The news was delivered at meeting held yesterday (Nov 29) to review the results of the feasibility study, carried out by four companies: Southeast Asia Technology Co Ltd, New Asset Advisory Co Ltd, Aurora Technology and Engineering Consultant Co Ltd, and UPLUS Consultant Co Ltd.
The feasibility study was commissioned by the Marine Department earlier this year after Marine Department Director-General Jirut Wisanjit voiced his support for the project. (See story here.)
The study included economic and social impacts, as well as an Environmental Impact Assessment report.
The short result of the study was that the project over all was ‘not worth investment’.
Among the reasons given is was that the project would require four piers to be built along the west coast, at Phuket Airport, Kamala Beach, Patong Beach and Kata-Karon.
Construction of the piers themselves was deemed possible, despite the battering of strong waves through the southwest monsoon from May through October each year, the report noted.
However, the sea taxi service itself would operate only six months a year, during the high season from November through April.
“During the (southwest) monsoon season, it would not be safe to use this service,” the report said.
The feasibility research indicated that “not less than 370,000 passengers” were expected to use the service each year.
“It will affect some aspects of the beach area reconstruction during the construction but there are solutions to such problems already,” the reported.
However, concern was expressed on several issues, but most importantly that that the volume of passengers “would make it too long to recover the investment in this project.”
The overall consesus of the report was, “The project is not appropriate in many aspects in terms of investment, environmental impact.”
Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kepsub, present at the meeting, said, “After listening to the impact studies from consulting companies, it has been shown that this project is not worth the investment required.
“The number of passengers is not very high, only 300,000 or so, and service is only six months a year.
“It is not worth the money,” she said.
Mayor Chalermluck also noted, “The impact of coastal erosion was another issue. Representatives from the Provincial Office for Natural Resources and Environmental suggested that if the project affects coastal erosion, it should not be built.
“This aim of project was to solve the traffic congestion on the island by providing a boat service as an alternative. In this, the government is focusing on other current projects, such as the light-rail or building a tunnel to Patong,” she said.