Over the past decade, much of Fethiye’s coastal land has been swallowed up by residential and tourism development.
Very often, this is brackish marshland, rich with reed beds, wild flowers and wild life.
While the biodiversity of these areas are perfect for bird watchers and botanists, this kind of land present
difficulties for anyone wanting to build on them.
An important part of the region’s ecosystem, this wetlands filter rain and snow-melt from the mountainous
hinterland before in enters the Gulf of Fethiye.
This means that, left to themselves, the reed beds become lakes whenever there are periods of heavy rain.
Despite this, they are now being drained to make way for large hotels but due to their boggy nature,
they still remain highly susceptible to flooding.
Following storms at the end of last year and in the first few weeks of 2015, the building of a vast new
hotel in Fethiye’s Koca Çalış and Çiftlik districts by Antalya based Barut Hotels, has had an effect
on not only the wetlands and the local homeowners but also the developers themselves.
Fortunately for the company, the group of local residents affected, realised that diplomacy and cooperation
were preferable to entering into a protracted battle.
The residents’ spokesperson, Dave Gardner, approached the company concerned and the company is now
working to repair the damage.
Glasgow born Dave Gardner takes up the story:
In September numerous huge lorries carrying stone started to drive past our house.
They were leaving deep ruts in the road and before long they broke our rainwater
pipe under the road.
My neighbours and I were concerned by the continual flow of heavy lorries to the
staff accommodation site.”
Our roads became impassable; our homes shook badly with each lorry thundering
past and our cars were damaged driving near our homes because of the road condition.
I contacted the contractors and they came and replaced our pipe.
They told me they were building staff accommodation in the lake across from our home.
This will be for the staff at Sensatori Barut Hotel, due to open in May 2015.”
Working towards a solution
To begin with Gardner wasn’t sure what to do, so he reported the problems to the Fethiye municipality.
But when nothing happened, he took matters into his own hands, sending an email to Barut Hotels’ Chief Executive,
requesting a meeting. Meanwhile, wishing to be diplomatic, he asked his neighbours not to post any negative
reports on the developer’s website.
We met with Ekrem Hepeyiler, and some construction managers at my home
and they gave assurances that they would no longer use our road for their heavy
lorries and that they would repair our road.”
Mud and flood problems
Some of the other roads in the area were still badly rutted and muddy and houses in a nearby estate were without
electricity for a few days when the lorries damaged the power cables.
A resident from Mavi Kent Sitesi posted negative comments on Barut Hotels website.
The company contacted Gardner to ask that the comments be removed, so he put both parties in touch
with each other.
Due to the local geography, both homeowners and the company have a mutual problem when the lake floods.
This falls under the jurisdiction of the regional water authority, MUSKİ, whose responsibility it is to keep the
outlet from the lake open to the sea.
On some occasions, when they did not do this, Barut Hotels sent their JCB to do the job.
This means I was able to thank Barut Hotels and write favourably about them on various
social media sites.”
Second time lucky
Nevertheless, shortly after this, there was another procession of heavy
cement lorries going past my house and on to Barut site!”
I contacted their construction manager and Mr Hepeyiler to express my dismay.
I really wanted these problems to be resolved diplomatically but pointed out that
if they did not take immediate action we would have no alternative other than to resort
to social media.
At a subsequent meeting we showed the developers an alternative and less damaging
route to access their site.
It was then that Mr Hepeyiler agreed to repair all the roads that have been damaged.”
Gardner also requested that the company should offer those residents affected by their construction a week’s holiday,
free of charge, in their Sensatori Hotel.
After speaking to his manager, Mr Hepeyiler said they could maybe offer a weekend.
Dave Gardner is also liaising with MUSKİ chief, Yusuf Eryılmaz, who has been organising work to the canals
and bridges in the Koca Çaliş area.
He would like to install a sea pump to prevent flooding as the canal gets blocked at the beach end every time
there is a storm, but at the moment there is not the necessary funding.
New channels are being built to drain the wetlands but pumps are also needed
I am in contact with Mr Eryılmaz and have expressed my gratitude for his effort.
He suggested we could contact the big boss of MUSKİ in Muğla to plead our case
I am in contact with other property owners who are keen to organise this petition.
The canal outlet to the sea is THE most important part of the flood prevention
necessary to protect homes in Koca Çaliş.”
Fethiye Times spoke with Ekrem Hepeyiler, who verified what Mr Gardner has said.
He also confirmed that Barut Hotels have repaired the road that passes by Mr Gardner’s house,
will be repairing the other roads, and are continuing to encourage MUSKİ to carry out the
necessary work to stop the water level rising in the lake.