Despite over three months of warning, vendors on Canggu Beach had their beach huts demolished on Tuesday 6th September. The Badung Civil Service Police Unit (Saptol PP) coordinated the demolition operation. The semi-permeant buildings had been used by vendors as surf shacks, cold drinks stalls, and gift shops.
Talking to reporters, the Head of the Badung Civil Service Police Unit, I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, said the demolition came after months of warnings and conversations between the entrepreneurs and the local government.
He explained how the vendors had been given notice of the demolition back in June and clearly told that the demolitions would be going ahead as of the 1st of September. They were told to clear their businesses from the area and remove the semi-permanent structures they were operating out of since they did not have licenses or business permits, rendering their actions illegal.
Despite the warnings, vendors did not dismantle the beach huts giving Saptol PP no option but to coordinate a demolition operation. Suryanegara shared more details of the operation with reporters. He said, ‘From us, we only watched and supervised the process. Because five days have passed [since the deadline], there was an initiative from the Canggu Village and Traditional Village to [bring] heavy equipment [to remove the buildings]’.
Suryanegara explained that ‘On Canggu Beach, 43 businesses were using semi-permanent buildings owned by 29 entrepreneurs. So [more than] one entrepreneur has more than one place’. During his chat with the press, Suryanegara confirmed that the Badung Regency Government will manage the land after the demolition effort. There will be no more semi-permeant beach huts. However, entrepreneurs can apply for licenses to rent out beach loungers and umbrellas to visitors.
He confirmed ‘They [vendors] will get management rights, namely to use land belonging to the Badung Regency Government. We have submitted an application which will be assisted by the PUPR Service’. This week’s demolition comes just four months after the Badung Civil Service Police Unit demotions a row of beach huts on Berawa Beach for operating without licensing. The Civil Service gave vendors fair warning, and on the 15th of May, 2022, as agreed, they moved in with bulldozers to flatten the buildings.
A total of 30 semi-permanent beach huts were demolished in May 2022. A spokesperson for Badung Civil Service told reporters at the time that the beach huts had begun to make the beach look ‘slum-like’. The vendors formed a committee and pledged to find a way to continue to operate in the area as they needed business to bounce back from the financial losses of the pandemic.
All this is part of a coordinated effort to ‘clean up’ Canggu. In early August, Provincial Senator I Wayan Sandra lodged a formal statement to the local government to tackle the issue of traffic congestion in Canggu.
He explained how tourism developments had rapidly outgrown road and utility infrastructure. He highlighted how tourism development has grown exponentially in the last ten years but that the streets remain the same, causing gridlock and traffic jams that are making life difficult for local people and ruining the area’s public image.
Sandra also highlighted how infrastructure developments must be carried out on the area’s water management system. As so many properties have been built on agricultural land, typically used as rice paddies, water management systems need to be upgraded. He explained how one typical rainstorm can now cause flooding in the street.
Sandra asked the government for more funding to improve the infrastructure of roads, drains, and other key areas in Canggu because ‘If it is not handled immediately, it is not impossible that it will be in the national spotlight because of poor infrastructure’. He was told that the committee would review funding allocations in 2023.
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