Ministry approves hotel construction near over-polluted Istanbul creek
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyTurkey’s Environment and Urban Planning Ministry has permitted the construction of a 12-story hotel near Kurbağalıdere Creek, a central stream located in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district which frequently makes headlines for its excessive pollution.
The ministry approved changes in a zoning plan which will permit the construction of a 12-story hotel on a 3,000-square-meter plot located between an area used for rehabilitation work on the creek and the Fenerbahçe stadium located near the heart of Kadıköy.
In accordance with the law, the amended zoning plan will be pending for a month, until July 26, in order to give citizens time to file objections.
Speaking to reporters, a member of both the Istanbul municipal council and the Kadıköy district council from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Hüseyin Sağ, harshly criticized the project.
“You still have not been able to rehabilitate Kurbağalıdere [Creek] and you are [planning to] build a 40-50-meter-high hotel on a streambed in a chaotic place next to a stadium,” Sağ said, adding that ideally, a strip of 25 meters should be left vacant on both sides of a streambed as a safety measure.
“It is not among the missions of the ministry to construct a touristic facility in a neighborhood. The ministry is being manipulated in this case,” he added.
Changes to the zoning plan would not guarantee the building’s construction, however, as approval from a local conservation board is also required as an officially registered building – which is currently in ruins – is within the perimeter of the plot.
Kurbağalıdere Creek is often covered in news stories, as authorities have for years been trying to rehabilitate it to no avail, while local residents, rights groups and environmental organizations have protested against its pollution with sewage water and environmental waste.
The creek has frequently been seen covered with black-colored bubbles and emitting a foul smell, causing great apprehension from those living in the neighborhoods bordering the creek. The creek also poses a flood risk to nearby buildings during heavy rains.
Tests conducted last year by the Kadıköy Municipality determined that four out of seven samples collected from different spots in the Marmara Sea near the creek’s outlet within the boundaries of Kadıköy contained high levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, an extreme threat to humans.
A total of 200 units of E. coli is considered safe, but the amount of E.coli was 390 units off Fenerbahçe, 410 at the Moda Sea Club, 6,500 at Kalamış and 6,900 in the sea at Yoğurtçu.