Bali governor offers land swap to help Sari Club site become peace park

0
40
Bali governor offers land swap to help Sari Club site become peace park

news image

Posted

May 03, 2019 03:46:51

The governor of Bali has proposed a land swap as one solution to help families of the 2002 Sari Club bombing turn the site into a permanent peace park.

Key points:

  • If the owner refuses the new site, it could be offered as an alternative site for the park
  • It’s still unclear if the proposed new land will be sold or gifted by the local government
  • Development of a restaurant has been halted during renegotiations

Governor Wayan Koster has offered the land owner an alternative site about 1.5 kilometres from the bombing site, in exchange for the Sari Club plot, which would then be freed to be turned into a memorial park.

The proposal — if accepted — would represent a compromise where the site’s owner could still build a proposed five-storey restaurant, while also allowing the original site to become a permanent memorial to those killed when the Sari Club was bombed in October 2002.

If the owner refuses, the governor has indicated the same land could instead be offered to peace park advocates as an alternative site for a memorial, even though it’s a considerable distance from the bombing site.

It is understood Governor Koster made the offer at a meeting in Bali yesterday with representatives of the site’s owner, Australia’s Consul General in Bali, Helena Studdert, peace park advocates and members of the Bali Bombing Foundation (Isana Dewata Foundation).

The site offered is understood to be on Jalan Sriwijaya, 1.5km northeast of the Sari Club site.

It is unclear whether the governor was offering to gift the site to the owner, or sell it. There were few details about what the alternative site has been used for or whether it is government-owned land.

Thiolina Marpaung from the Bali Bombing Foundation, who was at the meeting, indicated that the proposed site could be too far for victims’ families to visit, especially as there was already a memorial across the road from the Sari Club site.

Development plans halted

The owner of the Sari Club site agreed earlier this week to halt redevelopment plans and instead renew negotiations with peace park supporters, who still hope to turn it into a permanent memorial.

The first stone was due to be turned last Wednesday (1 May) ahead of construction beginning next week. A Hindu cleansing ceremony was held on Sunday, and stallholders who sell food and drinks on the site were given until this weekend to clear out.

Members of the Bali Peace Park Association said the owner had once asked for $26 million to buy the site, and gradually reduced his asking price to about 5 million, which they claimed was still far more than the site was worth.

The apparent change of heart coincided with a meeting in Perth earlier this week between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and members of the Bali Peace Park Association.

Mr Morrison was under pressure to intervene, and even lobby the Indonesian President Joko Widodo, to stop the site’s development.

Site market value estimated at $2.5 million

The ABC has been told that Sukamto Tjia bought the Sari Club site in Kuta around 1997, before the Sari Club was built.

His niece has since claimed that she was gifted the title to the property, according to the chairman of the Bali Peace Park Association, David Napoli.

The site has remained vacant for most of the 17 years since a car bomb tore apart the Sari Club in October 2002, moments after another bomb exploded at nearby Paddy’s Bar.

The attacks killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

The owner was granted a permit last December to build a five-storey, 353 seat restaurant.

Last-minute negotiations

Mr Napoli says the Indonesian Consul General in Perth gave him an assurance early this week that the proposed development would not go ahead, as the owner had agreed at the last minute to renew negotiations.

One member said it is now up to the association to come up with an agreed price to buy the site.

Phillip Couper said he plans to liaise with various philanthropic or charity groups, as well as countries of the other victims killed in the bombing, to raise more funds to help with the site’s purchase and construction of a memorial park.

It is understood that current funds including pledges from the federal and state governments amount to about $900,000.

The Association estimates the site’s market value is around $2.5 million.

Further talks on the matter are expected in the next few days.

Topics:

community-and-society,

urban-development-and-planning,

foreign-affairs,

indonesia,

bali


Contact Anne Barker

Read More

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here