Vendors along O’Chheuteal Beach yesterday protested against a new Preah Sihanouk provincial project that requires them to build new stalls – set back from their current ones – before the Sea Festival starts on December 17, in order to expand the beach area for tourists.
Vendor Yu Vesna, 37, said provincial authorities gave them a deadline to transfer to their new stalls before the festivities.
Under the project, part of an ongoing effort to regulate local beaches, vendors can build new stalls measuring 8 metres by 20 metres. If vendors don’t begin to transfer to their new stalls by November, authorities will take measures to dismantle their current stalls, Vesna said.
However, he added, “Two months to complete the construction is too quick for us.”
Preah Sihanouk Deputy Governor Chhin Seng Nguon said the improvements were required in order to expand the beach area by 10 metres. Currently, the beach is 40 metres wide and 2,000 metres long.
“That will make it easier for the tourists to visit and stroll happily on the beach,” he said. He added that the work shouldn’t disrupt the vendors’ businesses. “They can simultaneously sell and construct the new stalls,” he said.
Vendor Kry Navoeun, 49, said a group of 46 vendors unanimously agreed to ask provincial authorities to prolong the grace period until early 2018 so they could save money to build the new stalls. Seng Nguon said it would be up to national authorities to decide on the request.