A Pattaya official dismissed a complaint that someone is living in an abandoned Big Buddha Hill building built on public land, saying the occupant is a city employee and caretaker.
Deputy Mayor Wuthisak Rermkijakarn said July 28 that there was nothing inappropriate about the unidentified civil servant occupying a former administration and security office on Khao Phra Yai, (Big Buddha Hill) brushing off the gripe of a busybody who felt it was inappropriate.
The city employee not only keeps the property in good order, but is responsible for keeping the Big Buddha Hill area clean and orderly, the deputy mayor said.
Taking reporters to the city-owned property, Wuthisak said the buildings and offices no longer were used, but, if left abandoned, would be taken over by homeless people or drug users.
Wuthisak also took reporters to the Wang Sam Sien, (Palace of 3 sages) a popular Chinese shrine the city reclaimed in 2019 and has done nothing with since. He admitted that, during the coronavirus pandemic, Pattaya has failed to maintain the shrine and it now was overgrown and unkempt.
The deputy mayor the city has a plan to redevelop the property. He said, “What we can do right away is to improve the environment and surrounding area to be clean to welcome tourists. The future development of Wang Sam Sien will be in accordance with the procedures already planned.” City Manager Pramote Tubtim said the same thing in December 2019.
Pattaya was given the Ministry of Defense land previously managed by the Royal Thai Navy. After the rights were transferred, Pattaya improved the landscaping but found numerous private ventures had built on part of the land. It ordered all the structures removed in October 2016.
The city originally planned to raze the shrine, but reversed course and will now manage it directly. But the design and budget for such redevelopment remains uncertain.