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Monumental Change Ahead for Bali?

Experts Say it May be Time to Move or Remove Some of Bali's Monumental Landmarks.

(7/3/2010) Commenting in Bali Post, a leading observer of zoning regulation in Bali, Ir. Putu Rumawan Salain, and the vice-chairman of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), Ketut Suwandi, have boldly called for a re-evaluation of the numerous statues decorating many Bali's intersections in terms of the detrimental contribution they make to the island's traffic situation.

During the reign of Suwenda as mayor of Denpasar, the construction of hero monuments at the Ubung and Nangka intersections were ordered. This was followed by the construction of the dragon statue in downtown Denpasar at "Simpang Enam" and the Dewa Ruci monument at "Simpang Siur." There are other statues, including a nursing mother monument near the Sanglah General Hospital. All these statues were erected to help beatify the city. But now, with traffic jams affecting many areas of Denpasar and south Bali, these same statues are seen as impeding traffic flows.

With plans now afoot to build flyovers to ease traffic flows at busy intersections, gardens and monuments may be downsized or removed. Parliamentarian Suwandi had gone so far as to suggest that a number of statues in Bali should be removed to reduce traffic congestion.

Rumawan joined the chorus, saying it is not enough to view statues and monuments in Bali from only an aesthetic stance. Prolonged traffic jams in Bali also have a high social cost including lost productivity and increased use of precious fuel.

Said Rumawan : "Don't allow this to develop in an uncontrolled manner, like at the Simpang Siur round-about. The severe traffic congestion in that area is now very difficult to control." The zoning expert also called on the government to evaluate buildings standing in close proximity to the traffic circle, retaining only those buildings that beautify the area.

Rumawan wants the government to exercise more caution before issuing building permits, saying, "don't be seduced by money and desires to enlarge the tax base into issuing building permits that destroy the appearance of the community." He wants to see the local government tighten the issuance of building permits in strategic areas, paying attention to how new buildings will contribute to population density and traffic flows.

Rumawan also wants to see local governments develop detailed engineering designs covering fast developing areas of the island, such as Seminyak, Jimbaran and Serangan. The construction of roadside statues in strategic growth areas without benefit of an overall plan can destroy the aesthetic of the areas concerned.

Suwandi said it was time that many of the statues standing at intersections be removed or replaced.