Connect with us


Senators tour Phuket mangrove encroachment site



WICHIT, PHUKET: A Senate committee gave its support to Wichit Municipality Tuesday in its bid to secure proper permits for a road and football field it built illegally on mangrove forest land.

Led by Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environment chairman Surachai Liangboonlertchai, the committee members traveled to view the alleged encroachment, which covers five rai.

Access to the football field, described as a ‘community recreational site’, is via a new dirt road that runs almost half a kilometer along Klong Mudong estuary from Mudong market.

Built by the municipality, the road has sections of concrete drainage pipe beneath it to prevent it from washing away.

The encroachment was first reported in December last year by a private firm which owns adjacent property and reportedly wants to build a resort.

Representatives of Wichit Municipality, including Mayor Kreeta Saeton, told the Senate committee that local residents asked them in March 2008 to develop the site as a community recreation area ‘before it was too late’.

Mayor Kreeta accepted that the municipality hired a private firm to build the football field and the access road without the approval of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE).

Work on the project, funded by private donations, began in September last year.

The MNRE office in Phuket inspected the area late last year and filed a complaint with Phuket City Police. The Phuket Provincial Office was also informed in writing, but no work stoppage order was ever issued, the municipality said.

Wichit Municipality, which features the Mudong Mangrove Forest Reserve prominently in its tourism promotion campaigns, was only informed of the Senate committee visit late last week.

Mayor Kreeta said “The main reason for the construction project is to preserve this area for the benefit of the community, because we are afraid one day it may be completely surrounded by hotels or resorts and local people will not be able to enter.”

He conceded that the construction was on land designated as protected mangrove forest, but said the area was mostly mud flats with little vegetation.

The municipality surveyed the area carefully to ensure none of it encroached on private land, he said.

We understand that it’s not legal, but we were afraid that getting permission through the normal process would take too long. By then the land could have been taken over by someone and we would have been out of options,” he said.

Mr Surachai said that since the construction was already a fait accompli, it was up to the municipality to contact all the relevant agencies and ensure that it is legalized.

In its report to the Senate and other agencies, the committee would note that the construction, while not legally authorized, appeared to have been done for the public good.

The MNRE, which is tasked with protecting mangrove forest land, would be one of the agencies getting a copy of the findings, he said.

In the meantime the municipality has agreed to suspend any further work at the site.

— Sitthipong Nongkaew


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

World6 hours ago

Thai gangs traffic Kenyans to Myanmar scam factories

South7 hours ago

Deep South emergency decree extended 3 months

Thailand7 hours ago

Why Is Thailand So Cheap?

Sponsored2 days ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

Expats8 hours ago

Phuket’s 5 best golf courses

Crime8 hours ago

Inmate who escaped Khon Kaen hospital back in custody

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Masks recommended in crowds amid Covid increase

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime10 hours ago

Squabbling beach vendor gives rival a single bullet warning

Tourism11 hours ago

Russian invasion takes Thailand’s tourism forces by surprise

Road deaths11 hours ago

Late night drinking hopes dashed by Alcohol Control Committee

Thailand12 hours ago

Why Pattaya? Is Pattaya worth visiting in 2023?

Transport12 hours ago

Thai Airways appoint new CEO

Crime13 hours ago

Private jet in ‘Tuhao’ case still flying free

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | FIFA threatens to pull plug on World Cup broadcast rights in Thailand

Press Room1 day ago

Iconic chef “Alain DUCASSE” returns to Bangkok for 3rd anniversary celebrations of Blue by Alain Ducasse

Koh Samui1 day ago

VIDEO: Naked Russian man walks around with erection in Koh Samui

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11