On August 25th 2010 at 9:00 a.m. at the Metropole Phuket Hotel, Vice Governor Theerayuth Iamtrakul presided over a public hearing on Phuket’s International Convention and Exhibition Center – Research and Study Project and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which was carried out by King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang in cooperation with Phuket Rajabhat University. Phuket people including those from hotels, private organizations, NGO, government agencies and the public showed their interest and took part at the event to share their opinions.
This public hearing was part of the effort to encourage participation and collaboration from the community in Phuket’s International Convention and Exhibition Center -Research and Study Project and EIA. The event was held to present the projects’ statements and significance, details of the project, scope and research method for EIA, as well as to listen to people’s opinions and suggestions about the project’s elements draft, scope of work of the environmental, social and health impact assessment, and the execution plan. The suggestions are to be used in the making of the EIA report and to guide the design of the centre that responds to the requirements of people.
The construction project will be on a land plot of 150 rai located in Mai Khao, Thalang District to support and stimulate Phuket’s and neighbouring provinces’ economy. The center will provide job opportunities and help spread the income over the community. The construction will add value to state property and benefit both government and private sectors. Phuket will become the regional hub for Meetings Incentives Conventions and Events or MICE.
The Treasury Department, Ministry of Finance was allocated 2,600 million baht under the government stimulus package ‘Thai Khem Khaeng ‘ phase II for the project. The centre will consist of a convention building that comprises a number of meeting rooms and function rooms, an exhibition building, accommodation for staff, and other buildings providing 40,000 sqm of usable space. This excludes the outdoor area i.e. exhibition space, roads, footpaths, parking spaces and some reserved area for future construction.
Prasit Suebchana, Deputy Director-General of the Treasury Department, revealed that the public hearing was organized to collect Phuket people’s requirements and suggestions. The procedures will then be compiled and proposed in the EIA report to Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. “Then we will hire a consulting company to design the details of the project. We will look for the contractor after that. The construction is expected to take about 6-7 months to finish and it can start around mid 2011.”
“From the public hearing, we learnt that almost 100 percent of Phuket people agreed with this project. But they are still concerned about the after effects including infrastructure, water supply, transportation, garbage management as well as the effect on the surrounding nature and environment. The beach forest especially deserves preservation as it offer protection from any tsunami and to keep the balance with nature,” said Prasit.
Assoc. Prof. Somchai Sakulthap, the Vice President of Phuket Rajabhat University, added, from the field trip they arranged before, it was found that people within 5 km area from the potential site agreed with the construction. Things they are worrying about are the beach behind the center and traffic problems. People also asked for rental areas where they can exhibit local products.”