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Patong Klong Developers Told to Think Again

Friday, July 10, 2009
DEVELOPERS planning to narrow a landmark klong used by villagers in Patong were told today to reconsider their plans.

Vice Governor Smit Parawichai told the company's representatives to listen to the needs of locals and adapt, or else face unpleasant consequences.

The developers, Park Heights, had planned to deepen and narrow the estuary klong at Park Bang into a channel, making it unusable by the owners of longtail boats who had been mooring their vessels in that spot for decades.

Vice Governor Smit said: ''If you continue to fight with your neighbors, who will want to buy the property from you?''

He said the answer was simple: the new channel needed to be made wide enough for the longtails to continue to moor there.

The klong is at the southern end of Patong, where the beach road rises up and crosses a bridge above it, close to the Amari Coral Beach Resort.

''Are you Phuket people?'' the vice governor asked the developers' representatives today, and the answer was No. ''Is your boss a Phuket person?'' the vice governor asked, and the answer was No.

''So you do not know the history of the island,'' he said. ''Did you know that this is one of Patong's main outlets for water whenever we have a downpour?

''If you narrow it, you are likely to create problems. Go to Bangkok and tell your boss to take one step backwards, and think about the long-term consequences.

''I will give you time to think about this. Tell your boss that the Governor can assist the local people in all kinds of ways.

''You and other developers need to learn to discuss these kinds of plans with the local Phuket people.''

He said the a marina proposed for Cape Yamu was another instance where the developers had plans, but failed to consult and listen to locals beforehand.

The company's representatives told the vice governor that the developers owned the land legitimately and were entitled to do with it as they wished, according to the law.

''Why would you wish to pursue this matter further?'' the vice governor said. ''We are not talking about the law, who is wrong and who is right, but how we can have benefits for everybody.

''If you proceed through the courts, you will still be in the position of having unhappy neighbors.

''The consequences of not getting along with neighbors can be unhappy.''

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