Work to widen the canal is making matters worse
Residents in South Pattaya are complaining construction work along the canal meant to ease local flooding has had the opposite effect.
Metakrit Sunthornrot, chairman of Walking Street Community on June 1 led the Pattaya media to the site of the South Pattaya canal rejuvenation project to give them a firsthand look at the progress and inconveniences caused by the contractors hired to widen the canal and improve the landscape.
Instead of seeing improvements to the canal, reporters saw that both sides of the canal were lined with concrete pilings, which according to plan is going to be a walkway. The canal was full of sand and mud which was filled in by the contractors so they could drive their heavy machinery of large cranes and backhoes through it during the construction process.
Metakrit said that they had campaigned vigorously for the city to demolish the buildings that encroached on the canal, but now what they see is that the contractors have narrowed the width of the canal even more by their pilings. Furthermore, the sand and mud in the canal has caused flooding in the homes of nearby residents since last March.
Sompop Wandee, acting director of the Office of Sanitary Engineering of Pattaya City, along with his team were on site June 1 to inspect the situation and listen to residents’ complaints. On seeing what had transpired, he immediately ordered the contractor to remove the sand and earth from the canal and clear the waterway.
He went on to say that the South Pattaya canal has a long history of problems regarding the water flow. In 2015 it was determined buildings that infringed over the canal reduced it to 1-2 meters in width and only 4-6 meters in depth.
Subsequent demolition of the buildings widened the canal by 15-20 meters and made it 5-10 meters deeper.
As part of the beautification of the canal the plan was to build a recreation area along the canal for people in downtown Pattaya to enjoy.
He said in 2017 a budget of 58 million baht was allocated for the building of a footpath along the canal and for the HDPE drainage system. This system separates the waste water from the people’s homes from the dirty water from public drains. The water treatment system was also planned in such a way that water gates would separate the clean water from the sludgy drainage water, so only clean water would be allowed to flow into the sea. Plus, by digging the canal deeper, it would also help eliminate the flooding problems.
Sompop said he regretted the inconvenience but assured everyone that the project will be completed in 1-2 months’ time.
As for the incessant flooding in front of the Camelot Hotel in South Pattaya, the director explained that water from Pratamnak Hill flows down through a drainage system which is only 80 cm in diameter. Pattaya City is in the process of designing a bigger and better system to direct the flow of water into the canal. The next step, he said, was for the city to ask for a budget to get the job done.