The national government has spent more than $3.4 million on infrastructure in the capital in the first seven months of the year – not including money spent on sewage upgrades and municipal building and bridge maintenance.
Phnom Penh Municipal spokesman Met Measpheakdey told Post Property that public planning and construction within the city is built into City Hall’s budget.
This budget calls for the renovation of areas like the Royal Palace’s garden and some other landmarks around the city, which have been revised and developed according to the blueprints of national development.
“In the plan, we have identified the exact location and timetable for upgrading old sites and new developments, and preparing new infrastructure such as park preparation, new road construction, broken road repair and sewage disposal,” he said.
“There are a lot of places in Phnom Penh and in the provinces that are decorated every year, like the Royal Palace, which recently renovated the garden and extended the walkway to make it easier for pedestrians to travel,” he said.
Measpheakdey did not know the exact budget for such expenses, and Ministry of Public Works and Transport Director Sam Piseth could not be reached.
“We always have a yearly plan for city development in the national budget of the Royal Government, not only in Phnom Penh, but also in all the provinces in the country,” Measpheakday said.
Ho Vandy, president of the travel agency World Express Tour, said the government should be investing in green spaces and in improved infrastructure. “Our advocacy of green location is for everybody’s benefit, such as leaders, professionals, project executives and all citizens,” he said.
This, he said, is for both physical and mental health, which is affected bygood infrastructure, cleanliness and hygiene.
The governemnt has had in place a National Policy on National Development since 2007, which is the blueprint for carrying out infrastructure development and has led to the development and renovation of parks like the one in front of the Royal Palace, Canadia park, Wat Phnom and so forth.
“The construction of the park, improving infrastructure and traffic management attracts tourists to the city,” Vandy said. “As the population grows, City Hall needs to take strict measures to enforce the rule of law on trash and commit to clearing rubbish at a reasonable price for the people. “
If this doesn’t happen, he said, it will have a negative effect on people and the environment.
Sok Lak, a city resident and co-founder of Scholar Library, said that the construction, infrastructure and public services in Phnom Penh were a response to the increasing number of migrants living in the city, with some areas still lacking.
“We see that many aspects of the infrastructure improves such as the expansion of roads, parks, recreation facilities in key areas, and public services, such as public buses, but there is a lack of green space so that people have the opportunity to absorb clean air in the city,” he said.
Main areas at public attractions have suitable facilities, while much of the rest of the city in lacking in public space.
“I understand that experts as well as stakeholders should take into account the sustainability of the public services in the city while the economy continues to grow steadily,” he added.
In the neighbourhoods of Olympic and Kampuchea Krom, for example, Lak observes that there are high-rise buildings that don’t accomodate for green areas. City Hall should make sure the city is vibrant as the economy and population grows, he said.
“People should participate in identifying social issues on the lack of infrastructure like waste disposal, the sewage system, public services and sustainable development so that they can know and contribute to educating people in the city,” he added.