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Government Calls Temporary Halt to Pecatu Golf Project

Community Expresses Concern Over 18-Hole Golf Course Being Constructed on Uluwatu Peninsula.

(10/14/2006) Following page-one coverage in the Bali press and growing protests from the public, a team of Badung government officials swooped down on the Bali Pecatu Graha Golf Course (BPG) project on Thursday, October 12, 2006, and ordered developers to cease all work until the necessary permits are in hand.

In their defense, the BPG developers claim that the basic permits and environmental studies required by law were in hand, dating from 1995 during the reign of IB Oka as Governor. Since that period, however, new rules on decentralization of authority now mandate the permits from local regencies (in this case, Badung) are now required.

A Growing Water Crisis

Speaking to the Indonesian language Bali Post, a local expert warned that the Ayung River provides most of the water needs of the South Island as well as the four regencies of Tabanan, Badung, Denpasar and Gianyar and that permits for project requiring large amounts of water should be carefully considered before they are granted.

The head of the local environmental authority, Made Adijaya, expressed a similar opinion to the Bali Post, reminding all involved of a warning in place since the mid-1990s urging that hotels and supporting elements be limited in the face of Bali's limited water resources.

The Bali Post also reports that the developers of the BPG project have drilled 4 wells to meet their water requirements and have established a large number of ponds to retain surface water to meet their needs. Drilling into the water table shared with other hotels, housing and a university campus on the peninsula - the 75-meter deep bore holes are reportedly producing water with a high alkaline content.

Outspoken and popular local environmentalist, Professor Adnyana Manuaba has also called into question the wisdom of proceeding with the BPG project given the heavy demand on land and water, two commodities under growing pressure on the island. The award-winning professor also questioned what studies have been carried out in connection with the new project in terms of the island's environmental carrying capacity.

The BPG project is being developed by PT Intra Golflink Resort (IGR), PT Internusa International and PT Dreamland Pecatu Golf.

The proposed 18-hole golf course will be designed by Ronald Fearm of the U.S.A. with members required to pay Rp. 155 million (approximately US$16,850) to join the club.

According to the Bali Post a number of high-profile Indonesians are already listed as charter members of the golf club, including Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik, Siswono Yudhohusodo, Murdaya Poo and Miranda S. Goeltom.