Riverside Renovation – Chao Phraya promenade to start construction despite concerns
Though the project has met with concerns and opposition, the Chao Phraya Riverside Promenade Project will begin construction by August, announced the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).
The issues that concerned residents have are related to the negative impact that such a large development could have on the river. The timing is also unfair, claim opponents, because new legislation that forbids encroachment on waterways will come into effect next month — but by then it will be too late since the permissions have already been granted.
The new legislation, called the Navigation in Thai Waters Act which disallows many structures on waterfronts including homes, piers and boardwalks, and will be applied to waterfronts nationwide, not just in Bangkok. Opponents say that the promenade will encroach on the river, narrowing its path and negatively affecting drainage as well as breaking the new laws at a time when other people will have to dismantle their homes and piers, reported The Nation.
The BMA Building Control Division’s Taiwut Khankaew said that all necessary agencies have given permission for the project to move forward. He said that the BMA is now in the budgeting process and will soon begin taking bids from contractors.
He said that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is in place and the Marine Department has signed off, the public hearings have been held and construction should start in August for the 14 kilometer river walk. The project will also include a walking path and bicycle lane as well as park and recreation areas and all necessary facilities such as restrooms, bike racks and disabled accessibility.
However, some experts don’t think the development is such a great idea.
Kasetsart University Water Resources Engineering Department professor Sitang Pilailar warned that the development could cause serious problems during the rainy season due to the changes to the drainage that will need to be made to accommodate the new structure. She noted that it could make flooding in the city worse.
There is talk about lawsuits against the government by city planners and local residents.