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Issues confront proposal to make Vihear Sour provincial capital

A statue at Takhmao city, which could become part of Phnom Penh city should the relocation of Kandal’s provincial capital go ahead.
A statue at Takhmao city, which could become part of Phnom Penh city should the relocation of Kandal’s provincial capital go ahead. Hong Menea

Issues confront proposal to make Vihear Sour provincial capital

Sky Land – a real estate joint venture between local Jet’s Group and India-based STAR5 Development Pvt. Ltd. – is planning a proposition imploring the government to relocate Kandal province’s administration buildings to Vihear Sour commune in the Ksach Kandal district in the near future.

Srey Chanthorn, CEO of Sky Land, said last week that he planned to assist the government in building various administration buildings before suggesting to the government to move the provincial capital hall of Kandal to Sky Land’s own land in Vihear Sour.

The suggestion, however, is not expected to commence any time soon, owing to a massive required capital outlay and several more investment partners who have not quite stepped up to the plate.

“The project is still currently in the planning process, but I really do have this objective in mind, because of the close proximity of the current provincial capital Kandal to Phnom Penh,” Chanthorn noted. He added, “The project needs a lot more time, and I’m hoping that the government will assent to our plan and encourage us.”

Presently, Sky Land is investing in a 7,000-hectare land with the intention of developing it into a satellite city named “Baitong” (Khmer for ‘green’), which is to be divided into commercial zones of housing, factory, and resorts.

Within Baitong, there will also be condominiums and sports facilities with the likes of car race tracks, motorbike race tracks, a soccer field, and equine tracks for horse races.

Chrek Soknim, CEO of Century 21 Mekong, said in the event that Kandal’s provincial capital hall is relocated to Vihear Sour, it is possible that Takhmao city would also be included as part of Phnom Penh city, too, since there are many intertwining roads between both areas.

He explained, “If a bridge from Phnom Penh or Kandal province can be built to connect to Areyksat area, then perhaps the relocation of the provincial capital hall to Vihear Sour is possible. However, the project requires a lot of time since the [proposed] new location is not very developed.”

Kim Heang, president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), expressed that the project was too big, deeming it an impossible venture. In addition to requiring an enormous budget, there would also be conflicts of interests among property developers, residents, and the government.

“Would the relocation be beneficial, or is it even essential? The organisation of the new location needs a lot of time because it requires a sufficient amount of infrastructure development such as water, electricity, bridges, roads, schools, and hospitals.”

Whereas Heang admits that it would be a good idea for the relocation to occur because Vihear Sour has a lot of space waiting to be developed, the lack of roads leading to the commune proves most problematic. “If a bridge is built to connect to the area, that would be exceptional,” he suggested.

Vann Vat, an independent urbanisation expert and head deputy of Kandal’s Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction bureau, noted that if the company truly wanted to ensure the execution and success of the project, it needed to consult an official from Takhmao city hall.

“Kandal is a big province, therefore the expansion of the provincial capital itself or the relocation of it is essential, because at present, the provincial capital is only 3,000 hectares big with a population of 74,000.”

“If the developers in Vihear Sour want to establish a new provincial capital there, they should consider the possibility of developing a second provincial capital dependent upon Kandal province; because this can increase the province’s attractive qualities, and also warrant further development.”

Mao Phearun, governor of Kandal province, could not be contacted for further clarification.

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