As the deadline passed on Monday for Battambang residents to remove advertising and billboards from buildings as part of conservation work, authorities said they do not know what the next steps are for those who have failed to comply.
Battambang authorities have required citizens in the provincial town to remove the billboards and advertising signs as part of efforts to innovate and conserve its heritage, while promoting the aesthetics of the city to compete for the title of ASEAN CLEAN CITY.
In an announcement dated July 25, Battambang City Administration said home and business owners who live in Svay Por district remove front yard roofs and all types of advertisement banners, from July 25 until August 1, 2022.
In the case that a homeowner or business owner does not comply with the notice, the municipal administration will dismantle or confiscate them. The law is in force and the administration has no responsibility for all damages and losses, the announcement said.
Moul Thun, Battambang Provincial Administration Director, said on Monday that they are still in the process of calculating the total number of branding banners and balconies that have been removed.
“We have just started to announce the removal and we have not taken any action yet,” he said.
“We have the construction models for them to reconstruct in a new way. Therefore, after they finish the removal, they can start to reconstruct following the new samples that the province has provided.”
He said that Battambang has been inscribed as a UNESCO heritage site and authorities want it to compete in the upcoming ASEAN CLEAN CITY competition in October and November.
“It is important to innovate the beauty of the city without advertisement banners and front yard roofs at the place,” he added.
“Most of the citizens there agree and are satisfied to remove all of those banners, while there are some small groups who disagree to do so,” he said, adding that citizens have to pay for removals.
Citizens will reconstruct their front porches as provided by the authorities at a cost of between $450 and $600, the city said on its Facebook page.
Soeng Sen Karuna, spokesman at local rights group Adhoc, said authorities should delay the removals so citizens have enough time, urging authorities not to punish them.
“There should be actions to explain and discuss between people to find out the reasons why they cannot remove all of those things,” he said.
“It is because it is destroying or affecting their individual personal property. We should try to find a better solution through negotiation rather than punishment by law that can lead to argument.”