Another Year for Terror-Site Peace Park as Rival Group Eyes New Locations
An Australian group hoping to build a reflective peace park at the site of the bombed Sari Club in Legian has announced a further delay to its plans, saying it now aims to complete funding for long-delayed project by the end of next year.
Eighty-eight Australians of a total of 202 people lost their lives in the Al-Qaeda-linked multiple suicide bombings on the night of October 12, 2002.
The Bali Peace Park Association, based in Perth and chaired by television reporter Nicholas Way, had told The Bali Times on several occasions this year that it was on track to have the project realised by October 2010.
However the site on the busy tourist strip is still a car park and temporary storage area for roadworks equipment. The association has been unable to negotiate a buy-out of the land, which is owned by a Jakarta businessman and leased on a 15×15-year arrangement by a Balinese businessman involved in the entertainment sector who plans to build a bar and restaurant there.
The association has been granted tax-free charity status by the Australian government to enable it to generate funds for the park. It is not known how much, if any, have been raised.
At a function in Denpasar on October 11 that marks the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attack, the association is set to reveal details of results it has achieved thus far. It appears these will be from the chairman’s report at the group’s annual general meeting held on September 25.
“The association has set new milestones and key areas of focus for the next 12 months as the project moves into a more active stage of its development,” Way says in his report, marked as “confidential” but available on the group’s website.
“The action plan for 2010–2011 is now is towards securing the land rights and beginning a development plan as well as considering all aspects for the park to become an economically sustainable addition to the Kuta Community.”
The report lists among the association’s achievements from January to June 2010 as negotiating with a representative of the land’s owner; obtaining a valuation of the land, which is not mentioned; translating its website into Indonesian; and meeting with Indonesian officials including Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika.
It sets out its objectives for the coming year as: finalising pledged funding for the park, without mentioning the figure promised; gaining additional funding; finalising land negotiations; hosting a “VIP launch for the project”; and commissioning a study to “evaluate the economic, social and international benefits of the project.”
The association says it will also work to “grow international support for the project” and “facilitate communications between the Indonesian and Australian governments.”
Meanwhile, flamboyant Australian Dallas Finn, the founder of the project who was spectacularly kicked out of the association earlier this year, has set up a rival association, Bali Peace Park.
Finn, a cook currently based in Darwin, told The Bali Times on Saturday he would arrive in Bali next week and view a number of alternative locations for a peace park.
He said it would cost Way’s association up to AUS$3 million (US$2.9 million) to purchase the land and create a park at the Sari Site and argued that in austere times that amount is too large to spend on the project.
“There are some pieces of land nearby Legian that are owned by the government, and we are hoping the government will give one to us for free,” Finn said, adding that it would not be necessary to raise construction funds in Australia because the community in Bali would provide the capital.
He said he remains “angry” at his ouster and that unlike his former association he has the “support of the Balinese community.”
Finn vowed to continue to “press on” to achieve the peace-park concept he dreamed up eight years ago.
Directly across from the Sari Club site a memorial to the victims of the bombings, which also blew up an adjacent bar, was opened on the second anniversary and has become a tourist attraction.Filed under: Headlines