The mayor of Hellinikon – Argyroupolis, Yiannis Konstantatos, said that the reasons behind the blocking of the investment at the former Athens airport site are political.
“The reasons for delaying the project have a “name”,” Konstantatos told in.gr news website, stressing that some of those who protest against the development project today are the same people who voted in favor of the concession contract a year ago.
“Those demonstrating, those 10-15 people, are demonstrating for decades against anything good that is going to happen in this place,” the mayor said. According to the report, Konstantatos implied that former mayor, Christos Kortzidis, leads a minority who oppose the development project of the former airport.
Konstantatos commented on the forestry agency that has attempted to declare part of the former airport site as forestland. He said that there was a forest planted 90 years ago but today there is no forest.
Regarding the new obstacles put by archaeologists who claim that the project should stop and that the area should be declared an archaeological site, Konstantatos said that the issue of antiquities on the site was raised in 2016, not in 2001 when the airport services left the site. He stressed that archaeologists only speak about signs of the existence of antiquities without being certain that there are actually antiquities in the area.
To prove his point, the Hellinikon mayor referred to 1957, when the airport was expanded and the Archaeological Agency had declared the adjacent area of Agios Kosmas an archaeological site, but not the airport itself.
Konstantatos stressed the benefits the development project will bring to the general area and the Greek economy overall.
The Hellinikon mayor did not appear optimistic, saying that it would be very difficult for works to start in 2018. “We have struggled to make this work – and we have been targeted for that – but we do not see light at the end of the tunnel,” Konstantatos said, noting that if the investment is canceled, he will initiate procedures to return the land to the citizens of Hellinikon – Argyroupolis.