Will Chiang Mai Get its Green Spaces – Trying…again…to clean-up Kanchanapisek Park

 | Thu 29 Aug 2013 10:56 ICT

CityNews – On 28th August the Chiang Mai Mayor Tadsanai Buranupakorn and officers went to Kanchanapisek Park to discuss restoration of the area. It wasn’t for the first time.

Mayor on his visit just recently

The mayor has promised, again, that the park will be cleaned up by the end of the year.

Political promises in Chiang Mai the public is well aware of often carry less weight than a handful of hot-air. Anyone who has been following CityNews and following the progress of the park knows that you might call this place a ‘conflict area’. The conflict being between mayoral pledges and the truth.

Here CityNews reported how the park had been abandoned after promises had been made to restore the once scenic area, and here we reported how local monks, and environmentalists from Gum Hak Doi Suthep got together a year ago to help clean up the park after it had been forgotten by the city. In perhaps the least noble of the city’s pledges here we reported more than a year ago how more ‘green spaces’ were going to be created in Chiang Mai, including a full makeover for this park where nothing has so far happened. 

If anything the only reliable pledge is that of investors to make more ‘concrete spaces’.

Ricky Ward with monks maintaining the park in 2012

Talking to Ricky Ward of Gum Hak Doi Suthep he explained, “This issue appears to be complicated by the fact of a long running dispute between the council and a private firm to renovate, it appears, all the parks under the control of the city with the exception of Suan Bok Haad.”

We are actually robbed of our green spaces, says Ward, for the reason it seems that are so typical of Chiang Mai. Bad workmanship, unfulfilled contractual promises, and perhaps loss of face:

“This dispute saw the public locked out of 3 parks for years, with the council claiming that opening the parks would be tantamount to their accepting the shoddy and incomplete work done by the firm. In the case of Kanchana Pisek Park it appears no work was ever done by the contractor, so when a council officer informed us that they could do no maintenance there because of this dispute we were skeptical.”

Ward goes on to say emphatically that when his group of volunteers cleaned the park, along with other locals in the city giving up their time to do something for the rest of us, their efforts were scorned.

“We cleaned up rubbish which was placed on the car park entrance concrete with a request that the municipality take it away,” explains Ward, “However, they contemptuously bulldozed it back into the park. Now they are bulldozing it up again to take away.”

In June concerned citizens of Chiang Mai delivered the following letter to the Mayor’s office and followed it up twice to ask for a response, Ward explains, and he adds we are seeing the Mayor’s response in action.

Ward ends by saying:

“Much is made in public meetings around town about the need to work together – community & government. Clearly though the present management of Chiang Mai has no interest in putting these words into action.”

Mayor in April 2012 when he pledged more ‘green spaces’ – the park did not get a makeover as was promised

The letter to the Mayor:

To Mayor : Tessanai Buranapakorn,

    City of Chiang Mai,


Dear Sir,


Subject : Kanchanapisek Park


I write on behalf of the members of Gum Hak Doi Suthep to invite you to visit  the park  together with members of our group to assess the present situation and discuss how best we can cooperate to improve the park.


You may recall that last year at a meeting I informed that we have been doing some tending of the park including planting trees as well as removal of rubbish and control of weeds.


We have concentrated on the eastern side of the park and the trees we planted are mostly growing well and the most rank and tall weeds are largely under control.


Exceptions to this are at the north west corner, where tall grass grows amongst the large accumulation of rubbish there, along the open sewer which divides the park where rank grows on the bank and practically all the Western side of the park, including the car park at the southern end.


As well as problems of weed growth and rubbish there is encroachment on the open space with new buildings and also a small amount of vandalism of trees.


I have enclosed some photos to help explain the situation as follows :


1. Some members of our small volunteer  team following cleaning of the entrance way to Thaksin Way, beside the Mae Kha Canal in Chang Klan


2. A destitute old man lived in a shack next to the disused toilet block. He is gone now and the shack and tumbledown out house need to be removed


3. There are 2 ornamental bridges in the park and at the southern end on the eastern side trees planted in 2011 and 2012 are growing well while weeding along the stream bank is necessary


4. In Mahidol Rd the building next to this footbridge has been renovated but no allowance is made for pedestrians to walk south of the bridge stairway


5. At the northern end we have attached notices to deter rubbish dumping and damage of trees in the park, Also labels have been attached to many young trees giving their local and scientific names together with the inscription on photo 6 in small print


6. Help care for the trees sign


7. A composite picture taken behind the newly renovated motor cycle and car sales place.


8. A Panorama taken by the southern entrance to the car park. Rubbish is everywhere, tall rank grass dominates and illegal building appears to encroach on the public space.


There are other issues we can see and discuss, for example repair of the salas and toilet, removal of obtruding remnants of an unnecessary watering system and a grass and weed management strategy.


Please advise me when a time it would be convenient to arrange a visit,


Yours for a greener Chiang Mai


Ricky Ward

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