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Peace Park or Pub?

Future of Former Sari Club Site Depends on Ability of Supporters to Consolidate Their Efforts and Raise the Funds to Purchase and Develop Site of 2002 Bali Bombing.

(6/29/2009) The Australian reports that some Australians are upset with rumored plans to develop the vacant lot that once held the Sari Club into another Kuta entertainment venue. The Sari Club and the adjacent Paddy's were destroyed on October 12, 2002, by a terrorist bomb that claimed 202 lives.

The paper reports that Balinese businessman Kadek Wiranatha has secured a 15 year lease on the land with plans to eventually erect a night spot.

While the necessary permits to build on the site have not been issued, any plans to build on the site would thwart plans by a group of Australians and Indonesians to acquire the lot and erect a Memorial Peace Park.

Kadek denied to The Australian reports he was building a restaurant, bar and club on the Sari Club land. "I have not bought the land," Kadek said. "They (the reports) are not true. I do not have a building permit."

A permanent memorial to the Indonesians and foreigners who died on October 12, 2002 has already been built on Kuta's main street. The memorial stands on "ground zero" and is located about equidistant between the former Paddy's and Sari Club.

The Australian government has called for the development of the site "in a manner appropriate to the memory of the victims of the bombing."

Efforts underway since 2002 by a group of private Australians and Indonesians to acquire the site and erect a peace park costing between AUS$1.5 2.5 million have been plagued with problems. Slow efforts to obtain tax-free status for the project and internal dissension within the membership of the voluntary peace park association has left the lot empty and open to eventual commercial development, if the proposed memorial park cannot eventually be funded.

The Australian says that a recent meeting between the Australian Consul-General in Bali, Lex Bartlem, and Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika generated "positive" support from the Balinese government for the proposed peace park.