Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika has told the Badung administration to cease its ongoing excavation project at Geger beach in Nusa Dua.
“My instructions and the recommendation from the Bali Legislative Council are quite clear: The excavation must be stopped because it doesn’t conform to existing regulations,” Pastika said Wednesday on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony for Denpasar’s new mayor, IB Rai Dharmawijaya Mantra, the former deputy mayor of the capital.
Rai was sworn in following former mayor AA Ngr Puspayoga’s election to the office of deputy governor on the island.
Badung regent AA Gde Agung, also present at the ceremony, said he would abide by the council’s recommendation and the Governor’s instruction.
“We have received the recommendation and the letter from the Governor. I truly respect the council’s recommendation and the Governor’s request and I will give my utmost attention to this matter,” he said.
The regency’s environmental impacts monitoring body (Bapedalda) is conducting a thorough study of the excavation, the results of which will be submitted to the governor soon, Agung added.
The excavation project has stirred up a heated controversy that has dominated public discourse on the island for the past month.
The project involved transferring sand from Geger beach’s offshore area to Kuta, where it was to be used to fill empty spaces between newly constructed wave-breakers. The transfer was meant to restore the beach to its former size, before it was ravaged by sea erosion.
Both the construction of the wave-breakers and the excavation project are part of the Bali Beaches Conservation Project, a comprehensive and costly multi-year program aimed at rehabilitating the island’s damaged coastal lines.
As the island’s most popular and most damaged beach, Kuta has been selected as the first of the program’s implementation sites.
Up to 650,000 cubic meters of sand were to be relocated from Geger, with 500,000 reserved for Kuta. The remainder was to be stored in a facility at Sanur’s Mertasari beach.
Communities near Geger were offered a compensation package and several development projects — including money for road and temple renovations — if they agreed to the beach excavation.
According to the head of the Sanur Development Foundation (YPS) IB Sidharta Putra, residents of Sanur signed an agreement with the island’s public works agency more than a year ago. Under the terms of the agreement, which were binding for 35 years, residents would allow the agency to store sand from Geger beach in their community.
“We set aside a plot of land — four to five hectares — to serve as the storage facility for the sand and, to be honest, haven’t received any financial remuneration for this service,” Sidhartha said.
The public works agency originally stored 100,000 cubic meters of sand at the Sanur facility, only to give 50,000 cubic meters to local residents, who requested it to rehabilitate their eroded beaches.