The Grassroots Democratic Party wants the government to keep Boeng Tamouk lake as the last large natural lake rather than having part of it filled for development.
The GDP on Saturday posted a message on its Facebook page saying that it disagreed with having Boeng Tamouk lake developed because it is Phnom Penh’s last large lake.
“The GDP does not support having Boeng Tamouk, the last large natural lake, filled to develop a vegetable market,” the post said. “To keep it as the last natural lake is an important part of the city’s management for beauty and welfare of the residents in Phnom Penh.”
The project, which will see 20 hectares around the lake developed to host the market, has already been endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to the letter issued on August 2 by the Council Ministers.
“The Office of the Council Ministers would like to inform that the Royal Government has already approved in principle the development of 20 hectares of land in Boeng Tamouk lake to build a market for the supply of vegetables and fruits, complete with parking space,” it said. “We will relocate the vegetable market at Doeum Kor market to the new location in Boeng Tamouk lake.”
Boeung Tamouk lake, also known as Tumnup Kobsrov, is about 15 kilometres away from the city centre. It is one of the last lakes in Phnom Penh relatively unaffected by development, according to a Cambodian Urban NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday defended the project, saying that not all of sprawling Boeng Tamouk lake will be filled.
He added that a new market at Boeng Tamouk lake will become a tourist attraction site like in Thailand.
“Other parties usually find negative points to challenge with the ruling party, but we want to inform the public that we have already weighed in on both loss and benefit,” Mr Siphan said. “The development at Boeng Tamouk lake is to build a centre for supplying fresh vegetables to enhance quality of our Cambodian products because we have not yet had a centre for fresh vegetables.”
In a press conference on Friday, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Nuon Pharath said that the City Hall doesn’t plan to relocate Doeum Kor market.
Mr Phararth said that the vendors have nothing to worry about because the existing market will stay where it is and the City Hall will build a new market at a new location.
“Phnom Penh should have a proper market to supply vegetable and fruit as a wholesale market,” Mr Pharath said. “Because there is no large wholesale market around, Doeum Kor suppliers must use the boulevard, and adjacent roads and sidewalks to unload.”
He said that it causes traffic congestion, waste management problems, as well as environmental and hygienic issues, noting that taxi drivers also park their cars on and along the road and use the sidewalk for their business.
City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said the GDP’s claim that all of Boeng Tamouk lake would be filled was unfounded.
GDP secretary-general Sam Inn declined to comment while GDP committee chief Yang Saing Koma could not be reached for comment yesterday.