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WEDNESDAY, October 05, 2022
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Groups upset over lack of details offered on BMA’s riverside promenade project

Groups upset over lack of details offered on BMA’s riverside promenade project

WEDNESDAY, April 05, 2017

CONCERNED GROUPS yesterday demanded that they be allowed to participate in the Chao Phraya Riverside promenade project and claimed there has been no disclosure of plans, although construction is due to start in months.

The River Assembly (RA) and partner organisations said at a press conference yesterday that there were many doubts over the project and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has not been able to clarify. To proceed regardless would be very risky for the project, which is now in the bidding process for a builder.
Paranee Sawasdirak, a city-planning expert, said that as a tax-paying Thai citizen she was very upset that the BMA did not disclose details of the project to the public. She said people did not know about the construction plans for such a gigantic project, which will change the river forever.
“The government and BMA spent Bt120 million from our taxes on the study of this project, but there was still no detailed master plan on the project from the study disclosed to the public. This leads to ambiguity on many aspects of the impact of the project,” Paranee said.
“We are not resisting development of the Chao Phraya Riverside, but we need proper participation on the project to all stakeholders and we should really discuss the master plan of the riverside development before we can go into the details of the project.”
Tortrakul Yomnak, former director of the Engineering Institute of Thailand, said that from an engineering perspective, a colossal project such as this would definitely have a great impact on the river and everything that depends on it.
“The 14-kilometre-long promenade above the river will require thousands of foundation piles to sustain the structure. The piles will obviously change the flow of the river and cause unavoidable negative consequences,” Tortrakul said.
He warned that the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok is already narrow and if the project goes on, the river will become even narrower. This will impact everything from the environment of the river to river transportation and tourism.
Green World Foundation chairwoman Saranarat Kanjanavanit cautioned that the river was currently in a poor state and the promenade project would kill the river.
“We are going to reverse the global trend to restore the river ecology and bring back the healthy river, but this project will completely destroy the riverbank ecosystem and further degrade the river to an irreversible level,” Saranarat said.
“The Chao Phraya River is home to very rare Siamese giant carp, which is the symbolic animal of Bangkok, but we are going to drive it into extinction by destroying the riverbank ecosystem that it depends on.”
BMA permanent secretary Patarut Tardaranon said the bidding process to find a builder for the project was ongoing and construction could start within the next few months.
Patarut said that he could not reveal details of the bidding process at this stage, but added that once the BMA finds a suitable builder and signs the contract, construction could start immediately.

Points of concern in Chao Phraya plan

  • The project did not disclose all details to the public.
  • The project owner did not improve the project based on suggestions from experts.
  • There was no study on the choices of riverside development.
  • There was no master plan on the development of the entire 57 kilometres of Bangkok’s riverfront.
  • The study of the project was not inclusive.
  • The study period was too short and quickly jumped to the conclusion to build the promenade over the river.
  • Agencies such as the Marine Department, Fine Art Department, Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning Office did not approve the project.
  • Public participation was not properly done.
  • The project was in conflict with the Cabinet Resolution of August 1, 2000, and the city planning law.
  • The team of academics that studied the project did not have the licence to do the job.
  • The project is likely to face fierce resistance and may cause financial damage to authorities if it is forced to stop before completion.
  • The budget spending for the project was unclear.

        Source: The River Assembly