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One of five plans presented today to ''save'' Phuket's Surin beach

Phuket Consultants Suggest Saving Surin Beach By Getting Rid of the Natural Sand

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
PHUKET: Misunderstandings come in all shapes and sizes but the one that broke like a big monsoon wave over a public meeting about Surin beach today exceeded all expectations.

Just a few days ago, Cherng Talay Mayor Ma-Ann Samran said that an 850-metre long offshore wave-breaker was being considered to protect Surin beach from the damaging low season weather that usually smashes up the wall along the foreshore.

Today at Cherng Talay Council offices, consultants produced five options to save Surin from the waves - and all of them involved getting rid of the natural sandy beach and replacing it with something else.

As misunderstandings go, this was a big one. The 60 or so residents and workers who were present at the Cherng Talay Council probably found it hard to believe what they were hearing and voted down each one of the plans presented by the consultants.

Each of the proposals appeared designed to protect what ever might be behind the beach by replacing the beach with something more capable of deflecting big waves than natural sand.

But as residents were quick to point out, there was never any suggestion that the residents or anyone else wanted to replace the beach.

It was a Homer Simpson 'Doh' moment. The natural sandy arc, is, after all, the reason why the tourists come to Surin.

To replace it with something else would be . . . counter productive. But that's what the consultants put on the table today, five options to do a better job of repelling the sea than the existing beach does.

Locals spoke up, of course, and made the point that a sandy beach is a renewable gem and that, whatever sand was washed away during the monsoon season, generally was restored for the high season.

The problem arises with what people try to build behind the beach, and how the buildings might be can be protected.

To replace the beach would, of course, save a few beach clubs and restaurants at Surin that were of no significance compared to the beach itself.

Whether the consultants realised today that they were working on an entirely different kind of plan to what Surin and Phuket actually needs did not become plain.

It's likely that the Surin offshore wave-breaker idea will simply wash away very quickly. We doubt that anyone will want to raise it again in a hurry.

Comments

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I wonder how much those genius consultants cost.

Posted by phuketsaviour on September 24, 2014 21:33

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That's what you get using a sand mining company as a consultant!
I'm sure if they use hotel operators as their consultants they would devise a plan to build hotels on the beach to stop the erosion and likewise, another group would suggest covering the beach with sun lounges.
It would appear someone is swimming out of their depth!

Posted by Manowar on September 25, 2014 01:15

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Brilliant!! My God, why didn't we think of this before?? Wait, I have an even better idea which will save millions, half of which can be diverted to me: Why not let nature take its course, as it has been for millions of years?

Posted by fw on September 25, 2014 05:42

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Pounding sand never made so much sense. I guess "as cheap as sand" will become an oxymoron too.

Posted by farang888 on September 25, 2014 06:23

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Sorry my last post corrupted & sent before I could change it:

I meant to say 'this would have the added advantage of direct boat access & would remove many tour mini buses from the roads.'

Posted by Logic on September 25, 2014 07:50

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Have any of these people actually been to Surin to sea why the existing defenses are being breached ? In parts wave action has undermined the wall and it has cracked and sank into the sand allowing future waves to go over it. In other parts the wall has held in place and now wave action simply goes under it, this is what happened where the section of road was eroded. Armed with this knowledge it seems clear that a higher wall that goes down 1-2 metres below the sand with a wide footing would provide adequate protection on the one or two times a year the seas are actually high enough to threaten to do damage. Of course this wouldn't cost the astronomical amounts that the authorities feel they have to spend.

Posted by soupdragon on September 25, 2014 08:22

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Good old 'misunderstandings'. Any chance of actually sharing the 5 proposals with us?

Posted by Mister Ree on September 25, 2014 08:36

Editor Comment:

They're all on display in the photo gallery.

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It appears the powers that be who brought in these consultants still don't understand what it happening on Phuket. Things are changing for the better, for the future, for the people (residents and tourists). No longer is it about the powerful few. Appears this has been forgotten with such proposals. Changing the thinking of those in power is clearly going to take much longer...

Posted by Duncan on September 25, 2014 09:43

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what have you done to one of the most beautiful beaches, this was a special beach to all the people that have been going there for years, people that cared about the people there and the the coastline. What is there now, beach clubs excluded is a complete mess. It will turn a lot of European people with money that have gone every year to go somewhere else. As the song of John Lennon--- Let it Be

Posted by Anonymous on September 25, 2014 16:05

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Dolosse are the only things that will stand up the pounding of destructive sea waves. A good old South African invention now used around the world.

Dolosse are normally made from un-reinforced concrete, poured into a steel mould. The concrete will sometimes be mixed with small steel fibers, to strengthen it in the absence of reinforcing. Construction is done as close as possible to the site of installation because the dolosse are very heavy, 20 tons.

Posted by Duncan B on September 26, 2014 16:48

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Duncan B, two completely different situations. Dolosse or similar is just a structure of energy dissipation used for sea walls continually submersed and in non traffic areas. They are not suitable for beaches especially at the sand to land interface as they would serve no purpose.

Beach sand naturally accumulates due to normal wave action as each wave motion carries with it sand particles which settle as the wave decelerates. This occurs while the full surge of the wave remains on the normal sand ramp.

During storm tides of high surf, the surge extends beyond the natural sand ramp, either hitting a retaining structure at the land interface and carries sand in the outward flow, eroding the natural deposits.

You cannot stop this erosion as storm surges won't just go up and down the beach, they will go sideways and never slow enough to deposit but will accelerate down the beach suspending and removing more sand.

The ramp of a beach is a natural energy dissipator just as is the natural erosion and accretion.

There does not appear to be any idea of what they are trying to achieve or any direction provided to the consultants. I assume what they want is how to construct the sand and land interface ( retaining structure) to both protect the walkway or road and at the same time minimise erosion of sand during storm conditions

Posted by Manowar on September 26, 2014 18:34

Editor Comment:

We believe the misunderstanding was more complete than that.

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Alan, someone must be providing the consultant with instructions of what a design must achieve. Was there any detail provided of this?

The 5 options they provided may be justified if they were asked to stop an amphibious invasion from the west.
Amphibious invasion instead of sea surge could be just be a small mistranslation

Posted by Manowar on September 26, 2014 19:33

Editor Comment:

These consultants have worked elsewhere in Thailand where these solutions were required. Observers believe the objectives were either poorly explained or poorly understood. Perhaps the word ''offshore'' was left out of the conversation.

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Ok, we can look forward to seeing version 2, options #6 to 10.

Posted by Manowar on September 26, 2014 20:11

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Well they could always make a wave wall from all the unused sunbeds!

Posted by Mr Wolf on September 29, 2014 08:58


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