We are receiving initial reports that a number of properties on the coastline of Gili Trawangan have been demolished as part of a government sweep in the area. While the initial reports are as yet unconfirmed, it appears likely that the wholesale demolition of beachfront properties is the result of recent government inspections in the area.
As recently as last week, the Jakarta Post reported that North Lombok regency administration in West Nusa Tenggara was planning to conduct building inspections of 143 hotels, bars and restaurants for violating coastline building regulations in the area.
This inspection was carried out by the Indonesian military and the national police on 24th February, as confirmed by Hermanto, assistant of the North Lombok economic and development administration, in a speech directed to the media gathered in Mataram last Tuesday.
The143 hotels, bars and restaurants in question on Gili Trawangan were built only 5 to 10 meters from the coastline, which is an infringement of building regulations on the island, according to 2016 North Lombok spatial planning laws, which state that all buildings must be situated a minimum of 30 meters from the coastline.
In his press conference, Hermanto gave justification for the impending actions, on the basis that the beach area of Gili Trawangan was not accessible to the public: “it is wrong that visitors are supposed to order something at restaurant or bar to be able to enjoy the beach,” Hermanto said, adding that those buildings did not possess building permits (IMB).”The administration wants to bring back the function of the beach, so all people can enjoy it,” he added.
According to Hermanto’s statement, the 143 business owners affected by the planned inspection were notified in advance, adding that 100 of them had pledged to demolish their buildings before Feb. 24.
It appears that these latest, as yet unconfirmed demolitions, set out to remove any buildings that remained in the restricted area beyond the deadline.