Mai Khao OrBorTor eyes OTOP center

MAI KHAO: The Mai Khao Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) is considering funding a 14-million-baht One-Tambon-One Product (OTOP) retail center at the proposed site of the Phuket Sports Complex, hoping the investment will rekindle interest in the stalled project.

Promchote Traivate, Head of the Phuket Office of Sports and Recreation Development, said his office is still awaiting 15 million baht for the project’s first phase – construction of an administration building.

The multi-phase project carries an entire price tag of 3.5 billion baht. The project site, 238 rai of Treasury Department land in Mai Khao, was approved for the project in March last year.

Like many other mega-projects in Phuket, the sports complex was put on hold after the coup. It has remained in limbo several months into the current administration as well.

“There has been no progress and not even a reply from the government on this project, even though it is still listed as part on the Ministry of Tourism and Sports development plan,” he said.

Plans for the project, originally drawn up by Eco System Engineering Consultant Co Ltd, include a 15,000-seat indoor stadium with surrounding practice fields, parking areas for 5,000 cars, and other facilities on 60 rai near the Tah Chat Chai checkpoint.

Some 68 rai of the remaining land would be made available to beach resorts and other private sector investment. Many private firms are interested in the project and waiting only for the government to make their investments possible, he said.

In the hope of jump-starting the project, the Mai Khao OrBorTor is considering spending 14 million baht on building an OTOP retail center, a tourist information center and a sport medical science facility for local residents at the project site, he said.

However, many similar facilities already exist within walking distance at the little-used Phuket Welcome Gate, opened just a year ago.

The future of that project now seems uncertain, however. At a press conference at his home this morning to celebrate his election win yesterday, Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) President-elect Paiboon Upatising said he would look for a way to increase the “usefulness” of the Phuket Welcome Gate, the brainchild of his defeated political opponent Anchalee Vanich Tephabutra.

K. Promchote said the Mai Khao OrBorTor will make the final decision whether to provide the funding for the project by the end of the month.

If approved, the first phase of the project would be completed some time in 2009, he said.

Phuket News
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