Phuket

Tsunami fears prompt Phuket convention center redesign

PHUKET: Concerns over whether the Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC) would be able to withstand a tsunami have sparked a full review of the project design plans.

Wongsakorn Nunchukhan, from the Department of Public Works And Town & Country Planning office in Phuket yesterday told a progess-update meeting at Provincial Hall that the141-rai coastal site in Mai Khao, at the north end of the island, is considered a tsunami-risk zone.

“The design and construction of the center’s main building and adjoining facilities should be ‘tsunami safe’ because tsunamis can strike at any time,” he said.

Thamrong Thongtan, chief of Treasury Office in Phuket, later told the Gazette, “The construction company probably considered this suggestion in their plan. The building design should ensure the safety of the people taking part in any events being held at the center.”

Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosutthirak, who presided over the meeting, highlighted the delay the suggestion would trigger.

“This suggestion will [need to] be discussed further among relevant organizations, such as the Phuket Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation [DDPM], after which we will discuss it again before proceeding,” he explained.

The project is already under time pressure. Its originally-scheduled completion was May 2014.

However, time pressures imposed by funding under the Thai Khem Kaeng, or “Strong Thailand”, government economic stimulus package require project completion by November 2013.

Cabinet approved a budget of 2.6 billion baht for construction of the center, but funding for other projects to support the ICEC, such as highway upgrades and light rail projects, will have to be sourced from relevant departments including the Highways Office, Provincial Electricity Authority and the Provincial Waterworks Authority, the meeting was told.

“The architects [KAED 103] will draft a master plan for the whole project so the other offices will have have a clearer picture of what the project will look like,” said V/Gov Somkiet.

KAED 103 signed the contract with the Treasury Office to become the project architects on April 27.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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

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