Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Billboards spell end to riverside's rustic charms



Billboards spell end to riverside's rustic charms

Billboards spell end to riverside's rustic charms

THE RURAL view that Phnom Penh riverside strollers and restaurant-goers see

across the Tonle Sap will soon be a thing of the past.

In a move seen by

some as visual pollution of the environment, the OMC Company Ltd, which has the

Cambodia franchises for Suzuki and Sharp, is erecting two large billboards on

the Chruoy Changvar bank of the Tonle Sap to advertise its products.

The

billboards, on iron frames each 20 meters long and nine meters high, will block

the view of the village just north of Wat Saempou Trei Lak opposite Wat

Ounalom.

They have been built near the dry-season bank of the Tonle Sap,

and when the river is in flood will be 200 meters from the rainy-season

bank.

But there is confusion at City Hall over just who has approved the

billboard construction.

When the Post asked Phnom Penh Municipal Governor

Chea Sophara about their construction, he said OMC had permission only for the

temporary hoardings displayed for the three days of the Water Festival, and

denied they had permission for permanent billboards.

"They asked us to do

this, but those boards were only permitted for the Water Festival and are not

permanent," he said.

However Non Sameth, Deputy Chief of Cabinet of Phnom

Penh, said the city had indeed given OMC permission to build permanent

billboards and maintain them on a year-by-year contract, because the Phnom Penh

Municipality wanted to hide the squatter houses next to Wat Trei

Lak.

When the Post suggested that some people regarded the billboards as

visual pollution, Sameth said: "We understand the [visual] pollution; we already

think ahead about this. But we also want to hide the squatters at the

back."

He said only one company had asked permission to build

hoardings.

And he said the billboards would be removed eventually when

the city proceeded with its plans to develop the riverbank of the Chruoy

Changvar peninsula.

OMC's Administration Manager, Chhon Song Meng, agreed

that the billboards were permanent constructions but denied that the view of the

river would be adversely affected. That would happen only if other companies put

up more billboards, he said.

At the worksite itself, a construction

worker was more forthcoming. He said OMC had permission from the City Fathers to

maintain the billboards for three years. The Royal Palace had stipulated that no

hoardings could be built any further south than the two now built, but it was

conceivable that a line of billboards could run from these two all the way to

the Chrouy Changvar bridge.

He said that the frames were nine meters high

because when the river was in flood the first three meters would be under

water.

One indignant inhabitant of Sisowath Quay said the view across the

Tonle Sap was unique, perhaps the only capital city in the world where

inhabitants and tourists could look across the river at a charming rural

view.

By allowing the billboards, presumably for a few quick dollars, the

city was destroying that view.

"It's an exercise in vulgarity," he said.

"What is now unique will be rendered banal by day and a floodlit affront at

night."

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said

  • More than 5K workers rush from Thailand amid outbreak

    Following the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon province, Cambodian migrants working in Thailand were gripped by worry over the situation and many rushed to return to their homeland. Over the past 10 days, more than 5,000 migrant workers have returned from Thailand through