Tens of residents from a local banjar gathered outside the Outrigger O-C-En Hotel on Legian Beach to protest the felling of mature trees providing shade to the shore side.
Quoted in the Indonesian-language DenPost, a local resident complained: "The camplung (Editor: Calophyllum inophyllum) trees are decades old. Is it that easy to cut them down? In fact, they serve a function of providing shade." DenPost reports that the camplung trees stood in an area being prepared for a pond at the Outrigger.
Local villagers joining the protest also called into question the close proximity of the Outrigger O-C-En to the public right-of-way, suggesting the building is not in compliance with local "set-back" laws.
Maxy Mailenzun, a representative of Outrigger O-C-En, received the delegation of Legian residents and told the demonstrators that the removal of the trees was included as part of the building permit granted to the project by municipal authorities.
In response, however, the Head of Badung's Parks Department (DKP)responded, adamantly denying that his office issued the necessary permits to removed the trees at the front of the Outrigger O-C-En. The official, I Wayan Suteja, told DenPost that permits from the Hotel seeking to fell the trees had been rejected by his office who had, in turn, suggested the hotel discuss their desire to clear trees with the surrounding village community.
Following the meeting between the Apartment-hotel and local residents, DenPost reports that a five-point written agreement was drafted providing:
▪ That the hotel will not cut down or kill through any other means protective cover trees on their property.
▪ Compensation will be paid to the community for the trees already removed.
▪ The Hotel must make a commitment to preserve and protect the local environment.
▪ That the Hotel will not cut more trees, changing design plans if necessary to avoid further fellings.
▪ If any part of the hotel-apartment project infringes on lands not owned by Outrigger O-C-En, such construction will not proceed.
Meanwhile, members of the local House of Representatives have indicated they will enquire further after into whether the Hotel helds the necessary permits to cut trees.
The Controversy Widens
Protests over the Outrigger O-C-En's alleged unauthorized removal of trees fronting their property has prompted the local village chief (klien) of Suka Duka Pekandelan Banjar in Legian to publicly question all the permits held to construct the property.
Speaking to DenPost, Rutha Ady, who is also the former Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) for Badung, called on the technical department of the local government to disclose what permits had been issued in connection with the Outrigger O-C-En . Ady said that the very modern design of the Outrigger O-C-En appeared to have ignored local rules stipulating Balinese architectural values in new constructions.
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