Chreav commune authorities in Siem Reap town will excavate an ancient pond known as Trapeang Hae Phka in Bos Kralanh village for preservation to attract tourists and create jobs or businesses for residents.

Commune chief Ka Ob Ron said on October 11 that the pond covers about 6ha and will be dug to a depth of 3m. The soil dug from the pond will be placed around the banks.

He said the pond had dried up and the restoration is to preserve it and prevent encroachment. It will also create jobs for locals as there are recreational places to attract tourists and set up businesses.

“We want it to become a clean resort with a garden and a place for people to sell items so they can make money for their livelihoods. If we leave the pond as it is, it seems useless and there would be encroachment by people. This is my request to the Apsara National Authority [ANA].”

However, he said some residents were unhappy with the restoration work and protested to authorities about the excavation machinery. The people dissatisfied with the development were individuals who had encroached on it.

“There are ringleaders who collected fingerprints from about 300 people. They applied for intervention at the provincial hall. But because the provincial side was busy with the Covid-19 issue, so the complaint is yet to be resolved,” he said.

The restoration of the pond was permitted by the provincial administration and the ANA, an institution tasked with managing the Angkor Archaeological Park.

Provincial deputy governor Ly Samrith said on October 11 that he was unfamiliar with the situation.

ANA spokesman Long Kosal said the authority had permitted them in principle to restore the pond, but excavation and the cost were the responsibility of commune authorities as they had made the request. The ANA only provided technical assistance and archaeological excavation work.