The news came yesterday (Feb 26) when Mayor Chalermluck staged an interview on the Patong beachfront to explain a slew of developments in Patong, including the expansion of the wastewater-treatment plant and upcoming festivities to honour the royal visit to Patong by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Mar 11, 1959.
Mayor Chalermluck said that during the past two months, overall tourism in the Patong area had been good, but expressed concern for bookings so far for March.
“We have discussed the situation with operators, as there have not been many room bookings. However, we will have to look at this again as we enter March to see what the tourism situation in Patong will be,” she said.
“Today, the main selling point of Patong is the sea, and Patong Beach. We have organised the areas on the beach and in the sea to facilitate all types of tourists, including those who like boat activities and those who like to play in the water. We have separate areas for them to play in the water safely.
“Actually, visiting Patong is not just about natural tourism attractions. Patong also has delicious food at fair prices. In addition, Patong has nightlife that is considered unbeatable.”
Yet the big plans that are a foot include making Patong more convenient to walk through, she added.
“Patong Municipality is going to build Patong not just as a ‘city of tourism’, but as a ‘city of walking’. In order to reduce traffic problems and the number of vehicles on the roads, and hence reduce the toxic fumes in the town, in the next fiscal year Patong Municipality will push ahead with making more footpaths, planting more trees along the walkways to provide more shade, and make all roads comfortable for walking along.
“This will give local people more opportunities as street vendors, so they can can trade directly with tourists, thus helping to distribute income throughout the local community as well,” she said.
Mayor Chalermluck said that the issue of garbage was a serious concern in Patong.
“Tens of thousands of people, sometimes hundreds of thousands of people, visit Patong each day,” she said.
“The resulting garbage generated in Patong is more 150 tons a day, which Patong Municipality must collect and transport to be incinerated at the waste incineration plant (in Saphan Hin),” she added.
“In the past, Phuket Municipality tried to reduce the volume of garbage genereated by campaigning for people to separate garbage at the source before disposing of it. But not everyone is doing this, we still need cooperation from all sectors,” Mayor Chalermluck said.
However, the campaign continues, with local schools now forced to separate waste before disposing of it, she said.
“The municipality will also continue its campaign with local communities to improve our efforts in this so that our waste separation is successful. A selection of communities in Kalim have been already chosen as a model for waste separation for other communities to follow,” she added.
Mayor Chalermluck admitted that Patong Municipality has been trying for many years to have power lines installed underground throughout the town, but especially along Thaweewong Rd on the Patong beachfront.
“Today, I have good news. The Provincial Electricity Authority has already hired a contractor to install the power lines on Thaweewong Rd.
“There will be a press conference in Bangkok on March 5 (next Tuesday) to officially launch this project. After that, in March, the project will begin.
“The work should take about one year, and be completed by March 2020. However, we have to understand that during the construction process there may be some inconvenience.
“We ask the people of Patong to be patient and to help each other in order to complete the project,” she said.
Mayor Chalermluck also explained that works were going ahead on expanding the wastewater-treatment plant in Patong.
“Today, the Patong Municipality wastewater-treatment system can treat 30,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day, but we believe that Patong is still a very fast-growing city and therefore Patong Municipality has plans to build an additional wastewater-treatment system that will be able to treat a further 9,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day.
“In the fiscal year 2019, the Patong City Council approved the budget of B130 million for construction. The last review of the construction model has been completed, and the next step is the procurement process (e-bidding).
“The construction of Phase 5 (of the wastewater-treatment system) is expected to take about one year, but we are still hoping for the construction to be finished in 2020,” she said.
Mayor Chalermluck pointed out that many agencies were working together to make the town safe for visitors. “Patong Municipality is working with police and the Tourist Police, and we have hired 25 lifeguards to look after the safety of tourists along the beach,” she said.
Ratchatanusorn 'royal visit' celebration
Mayor Chalermluck also invited people to join the festivities to honour the 60th anniversary of the royal visit to Patong by the late King Bhumibol on March 11, 1959.
“Patong people regard the royal celebration of the Ratchatanusorn (blessed royal remembrance) as an annual event in Patong and is considered an important part of the history of Patong,” she said.
“On March 11, 1959, King Rama 9 went through the town. He visited the area of the Baan Mon community and the Wang Khi Aon Waterfall,” she explained.
“That visit resulted in people around the world learning about Patong, and today Patong is a famous tourist destination,” she added.
The annual festival to honour the royal visit this year will be held in Baan Mon on Mar 7-12, Mayor Chalermluck noted.
“People are invited to join a blessing ceremony in the morning on Mar 7, when there will be food offerings to monks,” she said.
“And all along Phra Phisit Korani Rd from March 7-12, there will be activities in the evening. Please come and enjoy the many activities,” she said.
The Phuket News urges motorists to beware traffic delays during the annual festival, during which each year traffic along Phisit Korani Rd is diverted around the Baan Mon community, as a shrine dedicated to the royal visit is situated along that road.