''It's time we settled the rights and responsibilities once and for all,'' said Cherng Talay Mayor Ma-Ann Samran tonight, warning that beach clubs and restaurants along popular Surin beach are liable to be demolished next.
He also plans to ask nearby four and five-star resorts to take in the local taxi drivers who have been dispossessed of their home bases by the demolition of the illegal shacks on public land.
''There is no reason why the resorts could not allow the taxi drivers to operate from tables in the foyers of the resorts,'' he said tonight.
His comment is not likely to win the approval of the resorts' managers, who have found little to like about local taxi drivers, their manners and their service.
What Khun Ma-Ann also had to say about the beachfront is likely to remain controversial until a meeting he says is due to take place in the Phuket Governor's office on Wednesday.
The meeting, he says, could decide the future of Surin beach. As Mayor of the Phuket district of Cherng Talay,Mayor Ma-Ann has responsibility for Surin, Bang Tao and Layan beaches.
Surin especially has become more popular day and night with tourists as beach clubs have expanded, and one restaurant now even lays claim to a sizeable chunk of the beach itself.
A path runs the length of the beach, and Mayor Ma-Ann says all structures on the seaward side of the path are illegal.
One of his predecessors as mayor once cleared all the illegal structures some years ago, and Mayor Ma-Ann is now proposing the same treatment.
The difference is that 10 years ago, all the illegal seaside structures were timber. Today many are concrete, and the revenue delivered into private hands from those illegal structures is far more significant now.
''The timing is good because we now have support for clearing up the issue of who should make money from the shorefront and the beaches,'' Mayor Ma-Ann told Phuketwan tonight.
''Wednesday's meeting with Governor Maitree Intrusud will be very interesting.''
Mayor Ma-Ann said that 30 businesses operating along the shorefront should receive letters from him on Monday asking them to show cause why the illegal structures should not be removed.
He called in a grader to the Surin shorefront today to remove the taxi shack and the stalls of 32 vendors and proposes to do the same to clear away the illegal beach clubs and restaurants.
If the beach and its shorefront are public land, then the mayor may be within his rights.
All of Phuket's beaches are controlled by local municipal councils - not by an independent Phuket Beach Authority, as Phuketwan believes they should be.
Mayor Ma-Ann says that while the seemingly permanent premises on the high side of the path are leased to locals, the leases have in many cases been transferred to expat businesspeople.
Cherng Talay municipal council and the local community derive no income from the illegal structures on the seaward side of the path, he said.
To bring another issue to a head, Mayor Ma-Ann also plans to tell Surin beach vendors - who each currently control as many as 100 umbrella loungers - that the limit from now on will be 10 umbrella loungers per person.
The issue is self-explanatory - the beaches are public, so why should individuals profit from using them? The answer should be obvious. Phuketwan's answer would be ''the public should benefit.''
In most places around the world where the beaches are treated as public property, the sands are protected and maintained because any money made from the beaches and their shorefronts is poured back into saving them for future generations, not into private hands.
The approach is different on Phuket where the argument has always been: ''If the beaches are public, then everyone should be entitled to make money on them and from them.''
As everyone who has visited any popular Phuket beach during high season knows, that's been a recipe for beach encroachment and chaos, and continuous degradation.
The beauty that once marked Phuket's extraordinary west coast beaches from Mai Khao to Nai Harn, through Surin, Kamala, Patong, Karon and Kata, is now being buried by commerce.
We don't hold out hopes that the Governor will on Wednesday support the creation of an independent Phuket Beach Authority - which is what Phuket and Thailand needs if the island's magnificent beaches are to be saved for future generations.
But who knows?
With this week's beginning of the end for the Phuket taxi ''untouchables'' and an Army general in charge of the country now who opposes corruption and who seems to care about Thailand's future, anything is possible.