Reclamation in Disguise

Pelindo III Accused of Reclaiming Land in Port of Benoa by Failing to Haul Away Dredged Bottom Soil

Balipost.com reports that Pelindo III – is vacuuming sand from the bottom of the Port of Benoa as part of the enhancement and enlargement of Bali’s southernmost seaport. This activity has prompted complaints from people living in the areas surrounding Tanjung Benoa and a local lawmaker.

The sand is creating reclaimed land surfaces that are rumored will be used to create recreational areas, tourist accommodation and tourist attractions. This psuedo-reclamation of land is taking place in an area not far where from where local Balinese have been involved in a bitter 5-year battle to prevent the creation of a large tourism development in an area once reserved for mangrove conservation.

A member of Commission I of the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), I Nyoman Adnyana, warms that if the modification of the structure and shape of the port deviates from uses deeemed suitable for a seaport this would be a clear violation of zoning regulations.

"The soil resulting from dredging should not be used to reclaim land. But the dredgings have been put on the shore and leveled. They say they want to use the (new) land for tourism activities, which would be a change of function (under the zoning rules),” said Adnyana on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. At the same time, Adnyana acknowledged that PT Pelindo III has been authorized by the Minister of Transportation to turn the Port of Benoa into a modern terminal for large ocean-going vessels. The Bali lawmaker insists that any work carried out by PT Pelindo III must follow the law and not offend the aspirations of the community. Local residents have expressed concerns that the dredging at the port will cause subsidence of the surrounding shores.

Adnyana insists that the authority given to PT Pelindo III is limited to creating a port and not to develop accommodation, recreational, and tourist attractions. These uses are outside the original authority given to PT Pelindo III and would be violations of zoning laws.

Earlier press reports even suggested that PT Pelindo has plans to build a modern hospital at the port.

Adnyana said the bottom soil produced from reclamation should not have been deposited on the shore and turned into reclaimed land, but should have been transported to a new location. Adnyana said that Pelindo’s actions amount to reclamation that cannot be done without following procedures, including the preparation of an environmental impact study and obtaining permission from the Denpasar Municipal Administration.

“If sand is being moved from the ocean to shore for reclamation this cannot be tolerated. Permission to build hotels, restaurants, and accommodation should not be given. If, however, the intent is to make the Port more orderly and doesn’t disturb the local environment, the it (the work) is needed and the dredging can continue.

Earlier, the general manager of Pelindo III for the Port of Benoa, I Wayan Eka Saputra, said the deepening of ships’ channels and dredging of the port are part of a mandates given by the Central Government. Adding, “We will certainly review the matter and try to make improvements. We will then communicate with all those involved.”

Saputra said that the sedimentation of the Port of Benoa happens quickly creating shallows that are not suitable for ships operating in the Port.

While all agree on the need to create a modern port facility at Benoa, the issue not being addressed by Pelindo is whether or not the soil dredged and brought to shore should be turned into reclaimed land or moved away to another location.

Image: Balipost.com

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