Phuket Property: The Village, Coconut Island May Face Legal
According to a report in the Phuket Gazette, Phuket property development The Village, Coconut Island could be facing legal action for infringing Thai environmental and licensing laws.
A complaint filed by local residents at Phuket Provincial Hall last week stated that The Village was releasing untreated waste water into the sea.
The matter was followed up personally by Phuket Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkhaosutthirak who visited the island last week with a thirty person inspection team.
The Village's Managing Director, Christopher Gordon, refuted the allegations stating; "All of the villas have their own [sewage treatment]. These all connect up to the central system. The wastewater is absolutely treated before it is released to the sea. It is a Thai-government approved system."
But, after further inspection, the Phuket Vice Governor remained unconvinced, commenting; "I understand that the project is on-going. We will need a team to return and inspect the project once it is completed," he said.
During the inspection, sudden and prolonged rainfall revealed that large amounts of silt were running off the construction site and directly into the sea.
Further investigation showed that the The Village's Environmental Impact Assessment Report had stipulated that the project must have a 13,000 square metre enclosure to trap any silt and allow the sediment to settle before releasing the water into the sea.
Christopher Gordon has now been given up to one month to install the enclosure. The Vice Governor said that failure to do so will result in legal action being taken against the resort.
Although Thai law states that this should have been done before any building work was carried out, Gordon responded by saying; "Please give me some time. I cannot do it all in one day."
Another area of concern for the Phuket Vice Governor was The Village's hotel license, or rather a lack thereof.
Gordon has been renting out Jacuzzi suites in the project's second phase, which is still incomplete. But to comply with legislation the development must have a hotel license to do so.
"The houses won't be a problem because they are under the Land Development Act. But opening some parts for guests to rent out daily, and in the middle of the construction, must be considered as operating a hotel business. We would like to suggest that you apply for a hotel license in order to let guests stay nightly, weekly or whatever, legally. You may not fully understand Thai law, but what you are doing is risky - it can be construed as contravening the Hotel Act," Vice Governor Somkiet warned.
Christopher Gordon agreed to attend to both issues raised by the Phuket Vice Governor. However, it remains unclear why the developer did not comply with the law from the beginning.
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