nikos Mouzelis
67. Despina Balliou
68. Dora Dailiani
69. John Olympias
70. Amedee Ontoni
71. Alkmini Paka
72. Spyros Papagrigoriou
73. Anna Papadakis
74. Marie Papaioannou
75. Zoe Papasmiris
76. Irini Petropoulos
77. Maria Polenaki
78. Dafni Potamitis
79. Stathis Potamitis
80. Stelios Potamitis
81. Vangelis Rousso
82. Benedetto SARACENO
83. Elena STERNAI
84. Christine Solakaki
85. George Stamatis
86. Miltos Stamatopoulos
87. Chrysothemis Stamatopoulou
88. George Stratakis
89. Phoebus Stratakis
90. Dimitris Sfantos
91. Nikos Tazartes
92. Melina Tanagri
93. Anna Teleii
94. Nikos Teleienis
95. Eleni Tzirtzilaki
96. Lina Khartokolis
97. Hartokollis Anemone
98. Christos Hatzigiannakis
99. Dafni Psimara
100. Dimitris Psimaras
101. Thanos Psimaras
102. Tasos Psimaras
103. Hazel Webb

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