Locals protest against potential quarry construction in Gökçeada
Ömer Erbil – ÇANAKKALE
Locals of the Aegean resort island of Gökçeada have become angered due to the submission of an environmental assessment report (ÇED) by an engineering and consultancy company in an application to the Environment Ministry for the construction of a quarry on the island.
The company wants to establish the sandstone quarry in the island’s touristic neighborhood of Kaleköy.
“The place where they want to open a quarry is a protected area and tourism center. It should not be allowed. Otherwise, we will go to the judiciary,” said Gökçeada Mayor Ünal Çetin regarding the issue.
In their report dated March 1, engineering and consultancy firm TEMÇED said they plan for the quarry to produce 40,000 tons per year. The quarry would also operate eight months a year, with 25 working days every month, eight hours per day, the firm said.
“Cultivated areas exist in the [potential quarry’s] field of activity. The mining activities will be initiated after obtaining the necessary permission from the Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry. The [potential] area for the mining also includes a pasture. The activities consist of removing the quarry stones, mounting them in trucks and transporting them. As for air pollution, only dust formation is expected,” the firm’s ÇED application report said.
Not only will the cultivated and pasture areas be potentially affected by the construction of the quarry in the neighborhood, but tourism is also in jeopardy, as there are many restaurants, cafes, hostels and hotels in the Kaleköy neighborhood. Giving permission for the quarry will also make mining activities a part of the beautiful scenery.
Çetin also said the municipality had conveyed their discomfort regarding the firm’s ÇED application file to the Çanakkale provincial environmental directorate. “Kaleköy is our island’s tourism center. It is very close to the airport. The quarry will be the first place to welcome incoming guests. It will cause sound, visual and environmental pollution, we will never let this happen.”
A joint statement issued by local foundations said the villagers on the island would be affected by the “dust” as a result of the construction, which would “sabotage” tourism as a result.
“It is an unacceptable mistake to allow quarry activities to occur on our island, which is a ‘Cittaslow’ member, and for the island to be damaged with trucks, heavy construction equipment and roads for these vehicles to reach to the excavation site,” the statement said.
Cittaslow is an organization that aims to improve the quality of life in cities by slowing down their overall pace, especially through their use of space and the flow of life and traffic through them. The Cittaslow General Committee added the island to a network of slow-paced cities in Turkey in 2011.