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Trouble in North Bali and Tulamben

North Bali Residents Complain of Growing Subservient Role in Their Ancestral Lands.

(11/29/2004) The Chairman of the Tourism Development Forum for Tulamben, I Madè Kusumajaya, complained last week that most hotels and tourist attraction in the north Bali sub-district of Tulamben were owned by foreigners, saying that "local partners" who operated as "fronts" posing as "owners" while they are in fact employees.

Mr. Kusumajaya's comments were made at zoning hearings held in Karangasem on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 and reported in the Indonesian-language Bali Post.

Admitting that local residents lack the capital necessary to develop tourism businesses, he called on the regional government to take steps to preserve the quality of the area and prevent the local population from becoming second-class citizens in their ancestral lands.

Illegal Buildings on the Beach

Pointing to Candi Dasa as an example of the kind of uncontrolled tourism development that must be avoided in north Bali, Kusumajaya lamented the increasing number of hotels and resorts are failing to honor the set-back codes for beach side construction, with many building structures as little as 15 meters from the shore line.

In addition to the problem of north Bali tourism projects being built too close to the beach and in violation of existing set-back regulations, many projects are also in violation of other construction codes including stipulations on open space to land ratios. This, according to Mr. Kusumajaya, has resulted in overcrowded, unattractive tourist sites.

Under local law, shore areas – considered sacred by the Balinese and often used for religious ceremonies – are exempt from private ownership and must accessible to the public. As a result, an island wide prohibition exists outlawing the building of any permanent structures closer than 50 meters from the shore line.