Blight on Bali

Suggestions that high-rise buildings in Bali’s tightly packed southern regions will solve the island’s increase in overcrowding are badly misguided. Turning the once-rural island into a concrete jigsaw is not the answer. Stopping the rapid proliferation of tourist accommodation is.

We have backed Governor I Made Mangku Pastika’s moratorium on the construction of new hotel complexes, but sadly, the building continues, eating up valuable land and resources such as our dwindling water table that feeds these ravenous enterprises. Tourism may be the key mover of our economy but it must not be allowed to ravage the island.

The seemingly unstoppable rise of new luxury hotel projects is due to autonomy empowered in the regions, whose officials make their own decisions regardless of what the governor says or directs. All too often, as we are seeing, such purported development does indeed come at the expense of the island.

But several of our politicians think they have the answer: building up instead of outwards, and they would like to see an overturning of legislation that prohibits buildings above 15 metres, although there have been a handful of exceptions in recent years.

We do not wish to see towering structures dotting the southern Bali landscape, rendering the area little more than an equally clogged extension of Jakarta. We also do not wish for Bali’s vitally important natural aspects, which are crucial to its tourism fortunes, destroyed any further.

This is why real development must begin in areas other than the south, particularly the north and east, where there are tourism features that don’t generally benefit as much from human traffic. With a second international airport in the works, to be built at a location that is still being scouted out but will certainly be in the northern part of Bali, this will happen. And then there will be no need for sky-high strategies.

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