The local residents, more than 50 of them angry enough to turn out in person just one day after a backhoe had ploughed huge furrows into the beach, had no idea what was going on. This was despite a public meeting previously being held to discuss and design plans for preventing coastal erosion at the tourist-popular beach.
Anyone living in Phuket will fully understand this. How often do you need to be caught out by electricity and water supply shut-offs, just for regular maintenance, before you learn that you must make the effort to follow up on each and every local authority that may affect you or your business? As already pointed out in this editorial space, it is very difficult to lure serious investors to the island when local authorities fail to inform locals when the electric will be off or the tap water stopped.
It is ludicrous to expect everybody to check each and every local government agency, every day, just in case you might be directly affected by whatever outage or interruption warning that may be buried on their many different websites.
At least the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) has got it right in launching a three-month campaign to inform everyone of the smoking ban on Patong Beach. No less than the national DMCR boss Jatuporn Buruspat himself personally took part in informing tourists of the ban this week, and although the ban technically began on Nov 1, the campaign gives everyone a three-month headstart to learn about it. So if you still smoke or vape on Patong Beach after Feb 1 next year, then as the Aussies say, “You’re a bloody idiot.”
As for local projects and infrastructure upgrades, there is no excuse for local agencies to not directly inform local residents and tourists. The national government requires every District Office in every province in the country to maintain a database of registered residents in their areas. So they know how to contact the Thai residents on the island.
As for informing foreigners on the island, they can just ask Phuket Immigration. They keep a database of the addresses and contact details of all foreigners legally living in Phuket – and perhaps know how to contact a few of the illegal ones as well.