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Life’s a Beach

Balinese Seeking a Beachhead on the Island of their Birth

Bali News: 

Bali, Indonesia, zoning, public beaches, surfing, uncontrolled development
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The Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) ran an article “Beaches are closed to public and surfers, sorry!” in its October 16, 2013 edition underlining the increasing problem of Bali’s disappearing shorelines, illegally commandeered and usurped by villa and resort developers.

Despite zoning laws that principally keep beaches open to public use, many tourist-related facilities manage to exert hegemony over adjacent beachfronts, barring the public and the Balinese from lawful access.

Making the problem socially acute, a number of traditional Balinese rituals and celebrations include elements that must be performed on the edge of the sea, are chased away by security teams of hotel and villas who find Balinese culture a bother and an inconvenience.

Wayan Rasna a professional surfer from Jimbaran said he and his fellow villagers are now banned from using public beaches in front of hotels.

At a recent conference held in Ketewel in Bali, Rasna said that the next generations of aspiring Balinese surfers are encountering difficulties to practice as hotels and villas prohibit their access to the beach. Said Rasna: “These hotels and villas have been built along the coastline and have closed almost every access to the public. We have to use a very narrow alley between hotels or villas if we want to access the beach.”

He cited the loss of public beaches as happening on Bali's favorite beaches, including Jimbaran, Uluwatu and Dreamland. Balinese surfers and local villagers seeking to perform purification ceremonies are now told to stay off beaches that both the law and ancestral tradition mandates should be open to all.

Continuing, Rasna also said: “Fishermen find almost no space to moor their boats along these beaches.”

He bemoaned a failure of authorities to enforce zoning laws and set back rules as leading to the diminishing area of public beaches in Bali.

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