PHUKET: Top Phuket officials, including Governor Maitri Inthusut, yesterday attended the first public hearing for the proposed new road from Sirirat Road, near Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, to Tri Trang Beach, on the southern headland of Patong Bay.
About 100 people turned out to join the meeting, held at the Phuket Graceland Resort and Spa in Patong.
“Actually there is already an old road that villagers use from Sirirat Road to Muean-Ngern Road, but it is just a dirt track. It is not safe for people to use,” explained Songjit Sappakit of Phisut Technology Company, hired to come up with preliminary plans for the new road.
“Patong Municipality wants to make a new scenic route connecting Sirirat Road to Tri Trang Beach, passing Freedom Beach along the way,” he explained.
Mr Songjit proposed three plans for the road, which will extend about 2.3 kilometers.
Plan 1: one lane each way, with a 2.5m-wide footpath on either side and two viewpoints en route.
Plan 2: one lane each way, with a 1m-wide footpath and a 2m-wide bicycle lane on both sides of the road; and two viewpoints en route.
Plan 3: one lane each way, but the footpath and bicycle lane will be on the southern side of the road only and each will be only one meter wide – but the road will come with two viewpoints and be lined with pradu trees (narra trees).
When Patong Mayor Pian Keesin announced plans for the new road in April last year (story here), expected costs did not exceed 4 million baht. No estimates of costs were given for any of the plans proposed yesterday.
Mr Songjit supported the third option, saying, “This road will have two viewpoints with pradu trees lining the road, so people looking back at the road from afar will see a path of yellow flowers meandering through the jungle. The road itself will become a tourist attraction.”
Unlike some other main thoroughfares on the island – such as Phang Muang Sai Kor Road (literally “Town Planning Route B Road”) in Patong – a name has already been suggested for the new road: Preuksachart Road, meaning botanic road.
“We would like to see bicycle rental shops at each end of the road, so tourists can rent pushbikes and enjoy the ride along the scenic route,” Mr Songjit added.
Patong Mayor Pian Keesin also voiced his support for Plan 3.
“However, I’d like to see this road include access to Freedom Beach [on the south side of the headland]. Right now the only way for tourists to get to Freedom Beach is by either a dirt track or by boat.
“I’d also like to see the bicycle lane expanded from one meter wide to three meters wide,” he said.
“But there must be CCTV cameras all along the route to ensure tourists’ safety, and we must include measures to prevent landslides along the hills,” Mayor Pian added.
Rachin Thongmakkul, president of the Patong Hotels Association, agreed that Plan 3 was the best and supported Mayor Pian’s suggestion of making the bicycle lanes wider.
“I hope to see more than tourists use this road. Local residents can use it as a way to exercise,” he said.
“I’d also like to see several police checkpoints along the way to ensure public safety on the road,” he added.
Maj Ekkarat Plaiduang of Patong Police reiterated the need for CCTV, adding that high-quality cameras were imperative.
“High-quality cameras allow us to zoom in on suspects’ faces, making it much easier for us to identify and catch them,” he said.
Maj Ekkarat also urged engineers to ensure that any curves along the new road were not too sharp and to line the new route with safety barriers.
“We don’t want tourists accidentally flying off the road,” he said.
As with all public projects, the proposed new road must pass three public-feedback hearings as mandated by Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations.
The next two hearings for the new road will be held in September and December, Mr Songjit said.
— Saran Mitrarat
Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft
PHOTO: Patong Police
Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.
The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.
“We have no clue what nationality he is.”
He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.
“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”
The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.
“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.
The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.
SOURCE: The Phuket News
Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room
PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News
The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.
A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.
She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.
She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.
Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.
The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.
SOURCE: Phuket Hot News
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
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