Phuket Gazette reports :-
Plans for Chalong Marina expansion unveiled
CHALONG: Three different plans for Phase II of the Chalong Marina Project, which aims to provide berths for more than 200 vessels to Chalong Bay, were announced at a public hearing about the project at Muang Phuket School today.
Phuket Vice-Governor Worapoj Ratthasima, who led the meeting, was joined by Marine Department Director Werawan Sirigarmpen and a team of consultants from the Marine Departmentís Technical and Planning Division.
The meeting, the first of three public hearings to be held about the project, intended to gather public feedback about the design, environmental and social impacts of the expanded project, intended to further raise Phuketís attractiveness as a marine tourism destination.
About 130 people attended the hearing, during which questionnaires were distributed to gauge reaction to Phase II.
During the hearing, Kumpanart Chewapreecha of Golden Plan Company Ltd, one of three consulting firms hired by the Marine Department to study the impacts of the project, unveiled the three alternative designs for the marina.
All three involve construction of two large breakwaters to protect boats in the marina from waves, but differ in the orientation and location of the berths around a large Customs Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facility built out on the main dock.
The breakwaters would be constructed as jetties built of large stones piled up on the sea bed.
Under the first two options, existing coral and seagrass beds would be protected by the breakwaters. Under the third option, they would be removed.
In addition to providing berths for Thai and foreign yachts, the marina would also provide yacht-related training in a number areas which would develop the islandís entire marine tourism industry, he said.
ďThe project is not intended to compete with similar private-sector developments,Ē he said.
Activist Sutha Prateep Na Thalang, President of Chalong Community Network, expressed several concerns about siting such a large marina in Chalong Bay. Local residents could be affected by the influx of foreigners that would increase the cost of living in the area and attract large number of low-wage foreign laborers competing for work.
He was also concerned about the difficult-to-predict effect of the breakwaters on soil erosion and silt built-up in Chalong Bay.
K. Sutha said he appreciated the chance to air his views at the public hearing, because private sector developments all too often proceed with little or no input from local people who will be affected by them