YCDC reclaims land from Sule Shangri-La
The municipal authority has told the hotel to dismantle and vacate a car park and signage area in front of its entrance.
YANGON City Development Committee has told the Sule Shangri-La hotel to dismantle and vacate a car park and signage area in front of its entrance as part of an effort to stop private buildings from encroaching on public land.
Under previous governments, YCDC collected taxes from hotels and other businesses that used public land for their private use, according to U Aye Ko, a spokesperson for the committee’s Department of Engineering. Two years ago YCDC stopped collecting these taxes, but continued to allow many buildings the use of public space, he added.
In the case of Sule Shangri-La, the area in front of the hotel now used for private parking and entrance features is public land on which YCDC wants to build a two-lane inner road for public traffic.
“We’ve ordered them to finish [vacating the space] and YCDC will start building the road within a month,” said U Aye Ko. “Once the road is done it will be easier for people to walk and traffic will improve.”
Helene Acuna, communications manager for Sule ShangriLa, said that the hotel is “working with YCDC to improve traffic flow in the area”. On the issue of paying tax to YCDC for the use of public space, Ms Acuna said that “the hotel has always paid any invoices received from YCDC”.
She did not comment on the extent of the changes Sule Shangri-La would be required to make.
Yangon Region MP Daw Kyi Pyar (NLD; Kyauktada 1) said members of parliament had raised the issue of private entities using public space in a recent meeting of parliament.
“When we met with YCDC to discuss this they said that in the past they had not wanted to allow private entities to use public space, but that there was often pressure from sources like related ministries,” she said.
Daw Kyi Pyar said the issue was also raised at a Yangon Region parliament meeting, where mayor U Maung Maung Soe was made aware of the problem, which gave her hope that something might be done.
“YCDC shouldn’t collect [such taxes] and shouldn’t give public space to private businesses,” she said. “This is one way of reducing traffic jams. There are very rarely public spaces for people to walk on in downtown.”
Workers demolish a stone sign outside the front of the Sule Shangri-La hotel in downtown Yangon.