Sports Complex design complete, but still no building budget

MAI KHAO, PHUKET: Design work on a long-awaited sports complex on 240 rai of state land in Mai Khao is now complete, but the project remains without funding.

Promchote Traivate, head of the Phuket Office of Sports and Recreation Development, said the latest design consists of a 4,000-seat multi-purpose hall, a 15,000-seat football stadium with retractable roof, an “extreme sports” facility, 11 tennis courts, 150 accommodation rooms, two gymnasiums and landscaped areas for recreational and leisure use. All of this would come with a price tag of almost 4.9 billion baht.

Mr Promchote said the project would be built in many small stages in order to keep costs down and ensure that budgets are used as efficiently as possible. The idea to put a sports complex in the area was originally put forward in 1998 by the Sports Authority of Thailand.

In 2003 the idea was revived by then Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura into a mega project to cover 2,000 rai. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports finally approved funding for a 7-million-baht feasibility study in May, 2005.

Early the following year, the province announced it would seek private-sector funding for the project as part of a proposed 1.4-billion-baht sports complex and exhibition center to be sited on 617 rai of government land at the northern tip of the island.

In March of 2007, the Treasury Department finally approved the use of some 238 rai of land in Mai Khao for the development.

Early in 2008 Mr Promchote pointed out that despite the lack of funding, the project was still listed as part of the ministry’s development plan. He also tried to kick-start the project by asking tambon Mai Khao to provide funding for a One Tambon One Product retail center at the site, which is not far from the Welcome Gate facility.

Opponents of the project have long contended that the site in Mai Khao is too remote from the island’s main population center and that a location near Phuket City would be more suitable.

Phuket News
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