City opens public hearings into Pattaya Beach restoration proposals

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Pattaya launched public hearings into proposals to rebuild Pattaya Beach and mitigate future erosion.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome said the June 20 session was the first of three planned to allow the public to hear and give feedback on the two proposals being considered to restore and enlarge Pattaya Beach, which experts say will disappear within five years if nothing is done to stop erosion.

Whilst officials continue their debate on the best way to stop Pattaya Beach erosion, the erosion continues unabated. Whilst officials continue their debate on the best way to stop Pattaya Beach erosion, the erosion continues unabated.

The two proposals call for rebuilding the beach with sand from the Rayong Estuary. The first, which would be simply a refill of sand, would cost about 300 million baht and be good for about 10 years of use, Itthiphol said.

The second, estimated to cost 500 million baht, involves using sandbags to build an underwater breakwater to divert the currents and lessen the impact of high tides. Officials estimate it would last no less than a decade.

Residents pointed out that Pattaya Beach – particularly at the Dusit Curve – may be the hardest hit by erosion, but that Jomtien Beach is also suffering. Near the Poo Pen Restaurant at the far end of Jomtien, for example, all the sand is gone. Itthiphol said the initial projects target Pattaya only and Jomtien would be a second-phase project.

Lead engineer Supot Jarulakkana said the city has been scouting various areas to find sand most alike to that on Pattaya Beach. The leading candidate is from the Rayong Estuary. Pattaya’s sand granules are on average 0.5 mm thick and Rayong’s are 0.58 thick. There is a high probability the two are interchangeable, Supot said.

The engineer estimated 600,000 kg. of sand from Rayong will be needed. Initial plans call for it to be hauled via barge and laid into ten 300-meter spans from north to south Pattaya from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. each night for 18 months.

Itthiphol noted, however, these are still early days for any beach-rescue effort and all plans must be approved by the National Office of Policy and Environment and the Marine Department.