Walhi rejects APEC infrastructure plans over green zone fears
Environmentalists have staged a protest against plans to construct major infrastructure ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit to be held in Bali in 2013.
They argued that the projects would violate green zones defined by an approved spatial planning master plan for the island.
Affiliates of the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) Bali stage a protest at the provincial council building on Monday, demanding the council not alter its master plan, which was outlined in a 2009 bylaw on spatial planning.
“We understand that the facilities are needed to serve heads of state coming to the APEC meeting. But should the projects sacrifice our master spatial plan?” Walhi chairman Wayan Suardana said in front of council members.
At least two major projects will be completed before the APEC Summit — a toll road connecting South Denpasar with Nusa Dua, and Bali International Park, a tourist area that will also host the meeting.
The planned 11.5-kilometer road is expected to ease congestion between Kuta and Nusa Dua. The road, which is estimated to cost Rp 1.4 trillion (US$155 million), will also connect to Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Bali International Park will be built on a 250-hectare plot of land in Jimbaran, between Ayana Resort and Four Seasons Hotel.
The project, which will cost US$280 million, will be fully financed by private companies.
The park will include a 17-hectare accommodation complex for the visiting head of states, a 13-hectare convention center with a capacity of 10,000 people, and an international clinic, art market, gallery and food center.
The projects are not included in the spatial master plan, which outlines 16 tourist areas.
The master plan also stipulates four alternative roads to ease traffic, linking Serangan-Tanjung Benoa, Serangan-Tohpati, Kuta-Ngurah Rai airport, and Kuta-Denpasar-Tohpati.
The Tourism Ministry’s legal and planning bureau chief Turman Siagian said the park had been requested by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as a way to improve the country’s image.
He said the spatial master plan should be flexible so that it could adjust to the people’s dynamics. “It is not a static document. It should be made adjustable and open for review.”
Walhi urged the council and the provincial administration to take stern action against attempts to violate the spatial master plan, especially if the attempts were to only improve the image of the country.
“This [project] is just a way to protect investors by taking advantage of the APEC momentum. The council should firmly oppose the project,” Suardana said.
Ketut Kariyasa Adnyana, deputy head of Commission IV of the council, said after he led the meeting with Walhi that the council had not made a decision on the issue.
Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said his administration would analyze whether the toll road and the tourism park required a revision of the spatial plan.
The governor said the island needed to provide adequate facilities to serve delegates of the meeting.
“The APEC Summit is not like any other meeting we have hosted before. There will be 21 heads of state, and not to mention representatives from the United Nations and various international organizations. But we should ensure we don’t violate any rules,” he said, adding that being the host of the meeting was an honor for Bali.