A program, endorsed by President Yudhoyono, to build a large conference and accommodation center - Bali International Park to help host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference 2013 is receiving criticism and resistance from a number of quarters.
Adding its voice to those opposed to building the proposed 250-hectare complex near Jimbaran Bay is the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi), which has staged demonstrations at Bali's House of Representative's Building (DPRD-Bali) demanding that the 2009 zoning law (RTRW) not be altered simply to accommodate the President's wishes.
Gendo Suardana, the chairman of Walhi-Bali, testified before Bali's legislators that the proposed Park represents a pure case of central government intervention in the affairs of a province. As reported by Beritabali.com and The Jakarta Post, Walhi says the US$280 million project will violate zoning laws and the desire for a moratorium on new hotel developments in south Bali. Said Gendo, "the development clearly represents an inconsistency on the part of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism who once recommended that Bali postpone new projects due to the estimated over-supply of 9.800 rooms."
Gendo also called on the legislators to investigate the parties behind PT Jimbaran Hijau - who were apparently appointed directly by the President and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to develop the project which will include a peace monument, a 13-hectare convention center capable of hosting 10,000 visitors, accommodation facilities, a medical center, art market and food center.
The House of Representatives is holding fire on the politically sensitive project which would need to be fast-tracked to be completed in time for the 2013 conference to be attended by 21 heads of state. Bali's governor Made Pastika who championed the RTRW said hosting the major international conference was an honor for Bali, but efforts should be made not to violate the rules.
The prestigious APEC Conference has become the benchmark for a number of development projects in Bali. In addition to the proposed Bali International Park a major 11.5 kilometer roadway connecting Kuta Ė Bali Airport ĖNusa Dua.
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