Audits, vendor registration among proposed beach management rules

PHUKET: Following the Royal Thai Navy’s ruling declaring raised beds of sand at Patong Beach ‘illegal’, local officials emphasized beach management rules and mulled new measures at Phuket City Hall yesterday afternoon.

The meeting was chaired by Phuket Vice Governor Sanit Sriwihok and other officials in attendance included Kathu District Chief Sayan Chanachaiwong, Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsub, police and army officers.

The recommendations from the meeting are to be sent to Phuket Governor Chokchai Dejamornthan for further consideration, and include setting up an audit team to ensure strict adherence to zoning laws and safety measures, as well as installing signs to inform beachgoers about accessible and restricted areas on the beach.

Additionally, a set of clearly outlined rules is to be compiled and disseminated, including what type of chairs and umbrellas are acceptable for use. Officials also proposed erecting sculptures in and around the area to ‘enhance’ the attractiveness of the beach in general.

Another proposed measure to standardize the management process at all beaches in Phuket was that all beach businesses and their staff must register with the government, including any private associations set up by groups of vendors.

A special budget to implement the above suggestions was also proposed, although no further details were revealed.

“At least 80 per cent of beach vendors are operating within the 10 per cent limit,” Ms Chalermluck told the Phuket Gazette. Sand beds are a hotly-contested issue right now, so we have asked the Phuket Governor to consider whether it is allowed. If not, we will issue notices to all vendors accordingly.”

The Royal Thai Navy last month overturned Ms Chalermluck’s ruling regarding beach mats laid out on raised beds of sand at Patong Beach, declaring them ‘illegal’ (story here), a week after the mayor said that they were acceptable as long as the vendors were operating within 10 per cent zones (story here).

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