Architect urges more checks for Chao Phraya promenade

Architect urges more checks for Chao Phraya promenade

The 14-billion-baht Chao Phraya promenade project, dubbed the new "Landmark of Thailand", must be revised to accommodate an environmental impact assessment (EIA) study and public hearings, a top architect said.

Jedkamchorn Phromyothi, president of the Council of Architects of Thailand, said the EIA and public hearings would ensure the project has merit.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha proposed the project to cater to pedestrians and cyclists along the Chao Phraya River. The first phase is a 14km-long concrete structure stretching from Rama VII Bridge to Pin Klao Bridge, spanning both sides of the river at 19.5m in width. However, the city's Public Works Department is considering downsizing the width to 12 metres after public criticism.

Mr Jedkamchorn is confident state agencies will agree with the additional checks suggested by the council.

He rejected comments by Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning secretary-general Kasemsun Chinnavaso, who told the media last month the project does not meet the criteria for requiring an EIA.

"I was shocked to hear that," he said, insisting that it was a vital process that could not be overlooked.

Mr Jedkamchorn said he was opposed to the so-called "one-size-fit-all" concrete structure of the initial plan, saying the project requires a master plan with an overview of the development framework.

It also needs a detailed development plan to ensure the promenade will fit different characteristics of each area along the river, he said.

The council wants to convince the department that it needs an additional terms of reference paper, rather than just one paper in which important details could be overlooked, he said.

Mr Jedkamchorn acknowledged opposition to the project by various conservation groups, experts, businesses and communities that will be affected by the promenade development. He said the council will act as a "middle-man" between the state agencies, professional bodies including architects and engineers, and the community to foster agreement over the project.

The additional checks may delay the project's launch, planned for October, he said.

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