Residents in Ubud are sharing their concerns over renovations to the traditional Ubud Market. Market stalls and vendors have dispersed while the traditional market site undergoes renovations, however, many vendors have relocated to the center of the town. Vendors are now spilling out into the roads and alleyways adding to the already congested traffic.
This issue has been a topic of conversation in Ubud for years and years. Renovations have been underway for such a long time that for many people visiting Bali it may seem like the current market set up is the way things have always been, that the sprawling market stalls selling to both locals and tourists is the formal set up.
This has not always been the case and is not a part of the local government and local community’s vision for Ubud. As the new market project deadline approaches local vendors are concerned that the project won’t be completed on time.
The conversation has resurfaced this week as Ubud has been named the best city in Asia by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Local vendors are concerned that tourists to the area will be shocked and disappointed to find the market stalls sprawled around the town’s alleyways, huge traffic jams, and dozens of illegal vendors.
I Wayan Roja, 66, told local reporters that the market areas in Ubud have become like ‘slums’. Roja has been a wholesaler at the traditional Ubud Market since 1979 and shared his observations of the issues at hand.
He said ‘Surprisingly, many illegal traders appear in front of the market location. Most of them are not ex-Ubud Market traders. There are also traders who bring cars. So the traffic jam is getting worse and is not being taken care of’.
Roja described how the vendors who used to have stalls in the Ubud Market have set up shop in the alleyways around the Ubud tourism center. Stalls can be found along Jalan Kajeng, Jalan Suweta and others. Roja said ‘No one dares to sell around the revitalized market. The ones who dare are traders outside Ubud, from Denpasar selling cars. This also causes traffic jams’.
The wholesaler explained his hopes for the revitalization project. He said he hopes that the Ubud Market will reopen on time in alignment with the initial project plans to help improve tourism in the area and have a positive impact on the local economy.
However he and his community remain concerned, he said ‘We heard that there had been a termination of the work contract. We were worried about how exactly the continuation of this market project would be’. He explained how there was very little that the community could do to influence the project timelines.
Roja said ‘Tourism activity is now starting to buzz. But if the traders in Ubud are in their current condition, will Ubud still be one of the best cities in the world?!’. The Deputy Chair of the Gianyar DPRD, Adi Saputra, was asked for his insights on the matter. He confirmed that the construction contract has been terminated. He admitted that the development of the Ubud Market project had been stalled.
He acknowledged the issues that had been created from the slow progress and oversights. Saptutra explained that the issue at hand now is that hundreds of vendors were not strategically relocated for the duration of the renovations and that there is no clear end in sight for the redevelopment of Ubud Market since the contract has been terminated.
Saputra said ‘I am not in a position to blame any party. However, this condition indicates that something is wrong. This should be a valuable lesson for all parties so that in the future similar cases do not happen again’. Gianyar authorities are hopeful that a win-win solution can be found quickly.
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