For over 15 years, the “Pattaya Marina Project”, with a spent budget of over 300 million baht, has never been put to use. Left behind are remnants of the construction materials, which highlighted the wastefulness of tax money.
The Marina project, initially designed by Tesco Company but later constructed by a joint venture named Ping, began in 2008 with the aim of accommodating 300 tourist boats. It is located next to Bali Hai Pier near the lighthouse area.
This ambitious project encompassed a parking and docking facility, with a total cost of a staggering 733 million baht. However, despite the significant investment, the project missed its 2013 completion deadline and has never fully functioned.
According to reports, the city of Pattaya is still grappling with legal proceedings against the project’s designer after operators of over 1,000 speedboats filed a complaint against the company after finding that the project’s hydraulic system was unable to support boat parking.
Furthermore, the natural disaster “Typhoon Vamco” in 2015 left the facility with extensive damage. No renovation has been done to date, and blame has been shifted back and forth between natural disasters and the allegedly unusable design.
Ultimately, despite the supposed “completion,” the project has remained non-functional. Not far away is another failed project tied up in dozens of lawsuits, the Waterfront Condo.
Pattaya’s former mayor during this time period of these projects, and the failed stadium project, was recently arrested for alleged corruption involving the Waterfront condo case. He has stated he is innocent and was given bail after returning to Thailand from Cambodia but has not spoken further about the allegations.
Following mounting complaints from citizens, Pattaya City formed a committee to investigate the damage, aiming to discern whether the issues stemmed from natural disasters or engineering design flaws.
Collaboration was sought from three main maritime engineering experts: Kasetsart University, the Royal Thai Navy, and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang. They were entrusted with conducting an examination, and the latest findings have highlighted two key areas of wrongdoing: alleged negligence by project personnel and the damage caused by natural disasters. Despite this, the city has made zero to no effort to solve the issues based on the project’s current conditions.
To worsen the problem, news reports emerged that the city had moved broken construction materials from another notorious project, the White Elephant football stadium, and dumped them at the Marina project area. Now, coupled with equipment components of the boat parking project, which were once worth millions of baht, the area might look like a junkyard to some, especially with the aforementioned Waterfront condo slowly rotting in the background.
Although he is not involved in the mess as all three failed projects commenced before his appointment, current Pattaya Mayor Poramase Ngampiches has been closely following the legal progress.
However, the mayor revealed that the recent ruling from the central administrative court has stated that the contractor responsible for the design is not at fault for the damages incurred by the project. This includes any alleged design flaws in the structure of the project that the city of Pattaya and speedboat operators had previously raised in its complaint.
Faced with the ruling, Poramase said the city was forced to temporarily set aside the project while awaiting an appeal result from the supreme administrative court.
The mayor said if the supreme administrative court finds the designer at fault, they will need to promptly rectify all damages. However, if the supreme administrative court upholds the ruling from the central administrative court, the city will then have to take full responsibility, including the demolition of the project remains. The ruling process could take as long as one year.
The current mayor has also already signed a contract with a reputable company to complete the stadium project within a little over two years while legal cases continue against those involved with the Waterfront condo project, which the city still eventually plans to demolish but is a matter of who is responsible to do so.