More than 100 families living on Street 200 in Sihanoukville submitted a petition to provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun on Monday seeking his intervention after it was announced that the street would be widened to between 30m and 40m.
The families’ representative, Un Sokha, told The Post on Monday that the petition was submitted to the provincial hall on Monday afternoon.
He said many people living on both sides of the street, which is located in Commune 4’s Village 4, are worried the street expansion will damage their houses. It is now only about 7-8m wide, Sokha said.
“Right now, more than 100 families are standing in front of the provincial hall to submit a letter asking provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun to intervene and ensure that when the road is remodelled it keeps its current size,” he said.
Sokha said his family has been living in an approximately 8m by 15m house on Street 200 for two or three decades.
“The plan to expand the street is huge. It will impact all the houses on both sides of the street and also the hospital wall,” he said.
Sokha said house owners on Street 200 have leased their houses to Chinese nationals and borrowed money from banks.
“The expansion of Street 200 will impact their properties. The tenants will demand their money back and it will be difficult to get a loan from the bank,” he said.
On Thursday, Sihanoukville authorities issued an announcement informing all organisations and residents on Street 200 that to develop the area, the Preah Sihanouk provincial authority planned to expand the street to a width of 30m to 40m.
“Residents who own any buildings that were erected on a public space, please kindly dismantle those structures within seven days, from July 19 to 25, to allow the team to expand the road as mentioned in the master plan,” the announcement said.
It said if people did not comply with the order, the city administration would take strict action by demolishing the buildings without paying any compensation.
Sihanoukville governor Y Sokleng told The Post on Monday that Street 200 had been included in the master plan since the beginning.
He said people had come to build houses on the side of the public street a long time ago, even before he was appointed as city governor.
“The question is when the authority will develop the street. I don’t know to what extent the authority can adhere to the master plan.
“The development is not set in stone. The provincial governor’s guidance is to avoid any development that hurts local people,” he said.
Provincial Hall spokesman Kheang Phearum told The Post on Monday that the governor would meet with local people to address the issue at 2pm on Tuesday.
Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, told The Post on Monday that villagers came to live on Street 200 many years ago and most of them work at Preah Sihanouk Province Referral Hospital.
“The current width of the street is about 7m. If the street is expanded to 30m or 40m, the houses will be lost or damaged,” she said.