Bangkok’s Sam Sen riverside community has accepted the “Chao Phraya for All” development project after attending a conference with those involved in its construction including advisory staff from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.
“We previously did not take the project’s side because we misunderstood it. We thought it was a walkway or bicycle lane that would disconnect our community from the river,” Sam Sen riverside community head Weerasak Harnchokchaiskul told a press conference.
He said his community could participate in the project via discussions in which they could voice opinions, suggestions and perhaps objections to the project’s design, with the possibility of adjustments being made to the design.
He said most people in the community are happy with the amended design including lowering the flood barriers along the river . The project also promised to preserve the community’s unique lifestyle, enhance residents’ quality of life and reopen piers. Many amendments were done to ensure the project would fulfill residents’sneeds . “People here are not effected by this project and don’t need to relocate their homes like other riverside communities” he said.
Ronnachai Nilbut, 13 who has lived in the communities his entire life, said ” I know a lot about the project because I always follow the information (about it) via the community’s public relation radio and the Thailand Moves Forward TV programme.
He said he had particicipated in every conference between the project staff and the community, the community was satisfied with the project. Chandhra Miswa ,67, who has lived in the community for five decades ,said “At first I was a little bit worried about flooding due to lowering the flood barriers but after attending the conferences and seeing what the plan looks like I agree with this project ”
Ronnarit Dhanakoses, Chao Phraya Heritage Center director and landscape architect , said Bangkok has been developed without balance.
“Based on old folks’ wisdom and knowledge of water management , the project plan for this area will focus on preserving and developing the lifestyle of ( riverside ) communities by using advance technology.” he said.
Ronnarit said the flood barriers, built after 2011 flood obscuring river scenery , would be lower and Thai-styled wooden balconies would be built .He said the lowered barrier would not be as effective in preventing flooding so a mangrove forest would be planted to help prevent riverbank erosion.
The project would enhance the cultural landscape and people would be more connected to the river, he said.
Ronnarit said Ducth water specialists had help design floating structures with buoys to make the river once again suitable for living by offsetting the impact motor-powered boat have on the river in a bid to bring back the tradition of people livig on boats.
” Living on the water is the best way to live because if Bangkok subsided due to an increased water level some day , those who live on boats would survive while others may not make it, ” he said.
The project would also include Chao Phraya Heritage Museum and Knowledge Center which would detail the history of the riverdside communities.
He added that the first phase of the project study and design would be finished by the end of September.
The project will run 57 kilometres along the Chao Phraya River and its pilot area is 14 kilometres section from the Rama 7 Bridge to the Pra Pinklao Bridge which includes Sam Sen community.