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Crackdown on Bali's Beach Builders

Jembrana Regional Parliament Questions Villas Built Less than 100 Meters From High Water Mark.

(4/25/2005) The construction of a villa in the Pengeragoan area of Jambrana has drawn the ire and intense scrutiny of the regional parliament of Jambrana. As reported in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, local lawmakers have queried the building of Vila Kalinka which stands only 60 meters from the shoreline and is apparently being built without the required building permits.

The 100-meter No-Build Zone

Bali Provincial Law No. 4 of 1999 specifically forbid construction anywhere within 100 meters of the high-tide mark. The 1999 island-wide rule outlawing construction in close proximity to the beach reflects local desires to maintain free access to Bali's seafront for local enjoyment and Bali-Hindu religious practice.

Iskandar Alfan, Secretary of Commission C of the Jembrana regional parliament has called on the contractor of the Villa to stop construction until all the necessary building permits are in hand.

A Double Standard

Meanwhile, I Nyoman Yudi Wartono, from Regional Parliament Commission B, decried the double standard employed by the Government in the enforcement of seaside construction. According to Wartono, officials waste no time in evicting locals who build or operate small businesses within the 100-meter no-build zone, but readily grant exemptions to villa and hotel operators.

Iskandar supported Wartono's view, saying the only valid basis for granting exemptions in the no-build zone is on the basis of "public interest." He questioned how any private villa's construction reasonably qualified as serving the "public interest."

According the the Bali Post, local field officials from the Jembrana region have responded to the lawmaker's criticism by ordering a halt to construction until all the required permits are in hand.

Widespread Practice

Construction of villas and hotels permanent in the 100-meter no-build zone can be found in a number of areas around the island, with some villa owners erecting permanent structures with foundation walls stranding on the sea wall in blatant violation of local laws and custom.