But now a building permit has been issued by the investment office of the Badung Regency administration and construction work is expected to start shortly.
The proposed redevelopment would hold a complex that would seat 353 people.
Association chairman David Napoli said that back in 2010, the owners had initially put the price of the 800-square-metre block of land at $26 million.
“A memorial on the roof is just not feasible. It’s an outrageous idea, people with disabilities would have trouble getting up there, no one would see it up there, and the price is unbelievable. It’s outrageous,” he said.
Australian Bali bombing survivor Jan Laczynski said a previous Bali governor had promised him, on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, that the site would never be redeveloped.
“This is staggering and really it has come out of the blue. We were always hopeful a peace park would be built on the site,” he said.
“So many people, so many Australians lost their lives there. Each year when we come back to the site it is a painful memory for so many people.”
“It’s bizarre, the idea that you would work through restaurants and nightclubs to get to a memorial, it’s just bizarre. To put a five-storey building there and pretend like it has never happened is just awful.”
Lina, who like other Indonesians goes by just one name, also survived the attacks. She said she had been part of a delegation that met with the owners about the proposal on Thursday morning to express their concerns about the development.
“I am not happy because it is very dangerous if the Bali Peace Park is on the rooftop,” she said.
“Especially when people are coming in the evening, it is not great to have to go to the rooftop.”
Komariah who runs a small food outlet at the site said “we were told on April 21 by a local official that we have to clear everything by May 5”.
“We’ve been here since seven years ago … They put up that [building permit] sign just last night.”
A memorial to the bombing victims has been built where Paddy’s Bar once stood across the road from the Sari Club. The bar was destroyed by a suicide bomber, while the club was destroyed by a car bomb. The attacks were conducted by members of terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which has links to al-Qaeda.
Bianca Visser, who was on holidays from Perth, said there were already too many nightclubs and restaurants on the strip.
“I think they can keep this one place sacred. Maybe built a statue, a memorial and keep it sacred.”
Tata, a spokesman for the Indonesian Foreign Ministry deflected questions from the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age about the development.
“I don’t know about it but I think it has to be checked with the Bali provincial government,” Tata said.
Asked if building a restaurant and nightclub was disrespectful to those who had died, the spokesman again said “we have to check it with the provincial government, why it decided to build a restaurant there”.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have attempted to contact the owners of the site and the Balinese government for comment.
James Massola is south-east Asia correspondent, based in Jakarta. He was previously chief political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in Canberra. He has been a Walkley and Quills finalist on three occasions.
Amilia Rosa is Assistant Indonesia Correspondent for Fairfax Media.
Karuni Rompies is Assistant Indonesia Correspondent for Fairfax Media.