The Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced that all illegal structures which have been constructed on public land at Poy Yeami and Tabarang beaches in Keo Phos commune’s Ruessei II village of Stung Hav district must be dismantled by February 28.

In their recent notice, the provincial administration said: “Anyone who does not dismantle the buildings or structures they have erected there will face disciplinary and legal action. We will not offer any compensation for any damage to materials or loss of property that comes as a result of non-compliance with these instructions.”

The notice said that some people who are living and doing business there are occupying public pavements and that their activities have a detrimental impact on the environment, sanitation, public order and beauty of the beaches.

Stung Hav district governor Chhay Sokunda told The Post that district authorities had previously informed the people who have businesses in that area that it was not lawful but they did not cooperate.

This led to the district authorities asking for permission from the provincial administration to once again issue a warning to them.

“Vendors with kiosks are okay, but not concrete structures with accommodations. These facilities cannot be allowed.

“We are now informing people that they must dismantle them so that we can manage and protect the beaches properly. People cannot encroach on the beaches without it leading to difficulties in developing them later.

“If we don’t take action within a year the beaches will be crowded with construction. Now, we don’t have enough funds yet for development of the area.

“But we need to protect the beaches and maintain legal control over them so that later when we have a development budget there isn’t a land controversy preventing us from going forward there,” he said.

Sokunda added that at least two families had built concrete structures but he was not sure how many stalls were there.

Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, supported the move but called on the authorities to demarcate which coastal areas are to be kept clear for tourists and which areas the vendors are allowed to operate in to avoid future conflicts. She was also worried about the environmental impact from dismantling the structures.

“I’ve seen in the past that after structures were dismantled people would [then] dispose of their rubbish all over the place. So, if we allow them to sell items there then they should take part in cleaning it up,” she said.