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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Aborted Cambodian 'eco resort' leaves nothing but cleared land

Eco resort project near a remote waterfall is dumped by developers and now looks like being anything but environmentally friendly

An eco resort in Cambodia, construction of which involved the removal of swaths of trees and the building of a road in forest land, has been cancelled, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

The Sar Lar Investment company had already spent US$2 million of the total projected US$6 million project budget clearing forest and constructing a road to develop the Bou Sra Waterfall Eco Resort in Mondulkiri province, Cambodia, before pulling out of the project because of "capital concerns," the paper reported.

One of the largest waterfalls in Cambodia, the Bou Sra site is popular with tourists and has seen an increase in visitors over the last year, but the area only has one guest house and various stores. Located in the country's south east, the site is about a 45 minute drive from the city of Sen Monorom, around 400 km from the capital Phnom Penh.

Mann Sinoeun, chief of the cancelled eco resort and representative of the Sar Lar Investment Co, was quoted in the Phnom Penh Post as saying, “We decided to stop the project investment on March 20 because the housing development business of Okhna Sar Lar in Phnom Penh cannot sell anything. That is why we don’t have enough of a budget to continue the project,” he said

“We have already completed a garden and a set of stairs down to the Bou Sra waterfall from the top,” Sinoeun added.

For now, the Mondulkiri Tourism Department will take care of the site until another investor comes along. As for when that will be, it is unclear. It is also uncertain how much of the forest has been cut down, and what will happen to that land if no new investors are found.
Earlier problems

Back in October of 2009, there was concern by Mondulkiri Tourism Department Director Ngin Sovimean, that the construction was going too slowly as only the garden and stairs were being worked on at the time. Regardless, Sovimean said, "I think that the company is committed to fulfilling this project."

Cambodia.com made mention of the planned resort before it was cancelled, saying Sar Lar Investment Co "has assured nearby villagers that the five-year project will not be disruptive to the environment as no forests are to be cut down for the development. Instead, Sar Lar hopes to make it an ecotourist undertaking which will create around 100 jobs for the ethnic minorities."
The Mondulkiri Tourism Department could not be reached for comment.

Read more: Aborted Cambodian 'eco resort' leaves nothing but cleared land | CNNGo.com http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/none/clearing-forests-failed-ecotourism-resort-548724#ixzz0mK8uTUu8

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