It took literally years, but the South Pattaya canal is now almost free of buildings, garbage, plants and other obstructions, with officials hoping it leads to better flood control.
Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay surveyed the canal zone April 2, noting it looked wider than at any time in recent memory.
For more than six years, Pattaya had promised to clear illegal structures, ranging from bridges and artificial islands built by a four-star hotel, to shanties constructed by squatters. Press conferences would be held and little would be done afterward.
Workers clear out debris from the inland side of the canal. Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay predicts the remaining demolition would be complete before the rainy season.
Finally in 2014, former Banglamung District Chief Sakchai Taengho put his foot down and, in April last year, began a series of demolitions stretching from the Siam Bayshore Resort & Spa to the Camelot Hotel.
Steady improvements were made until the summer, when Pattaya City Hall seemed to forget the issue again. Sakchai in September went back to the canal and called out Pattaya officials publicly, telling them to finish the job. It took several more months, but in March the city approached the finish line for tearing down the last of the obstructions.
Khakhay pledged that, this time, the city would do better in monitoring the zone, making sure workers clear out garbage that settles into the canal after rainstorms.
Khakhay admitted there’s still work to do, but predicted all should be complete before rainy season sets in.