The ‘Pattaya Marina Project’ has been a scary reminder of bad public money management for more than 15 years. This once-ambitious project, which had a staggering budget of more than 300 million baht, is now in ruins and surrounded by unresolved legal issues.
The project was started in 2008 with the goal of accommodating more than 300 tourist boats. Tesco Company developed the plan, and Ping, a joint venture, built it. The big plan called for a parking lot and a docking station, which would cost a huge 733 million baht. Despite spending a lot of money on it, the project wasn’t complete by the deadline in 2013 and has never been fully operational.
A very big group of speedboat owners with more than 1000 boats in their fleets pointed out a major problem with the hydraulic system, which was one of many problems the project had. Because there wasn’t a comprehensive pre-construction study, the issues got worse. Furthermore, “Typhoon Vamco” caused a lot of damage in 2015, bringing the project to the edge of failure.
As problems got worse, Pattaya City put together a group of marine engineering and coastal area experts to look into the damage. Their research pointed to two main causes: carelessness on the part of project staff and the damaging power of natural disasters. In spite of this, no real steps have been taken to fix the problems.
According to recent news, Pattaya City has stored the project’s leftovers and materials near the Pattaya Sports Arena, probably to hide the embarrassing situation from the public. Tens of millions of baht worth of boat parts are now piled up while they wait for an answer.
Mayor Poramet Ngamphichet has actively pursued legal options, even though he wasn’t involved in the early stages of the project. The latest decision by the central administrative court that the contractors were not responsible has made things even more complicated. Pattaya City is in a legal limbo and is waiting for a new decision. They are still determined to get justice through the top administrative court.
Depending on what the Supreme Administrative Court decides, the building could be completely torn down. If the designers are found guilty, Pattaya City will have to deal with the difficult job of destroying the project. At the same time, a committee will look into what officials did and how both the project and nature disasters contributed to the damage.
Pattaya City is having a hard time with lawsuits, bad management, and natural disasters. The “Pattaya Marina Project” shows how hard it can be when big ideas don’t match up with harsh facts. Time will tell if justice is done and if the ruins of this big project will disappear or be brought back to life despite all chances.
Photo credit: Pattaya Mail