Work begins on new Bang Tao stalls

BANG TAO: After January 1, 32 beach vendors currently encroaching on Bang Tao Beach will move into small new stalls now being built for them by the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor).

Thalang District Chief Administrative Officer Nikorn Torhirunyapreuk told the Gazette that work is now underway on the first 11 stalls being built for the vendors, allowing them to hawk their goods in the area legally for the first time.

Nikorn heads a special panel appointed by former Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura to find a solution to the problem of encroachment, viewed by the province as an eyesore ruining the beach’s natural beauty.

The new stalls are being built to one side of Laguna Beach Resort, views to the sea from which have long been obscured by the illegal construction.

Work on the project is being overseen by the Phuket Provincial Public Works Office, Cherng Talay Tambon Chief Sommit Suebsin and the Cherng Talay Public Works Department.

Funding for the project is from the OrBorJor.

When all 35 stalls are ready to move into, a “lucky draw” will be held to determine which vendors will occupy which units, Nikorn said.

The results of an earlier “lucky draw”, on October 10, were nullified as many vendors refused to take part – fearing that the province would never come through on its promise to find a replacement area for them.

Other vendors who did take part later complained that the original site plan too greatly favored those who drew the choicest spots, nearest to the entrance of Laguna Beach Resort.

The committee then revised the plan, changing it from a single walkway perpendicular to the beach to several parallel walkways, each running parallel to the shoreline.

Under the new plan, stalls selling the same kinds of goods will be side by side so that shoppers can compare prices. The new layout also ensures that no shop will have much more of a competitive advantage in terms of location.

Survey work is now underway to establish new locations for several restaurants that have encroached on the beach by building terraced dining areas out over the tidal zone, Nikorn said.

Illegal encroachment by vendors is a problem along the entire length of Bang Tao Beach, which currently has about 90 illegal stalls on the sand, a survey by Nikorn’s panel has found.

Kontee Warapitayut, Corporate Counsel for Laguna Resorts and Hotels, declined to comment on the new project, saying that it was initiated and is being carried out by the government – not the resort management.

Phuket News

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