06 June 2016

Bali Elephant Safari Park helicopter tour at Taro has stopped

The traditional community surrounding the Bali Elephant Safari Park is complaining about the noise and disturbance caused by the tourist helicopter based at the Park. The Village leader of Taro has written a complaint to the Regent of Gianyar with copies to the Regency's Transportation Office and other agencies and sections of the regional government. The letter made four main complaints regarding the helicopter operation from the Taro base. First, local residents say the helicopter-landing pad is too close to the Suba Toya Temple in Taro, rice fields and local residences. Objections were also raised to the low altitude of the helicopter when flying over the Pujung Sari Desa Pakrama Taro Kelod Temple that villagers contend disregards the religious sanctity of the area. Second, local agriculturalists are purportedly complaining that the noise of the helicopter causes livestock to panic, with one farmer saying many of his chickens have died due to the strong downdraft of the helicopter when coming in for a landing. Third, residents complain about the frequency of landings during the course of a day. And, fourth, residents are questioning the legality of the helicopter’s operation and landing pad and whether or not the required permits and licenses are in hand. A representative of the helicopter operation characterized the complaints as coming from a single individual and said further investigation would be needed in the field. The Taro helicopter operation was still in a “trial operation” period during which the impact of the aircraft is being studied and permits and licenses are being finalized. Helicopters have been operating form Taro since 2002, but were suspended after the Bali bombing, and reintroduced in 2015 with the purchase a new aircraft. Local officials visited the operation to consider first-hand the operation of a tourism helicopter and any possible negative effects on the surrounding area. Officials confirmed the helicopter hangar in Taro was built without the required building permit specifying its planned final use. Gianyar officials have issued an official order halting the helicopter operation from Taro until the company holds all the required permits and licenses.

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