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Surin Beach locals not happy with MaAnn’s retention wall

Nattha Thepbamrung



The team of Phuket Provincial Office of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, Thalang District Chief and other officials led by the Chief of Cherngtalay OrBorTor gathered at Surin Beach today (November 15) to meet with a group of about 50 local villagers, who disagree with the plan to build a retention wall along Surin Beach that will cost 38,750,000 Baht.

The team of officials explained to the locals the background and plans for the retention wall, which is covered under the budget of the public works office. However, at the end of the talk, the villagers were asked to sign their names for another meeting as most still disagreed with the plans and have more questions.

“We understand that it is a part of the plan to enhance the landscape of Surin Beach and this retention wall will help protect the erosion of the beach. We agree on making the beach more beautiful but we disagree with the retention wall project that requires foundation piles installed in the sandy area of the beach,” said Jamlong Sittichok, a villager from Surin Beach.

“From all the information I have gathered, the erosion of this beach is caused by the retention walls built by individual business operators. When it is monsoon season, the waves are forced in a different direction where there is no retention wall. For Surin Beach, the erosion problem comes from the existing retention walls and won’t be solved by adding more.”

He suggested as a sustainable alternative that the local government should plant natural beach plants such as Seashore Screwpine, Sea Poison Tree and Indian Almond.

However MaAnn Samran commented that the many villagers who disagree with the project do so because they haven’t seen all the details of the plan, despite 7 or 8 public hearings.

“Though we hosted many public hearings we are still happy yo listen to the opinions of those who don’t know everything about the project. We will set another public hearing soon. The contractor will ensure the beach is returned to its normal condition before discussing the next step,” said the Chief of Cherngtalay OrBorTor.

Surin Beach locals not happy with MaAnn's retention wall | News by Thaiger

Natural Resources and Marine Ecology Management Specialist, Wannakiet Tabtimsaeng, commented by saying that Surin Beach’s ecological system is quite lush and the retention wall will destroy the natural system.

“The structure of the retention wall is not sustainable and will encourage the wind to drag away the sand from the beach. The general condition of the beach is great, as we can see from the sea plants which help to maintain the ecology system of the beach. The changes at Surin Beach happens as a natural cycle. The sand is swept away from the beach during the monsoon and will be back onshore when the weather returns to normal,” he said.

“My concern is that the retention wall will change the ecology system and destroy both the mangroves and the beach. Digging the sand on the beach to build the wall already destroyed many big Seashore Screwpine that took a long time to grow. These plants help maintain the beach. Also, Surin Beach is a sloapy beach, not a flat one, so the changes on the beach are certainly not from erosion.”

Surin Beach locals not happy with MaAnn's retention wall | News by Thaiger



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