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Locals “uninformed’ about Ao Phuket project

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Locals “uninformed’ about Ao Phuket project | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: A public opinion survey conducted by researchers from the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) found that 86% of people who stand to be affected by the proposed Ao Phuket development plan said they knew little or nothing about the project drawn up by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).

After being brought up to date by researchers about the details, however, some 55% of those surveyed said they would prefer to scrap the plan, which involves reclaiming land in Phuket Bay to build facilities including a hotel, marina, shopping complex, trade exhibition center and 10,000-seat arena.

The research team, led by Dr Aree Tirasatayapitak and Kamontorn Prompitak of the PSU Phuklet Campus Faculty of Service Industries, presented their findings to Phuket Vice-Governor Worapoj Ratthasima at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall on Friday morning.

The study of the potential social impact of the 70-billion-baht project, commissioned and paid for by the province, will be presented to the NESDB along with other impact studies needed by that agency before it can put the project before Cabinet for funding approval.

The NESDB will commission its own environmental impact study of the project, which would comprise two islands, one for a marina and the other for a Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions, or MICE, facilities.

The two islands would be connected by three short bridges to the mainland, one to the north at Rassada Harbor, one to the south onto what is now protected mangrove forest at Laem Nambor and the third off Saphan Hin.

The researchers surveyed 1,500 people from three provinces whom they thought would be affected by the project: 900 in Phuket and 300 each from Phang Nga and Krabi.

Target groups included government officials, local politicians, tourism industry operators and members of the public.

The survey canvassed opinion on social impacts of the project including job creation, economic development and the effect on local culture, education, public health, safety and security.

Researcher K. Kamontorn reported that 86% of those surveyed didn’t know enough about the plan to make an informed decision about it.

After being given an overview of the plan, however, most of those interviewed thought the project could provide jobs, but many were concerned about the possibility of low-season unemployment.

Other concerns about the project’s potential negative social impacts included a possible increase in the cost of living, “deterioration” of the local culture, insufficient public health services and public utilities, and increases in traffic congestion, crime and other social problems.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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