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Phuket convention center “a certainty’: DPM Korbsak

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket convention center “a certainty’: DPM Korbsak | The Thaiger

MAI KHAO, PHUKET: Phuket’s decades-old dream of having an international-class convention and exhibition center took another turn yesterday, when Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu toured the proposed project site in Mai Khao and suggested a number of changes to the latest plan.

Mr Korbsak, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs, reaffirmed that Cabinet has approved 2.6 billion baht in funding for the project.

However, the existing design may have to be changed depending of the results of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process, he said.

Mr Korbsak, a Democrat Party member, said he was unhappy with certain elements of the project design as presented by Pitak Direksuntorn, director of the Treasury Department’s State Property Management and Services Office, or Ratchapassadu.

Under the latest design, the project would be built on 150-rai of Treasury Department land at the island’s northern tip near Tah Chat Chai village.

The Treasury Department initially requested 3.74 billion baht for the project, Mr Pitak said.

When Cabinet approved just 2.6 billion baht the project needed to be scaled back, so one of four exhibition halls and a hotel were axed from the initial design, Mr Pitak explained.

“When we get the rest of expected budget, the fourth exhibition hall and hotel will be built,” he said.

Part of the 210-day EIA process involves a series of public hearings. When that is completed, the two-year construction period could begin, he said.

Under this time frame, if the EIA begins at the start of 2010, the project would be completed around July 2012.

Under the current plan, the construction would be carried out by King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology, Ladkrabang campus.

After completion, contracts to administer the facilities would be awarded to private firms on a concessionary basis, Mr Pitak said.

Mr Korbsak questioned the reasoning behind putting a university in charge of construction.

He suggested using one of the five private-sector construction firms who tendered bids for construction of the new Parliament building in the capital instead.

“I think that would be more professional,” he said.

Mr Korbsak also expressed concern about the environmental impact of the project.

He questioned the need for an underground car park and a hotel at the site and said he felt saddened that the natural beauty of the area would diminished. He also asked that damage to existing vegetation be minimized.

“The project design should better match the existing landscape, perhaps with a small park or promenade for people to stroll on,” he said.

As for water supply, a source familiar with the project said the current plan is to pipe water from the Bang Neaw Dum in Srisoonthorn district, about 25 kilometers to the south.

After the visit Mr Korbsak traveled to Phuket Provincial Hall, where held meetings with representatives from a number of government organizations about the government’s controversial Thai Khem Kaeng (Strong Thailand) scheme that he oversees.

“I know Phuket people really want the international convention center in Phuket…I guarantee it is going to happen. The project has already been passed the cabinet, so it can proceed even if the government changes.”

Asked whether the Mai Khao site would definitely be the location, Mr Korbsak said he was ‘1,000 percent’ certain it would.

The Mai Khao site has many detractors, who say it is too distant from the main population centers and could end up like the underused ‘Welcome Gate’ visitors’ center nearby.

— Atchaa Khamlo



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Phuket

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest

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Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Department of National Parks

Officers from of the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area have helped in the release of a slow loris back into the wild yesterday.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation reports that the head of Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area, Pongchart Chueahom, yesterday released the slow loris to the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Are in Thalang.

The slow loris was found near a furniture factory in Thalang last week. It was being treated at a pet hospital before being handed over to Khun Pongchart when it was ready to be set free.

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy

The Thaiger

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Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy | The Thaiger

A floating seastead has today been towed by a naval vessel back to the Port of Phuket in Cape Panwa. Meanwhile the Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam is challenging the owners and builders of the structure to take the Thai Government and Navy to the International Court of Justice.

The Royal Thai Navy’s Third Fleet ventured out with a group of reporters on Saturday to inspect the floating seastead, the first of about 20 planned Ocean Builders for the open waters about 22km from Phuket’s Koh Racha Yai.

Nothing valuable was found on board the octagon-shaped steel and aluminium structure which was attached to a floating platform.

Two vessels were used in today’s operation. The living quarters were detached and placed on the first vessel and the second towed the floating platform to the shore for safe keeping pending legal action against its owner as well as the builder, Ocean Builders Company.

Dr. Wissanu said yesterday that Thai authorities were authorised to remove or dismantle the floating housing unit with or without the consent of its owner after finding the structure could pose a threat to Thai national security and sovereignty in accordance with Article 119 of the Criminal Code.

He said that the structure also posed an obstacle to vessels and was located not far from an oil rig.

Regarding the threat by Ocean Builders Company to sue the Thai government in the International Court of Justice for the removal, the deputy PM says he welcomes the move, noting that no government anywhere would allow a seastead settlement near their maritime territory.

Seasteader Chad Andrew Edwartowski and his Thai wife, Mrs. Nadia Summergirl, are wanted by the Thai police for questioning after Thai immigration revoked the American’s non-immigrant visa and blacklisted him.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Phuket

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung

The Thaiger

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Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phattalung Rescue

Two people have sustained serious injuries after a Phuket taxi slammed into a tree in Phattalung last night.

Phattalung rescue workers were notified of the accident in Mueang Pattalung District at 7.57pm last night (Sunday).

They arrived at the scene to find the Phuket registered taxi resting in front of the big tree on the side of the road near a temple. The front of the vehicle had extensive damage following the collision.

The two people who sustained serious injuries were 58 year old Wanchai Srithong and 64 year old Jamras Srithong. They were both taken to the Phattalung Hospital.

Pattalung City Police are continuing their investigation. There has been no explanation given at this stage as to why a Phuket taxi was in Phattalung.

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger

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