Provincial council backs Buyan resort rejection
Denpasar: Environmental activists have received support from the provincial council in their opposition to the development of a resort in the protected forest area near Buyan Lake in Buleleng regency.
The council said it would urge the Forestry Minister not to give a new concession right to PT Nusa Bali Abadi, the company that intends to build a luxury resort on a 100-hectare area in Dasong forest.
In a meeting between the council’s Commission C overseeing environmental issues and activists from the Bali Working Committee on Environmental Advocacy (Kekal) on Monday, the council said it would bring their joint statement to the minister.
The statement includes eight points that explain the rejection of the development. The main point is that the planned area is crucial as a water catchment area, supplying clean water to many areas on the island.
Besides being a major water reserve, the 1,700-hectare protected forest near Buyan and Tamblingan Lakes is also considered sacred by Balinese Hindus.
These places are believed to be sacred sites where the greatly respected Bhatari Danu, the goddess of water and fertility, resides to protect the people and the island.
“We will urge the minister to annul the permit. If he doesn’t respond to our rejection, we will sue him for violating a bylaw on sacred zones and a bylaw on spatial planning,” said Suryanta Putra, secretary of the Commission.
PT Nusa Bali Abadi plans to develop a spacious resort comprising villas, hotels and supporting infrastructure in the protected forest.
The plan was revealed when minister Zulkifli Hasan was invited by the company to visit the lake last month.
On the same day, the minister promised to cancel his plan to award a private investor the right to develop a luxury resort complex following strong opposition from the great majority of Balinese society.
Speaking to journalists after a Cabinet meeting at the Tampak Siring Presidential Palace in Gianyar, the minister explained that initially his ministry had met with PT Nusa Bali Abadi, the potential investor for the project.
“However, we are not going to issue any concession rights before we get approval from the Buleleng administration and Bali governor. If they [the governor and the regent] reject the plan, then we will not issue the concession,” the minister told Bali Daily.
“So far, we have not received a recommendation letter from either party,” the minister added.
Governor Made Mangku Pastika said he was pleased to hear directly the minister’s rejection of the plan.
“I have spoken with Minister Zulkifli this morning and he has promised to refuse to award PT Nusa Bali Abadi the new concession rights,” Pastika smiled.