The decision came after a meeting lasting more than two hours yesterday afternoon (June 28) where CPF representatives explained their plan to build the facility to local residents, who earlier this week staged a protest, claiming they were unaware of the plan. (See story here.)
They also raised their concerns that the plant was to be built in the heart of an unofficial “green zone” in the heart of the rural Mai Kaho area.
More than 200 people turned up at the meeting yesterday, held at the community hall in Moo 3, Mai Khao, attended by officials from the Thalang District Office, the Phuket offices of the Ministry of Industry and the Department of Livestock, as well as local officials from the Mai Khao Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor).
However, after more than two hours of explanations from CPF about their plans and reassuring that the plant will be built to international GMP (“Good Manufacturing Practice”) and will have a fully self-contained, on-site wastewater treatment facility, the local residents refused to budge – and eventually won.
At the meeting the CPF representatives repeated that they had already held a meeting in that exact same community hall as recently as Nov 4 last year to explain all the plans to the local community members.
At that time, the company informed local people that CPF would no longer operate the 40-rai site as a pig-rearing farm, which it had done since 1991, to a pig slaughterhouse, and the people understood and agreed, as Chao Ruangsawat, CPF’s Assistant Managing Director - Southern District 3 for Swine and also a Vice Chairman of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, told The Phuket News on on Tuesday. (See story here.)
“The company then had concerns about the trouble this may cause for the surrounding communities, and so we changed our plan to this [processing] factory, which will have less affect on the communities,” Mr Chao said.
However, Mr Chao also raised his concern on Tuesday that the village leaders who attended the meeting last year did not pass the news on to local residents.
Regardless, after capitulating to the local residents’ demands yesterday, CPF representatives at the meeting announced they will not continue with their plan to build a pork-processing plant. Instead, they will build only a cold-store facility.
In bringing the meeting to a conclusion, CPF representatives said they would start the process of applying for a new construction permit and begin the process of formally gaining the permission of local residents again.