A government-hired backhoe spent more than a week clearing the blocked canal but as soon as the workers left at the weekend, Sopannee Akachartkul, owner of the Rayaburi Resort, put her own backhoe to work to rebuild a road across the canal.
In the face of such defiance, Vice Governor Suthee Tongyam led a delegation from Phuket back to Racha island where they confronted Khun Sopannee in the middle of the newly redug canal today.
Actually it was more of a monologue as Khun Sopannee, from Bangkok, accused local officials of being corrupt and said at one point ''I don't have a chanote [land title] but that's my property.''
The road across the public canal links the Rayaburi Resort to a staff dormitory.
When the Rayaburi was built, there were complaints about barges bringing construction equipment that destroyed marine life on a beach in front of the resort.
The Rayaburi has also been accused of encroachment onto the beach in an extension of the resort's dining space.
When asked today whether the alleged encroachment was going to be dealt with, Vice Governor Suthee said: ''We will take this one issue at a time.''
He said this would be the last chance for Khun Supannee to mediate a solution to the canal road issue. The Rayaburi has been creating issues for seven years.
The vice governor and other officials, including Phuket Marine 5 Office chief Phuripat Theerakulpisut, made the point that the canal needed to be cleansed by high tides and the road simply created a stagnant pool into which restaurants and resorts drained their waste water without making sure it had been treated first.
Khun Supannee said she planned to speak to officials ''at a high level in Bangkok'' about why she did not need to do what Phuket officials tell her.