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FRIDAY, September 30, 2022
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Community learning centre is not a priority in plans for Mahakan Fort park

Community learning centre is not a priority in plans for Mahakan Fort park

WEDNESDAY, April 25, 2018
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THERE IS NO place for the promised history learning centre of the Mahakan Fort Community, according to Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s (BMA) latest plan for the area. Instead, the budget of at least Bt90 million is likely to be spent on constructing a public park.

As the last remaining remnant of the old Mahakan Fort Community was dismantled and the last residents packed their belongings and moved away yesterday, the BMA disclosed that it was unlikely the park would include a learning centre, as this was in conflict with the original Mahakan Fort Park plan.

Community learning centre is not a priority in plans for Mahakan Fort park
BMA city planning department director Sakchai Boonma said that the design and construction costs for the public park at the former site of Mahakan Fort Community were not yet finalised. The BMA would have to submit the design to the committee for the Rattanakosin and Old Cities Conservation and Development for approval first, he said.

Community learning centre is not a priority in plans for Mahakan Fort park
However, Sakchai said there were three available options for development of the Mahakan Fort Community area: a public park only, a park with replicas of antique wooden houses, or a park with a museum dedicated to the history of old town Bangkok.
“Currently, we cannot estimate the budget for the Mahakan Fort Park project, because we still do not have the final plan for it,” he said. “But the initial plan for the park, which does not include the history learning centre, will require a budget of around Bt90 million.

Community learning centre is not a priority in plans for Mahakan Fort park
“The BMA has already acquired Bt60 million from the government to renovate Mahakan Fort and the old city wall only. We will have to wait for park design approval from the Rattanakosin and Old Cities Conservation and Development Committee first before we can estimate the budget, arrange bidding to find a builder, and designate the date of completion.”
He said the BMA would push forward the development of this project and submit the park construction plan to the committee later this year, as it only meets twice a year. In the meantime, the city planning department will build a temporary park in the area for public use.

Community learning centre is not a priority in plans for Mahakan Fort park
According to Sakchai, the latest BMA design for the park will consist of the old concrete building on the north side of the park, which will be transformed into a small museum about Bangkok’s old town. The rest of the park will be open lawn and trees only.
The plan is in conflict with the BMA’s promise to community members and a group of academics that it would preserve some of the valuable antique wooden houses as part of a learning centre about the history of the community.
As for the effort to re-house and compensate the evicted community members, Sakchai said the BMA had provided every former resident with up to Bt100,000 for relocation expenses and a budget to start a life elsewhere. 

Community learning centre is not a priority in plans for Mahakan Fort park
The BMA had not directly supported the people in finding their new homes, as many of them already have another house or had returned to their hometown.
Meanwhile, the last remaining dwellers of the community were tearfully moving out from their homes yesterday. Most of the residents decided to dismantle their own houses in order to collect the wood to build at another location in the future.

Community learning centre is not a priority in plans for Mahakan Fort park