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.

The old channels had rich biodiversity
The old channels had rich biodiversity

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.

Natural water-world

Wetlands filter the water from the mountains before it enters into the Gulf of Fethiye
Wetlands filter the water from the mountains before it enters into the Gulf of Fethiye

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.

Long legged buzzard. These wetlands are an important area for birds
Long legged buzzard. These wetlands are an important area for birds

This means that, left to themselves, the reed beds become lakes whenever there are periods of heavy rain.

Fethiye flood and mud

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.

Roads became impassable
Roads became impassable

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.

Diplomatic approach

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.”

The result of heavy lorries, rain and wetland
The result of heavy lorries, rain and wetland

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.

Gardner continued:

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.”

Masive lorries churned up the roads
Masive lorries churned up the roads

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!”

Staff accommodation being built in on wetlands
Staff accommodation being built in on wetlands

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.

Hotels being built on the wetland area
Hotel being built on the wetland area

After speaking to his manager, Mr Hepeyiler said they could maybe offer a weekend.

 

Working together

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

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

for funding.

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.”

Heavy lorries and plant shook peoples homes
Heavy lorries and plant shook peoples homes

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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