Instead, Mayor Chalermluck has explained that the trees were cut down for safety after many of them suffered damage by the recent barrage of storm weather that has slammed the west coast.
The buzz began online yesterday morning (Sept 24) when social media posts started accusing Patong Municipality of cutting down the trees for the benefit of a resort near the beachfront.
Some people also questioned why the trees, all pines, were cut down considering that they still had many years to live.
“It was necessary for Patong Municipality to cut down these trees because they were broken by the strong wind. It was for safety,” Mayor Chalermluck told The Phuket News’ Thai-language sister newspaper Khao Phuket.
The contractor hired to carry out the beachfront lopping is to first remove any dangerous trees from the Loma Park area, then any other areas deemed necessary as Patong officials carry out their inspections, she explained.
“We are mainly focussing on the pine trees, but other trees may have to be cut down as well,” Mayor Chalermluck said.
“I have ordered the team to look out for as many dangerous trees as they can,” she added.
“Photos of the trees that have already been cut down may cause many people to be confused because they were cut down so quickly and without notice,” Mayor Chalermluck admitted.
“The municipality will collect all the felled branches later,” she said, adding that the cleaning up operation was expected to be completed today (Sept 25).