Ignoring the Protests

Tirta Wahana Bali International to Go Ahead with Benoa Bay Reclamation Project
The Jakarta Globe reports that the widely unpopular and controversial reclamation of Bali’s Benoa Bay will proceed with Tirta Wahana Bali International announcing it now holds the necessary permits to commence its Rp. 30 trillion (US$2.5 billion) project that will dramatically transform the geography of South Bali.

Winata, who heads the Tirta Wahana Bali International project, initially orchestrated a high-profile environmental push by bringing soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo to Bali to be dubbed a ‘Mangrove Ambassador” and plant trees in the Island’s southern mangrove accompanied by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. At the same time he was orchestrating this public display of environmental-mindedness, Winata was spearheading an investment that will eventually eliminate 700 hectares of the once-protected mangrove wetlands.

Shortly after the tree-planting press conference, Tirta Wahana Bali International announced plans for the reclamation project while, a short time later, President Yudhoyono accommodated the project by signing a decree changing the mangrove forest’s designation from a protected “no build” proetcted wetland to commercial use.

The project, the object of an unprecedented level of public protest by members of the Balinese community, will build hotels, a convention center and entertainment complex on reclaimed lands in Benoa Bay. Leemarvin Lieana, a commissioner of Tirta Wahana, has defended the project by offering the defeatist argument that if the company fails to develop the land, it would be destroyed in any case by illegal logging for firewood, littering and the sedimentation caused by rivers that discharge into the Bay.

source : bali discovery tours

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