Small Greek island worried about 'devastating desolation' trying to attract families
Jeremiah Rodriguez, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, July 4, 2019 8:50AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 9, 2019 2:54PM EDT
Correction: A previous version of this story said the repopulation program would provide a monthly stipend, free accommodations and food. But the program, which is still in early planning stages, would only be providing certain assistance, including helping families to track down employment. CTVNews.ca regrets the error.
For the past year, the Greek island of Antikythera has been developing a program in hopes of attracting five families to live there and help grow the local population of 25 permanent residents.
The island, located between Kythera and Crete in the Mediterranean Sea, is part of the municipality of Kythera.
The population-growing idea is being developed in part by the municipality, the island’s community council and the Holy Metropolis of Kythira, who will help potential people looking to move there.
A press release from Kythera sent to CTVNews.ca, read, “we are very worried, obviously, about the devastating desolation of Antikythera.” It added that the “mild colonization of the island” was also being facilitated by other private and public agencies to bring five families there -- many of whom are from Athens.
“However, these thoughts remain in the planning stage as well, before of all, we have to build five new homes on the island,” it stated.
The statement added that the housing permits would require the approval from government agencies that could take months, if not years to compete, so as to minimize the impact to the local environment.
The program will also “help them get their own income, to produce products or services and thus create a new cycle of economy on the island. (And) it will not be based on a permanent allowance policy.”
The statement noted that approximately 500 people used to live on the island several decades ago.
In the early 1900s, the island belonged to the Greek province of Kythera. During the Second World War, the island was occupied by Italian and German forces and in 1943, the Nazis had expelled the inhabitants from the island.
According to a private tourism website, the community has made efforts to restore some of the archeological monuments of the island including an ancient castle, a temple to the Greek god Apollo and a 200-year-old watermill.
The conservation non-governmental organization Hellenic Ornithological Society is also taking an interest in reviving tourism to the island by helping to promote the region’s 250 different species of birds.