By I Gusti Made Putra
CANGGU ~ A rapid explosion of villa developments in the pastoral Canggu area of North Kuta fuelled by intense demand from foreigners is good for the district and will help to propel its prosperity, locals say.
Canggu village head I Nyoman Mustiada told The Bali Times this week that the development of Canggu was a natural progression of tourism in Bali, as it expanded from the crowded south to northern parts.
“Tourism in Bali started in Kuta, and moved to Legian, and then Seminyak. It has now progressed to Canggu,” he said. “We welcome all investors here.”
Canggu, easily reached from Seminyak by way of a specially constructed slip road that nowadays is often heavily congested, is home to an international school and private country club; a number of mid-range hotels; dozens of villas for the tourism sector; and homes for foreign families.
A contentious apartment complex, Sea Sentosa, is being built at the popular Echo Beach surfing beach. Critics say the project, overseen by Australian developer Saxon Looker will spoil the pristine local environment and is unwelcome because it is located beside an important Hindu temple.
Further down the rugged Canggu coastline, heading southwards, a W hotel – the urbane brand of the US-based Starwood group – is taking shape, and between the two projects a villa complex is being constructed at a revered lagoon beside which a temple lies. The site was the scene of fervent local protests when the Jakarta-based developer attempted construction three years ago.
Mustiada, who at 40 is one of the youngest village chiefs in Bali, said another top-rated hotel was also in the works for Canggu. “It will be built by a former [Indonesian] defence minister,” he said.
He said the management of Sea Sentosa, which has contracted the land it sits on for 50 years, must be mindful of the spiritual environment in which they are constructing their complex, because the temple alongside it is “big and important.”
For Balinese in the area who sold or rented their land, it was a positive move for them.
“The result from rice farming is not that much. So it’s better if the people in this area who own land rent or sell it to investors, so that they get something better,” said Mustiada.
Canggu has become a busy foreign-residence area, and locals generally agree that all the development is a boon for their lives. They said foreigners shop at warungs and locals can open small businesses such as laundry services that will attract foreigners as customers.
Loteng, a 45-year-old fisherman, agreed.
“For now, it’s good that Canggu has become a place where foreigners live and holiday. But in the future, for the future generations of Balinese, and the land that has been rented or sold, we don’t know what will happen,” he told The Bali Times.