‘Benchakitti not a golf course’, says Bangkok governor as park trees wilt

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https://www.nationthailand.com/thailand/general/40024074

‘Benchakitti not a golf course’, says Bangkok governor as park trees wilt

‘Benchakitti not a golf course’, says Bangkok governor as park trees wilt

TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2023

Bangkok has not abandoned its duty to take care of Benchakitti Forest Park, said governor Chadchart Sittipunt on Monday, responding to public complaints of trees wilting in the park.

Photos shared widely on social media show several trees drooping in the 300-rai public park in Klong Toei district, indicating a lack of watering and proper care.

On Sunday, the Facebook page “Benchakitti Forest Park” posted photos of water trucks manned by volunteer soldiers spraying the park’s trees. The posts prompted netizens to ask why the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) was not doing its job of taking care of the park.

On Monday, Chadchart responded by saying park maintenance had been outsourced.

“We hired a private company to take care of Benchakitti Park since it also serves a learning centre and therefore has a complex design,” Chadchart said. “Taking care of such a delicate public park is different from maintaining a golf course, where grass and trees can stay green all year long.”

‘Benchakitti not a golf course’, says Bangkok governor as park trees wilt

The governor added that BMA officials have been working with the Army’s Maintenance Engineering Department, which built the park, to come up with short- and long-term plans to procure sustainable water sources for plants in the park, especially during drought.

“The BMA is taking care of all the parks in Bangkok equally. Benchakitti Park is relatively new and there are some aspects about it that we have to learn from the designer and constructor as we continue working on it,” he said.

Chadchart added that several agencies have been participating in taking care of the park, including the BMA’s drainage and environment office, the Treasury Department which owns the land, and private partners who have been tasked with inspecting the park’s equipment and water quality of its lake.

“Thank you for your concern about the park. The BMA is doing the best we can to complete all the [park-related] projects that we have planned,” he said.

Benchakitti Park officially opened in 2004 on land formerly owned by the Tobacco Authority of Thailand to honour Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on her 72nd birthday. The park is situated next to the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre and is connected to Bangkok’s other large park, Lumphini, by a 1.3km-long elevated pedestrian walkway and bicycle trail at the southwest corner. Benchakitti was expanded as a forest park last year and now incorporates wetlands, cycle paths, overhead walkways and a bicycle trail.

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