YCDC re­claims land from Sule Shangri-La

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - MYAT NYEIN AYE my­at­nyeinaye@mm­times.com – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Steve Gil­more

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.”

Photo: Aung Myin Ye Zaw

Work­ers de­mol­ish a stone sign out­side the front of the Sule Shangri-La ho­tel in down­town Yan­gon.

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