A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16.

The new pedestrianised area is named “Kaongkang Sang Sne” – mangrove trees – with Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara intending for the hardy plant to be planted alongside.

Rasmey said that as the canal in Siem Reap’s Svay Dangkum district had negatively impacted the welfare of residents, the ministry came up with the idea of converting it into a promenade as a new recreational space for the town.

It will improve the environment and enhance the welfare of those living nearby, he added, with it the first instance of the ministry converting a drainage canal into a promenade for people to walk along.

The project was made possible after Rasmey witnessed such development in Japan, with it something he felt Cambodia could learn from, he said, adding that he expected further conversions to be carried out in other areas.

“In terms of urbanisation, progress has been made in line with the economic growth of the nation, but there remain some parts of town, such as wastewater canals, that should be upgraded to improve the environment,” he said.

The 5x630m canal runs from National Road 6 in front of Sokha Angkor Resort to Tep Vong Street.

Tuon Somethea, a local resident who lives nearby, expressed delight at the new promenade, saying his children would be able to play safely in the area.