Fire has destroyed the Karma Kandara Beach Restaurant on Bali’s southernmost peninsula at Ungusan.
The fire reportedly started just before midnight on Saturday, 13 November 2021.
The fire was detected by a local community watch member (pecalang) patrolling Melasti Beach at the base of a cliff below the 54-villa Karma Kandara Resort.
Local community members worked together trying to extinguish the fire, which quickly raged out of control and wholly demolished the popular beachside restaurant. Six Badung Regency fire trucks responded but were thwarted in battling the fire due to the lack of access road to the beach located at the end of a long stairway and inclinator. The fire spread rapidly engulfing the thatched roofing material covering the 477 square meter restaurant and bar.
The fire burnt itself out at 6:10 AM after completely leveling the establishment.
Karma Kandara Resort Remains Open
The owners of the Karma Kandara Resort announced on the Resort’s website that the fire destroyed only the beachside restaurant, no injuries were linked to the blaze, and no other part of the extensive holiday complex suffered any damage.
Owners are vowing to “re-design and rebuild” the restaurant with food and beverage service continuing in the Resort’s De Mare Restaurant located at the top of the inclinator.
The Beachside restaurant was a popular spot in Bali, voted as the “Best Beach Club in Bali” by Hello Bali Magazine, and named among the “World’s 50 Best Beach Bars” by CNN Travel.
Restaurant’s Permits Called into Question
As reported by RadarBali.com, in the wake of the fire, the Badung Regency Enforcement Agency (Satpol PP) summoned the management of the Karma Kandara Resort for a meeting at 10:00 AM on Thursday, 18 November 2021. At that meeting, a legal representative of the Resort was asked to clarify issues surrounding the licensing and permits for the Resort and its now-destroyed restaurant.
The head of the Satpol PP Badung, I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, confirmed the Resort’s representative answered the summon and that his office was now reviewing the legal status of the buildings and operating permits together with the Regency’s Investment and Licensing Agency (DPMPTSP).
Zoning Law Compliance in Question
While the Resort is generally considered to comply with local laws, questions have arisen regarding the legality of the Karma Kandara Beach Restaurant. Following Thursday’s meeting, Regency officials have ordered the owners not to tamper with the burnt ruins of the restaurant while inquiries continue surrounding the issuance of the structure’s building permit, whether the structure complied with the architectural plans on file, and if the building and licenses complied with local zoning laws.
Bali zoning laws preserve the space of 100 meters from the ocean’s high-water mark as public domain forbidding the erection of permanent buildings of any sort. Resort operators in Bali often try to skirt around these restrictions, arguing their beachside restaurants, bars, and swimming pools are not “permanent structures” and, in any case, enjoy the blessing of local village bodies because of the employment they provide and fees paid to the local community.
Badung officials are reserving comment until a complete review of the restaurant and its building permits is completed by all the government agencies concerned.