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Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Tourism

TAS and federal govs ‘ignored expert advice’ in approving wilderness development

The attempt by some in government and business to open up World Heritage and other protected areas to commercial development has seen a long running campaign by those who fear that individual developments could be the ‘thin end of the wedge’ and open the door to much greater incursion.

Recently there has been substantial concern about plans to build a fly-in, fly-out luxury camp at Lake Malbena in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) on the Central Plateau. It is a remote location, to the south east of the famed Walls of Jerusalem area. The plan includes a helipad, accommodation, kitchen and toilet facilities.

Now, leaked documents show that Tasmania’s national parks advisory body argued against the controversial development which has been supported by both the State and Federal Governments.

Continue reading “TAS and federal govs ‘ignored expert advice’ in approving wilderness development”

Details of Dove Lake development revealed.

There has been a long process which will see a major development in the northern end of the Cradle Mountain Lakes St Clair national park in Tasmania. The state government has now released the Dove Lake Viewing Shelter Development Proposal and Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) for public comment.

This is the first release of plans for the shelter which is planned for Dove Lake. Other key components of the proposal are a redevelopment of the tourist ‘gateway’ facilities to the north and the building of a gondola/ cable car between the new tourist centre and Dove Lake (the cable car component of the plan got the green light in May when former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced $30 million for the project). The DPEIS will be on display for six weeks. According to the government, “feedback from the community will help refine the Development Approval that will be submitted to the Kentish Council. Once all approvals have been obtained, the construction works will be tendered late this year”.

Continue reading “Details of Dove Lake development revealed.”

Controversial Walls of Jerusalem camp approved by federal environment department

The new federal environment minister, Melissa Price, has approved a controversial proposal to allow ‘helicopter tourism’ and a small commercial operation inside the Walls of Jerusalem national park in Central Tasmania.

Having a new federal environment minister is an opportunity to hit the ‘reset’ button on particular issues that come under the minister’s jurisdiction. The decision to approve this application can only be seen as a disappointing early move from the new government under PM Scott Morrison.

The minister’s department considered ‘that the proposal is not likely to have significant impacts on any nationally protected environmental matters’. However the proposal includes plans for 120 helicopter flights a year on to Halls Island inside the park.

The final stage in the approvals process rests with the Central Highlands Council.

Continue reading “Controversial Walls of Jerusalem camp approved by federal environment department”

Will instagram ruin the outdoors? Or save your weekend?

A while ago, Outside magazine asked ‘Is Instagram Ruining the Great Outdoors?’

The gist of the question was whether our tendency to tag beautiful areas on social media was likely to drive more people to that area, and hence increase environmental impacts. “The great outdoors is all over social media. On Instagram, the hashtag #nature has been used more than 20 million times. Attach a geotag to your photo of last weekend’s campsite, and your followers can tramp to the exact same spot.

Some nature lovers worry about the downside to this: Is Instagram funneling hordes of people to places that can’t handle this crush of admirers? Are those filtered, perfectly tinted pics sending a message that people can always go where they want, when they want, and how they want?

Continue reading “Will instagram ruin the outdoors? Or save your weekend?”

Help stop planned ‘helicopter tourism’ in the Walls of Jerusalem

Tasmania is blessed with beautiful and intact landscapes and an impressive network of national parks. However, World Heritage Areas and national parks have long been targeted by developers who want to establish commercial tourist operations in a number of places (check here for a current list of proposed developments). One of these proposals would see helicopter tourism inside the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in central Tasmania at Halls Island in Lake Malbena.

You have a chance to say NO to this development.

Continue reading “Help stop planned ‘helicopter tourism’ in the Walls of Jerusalem”

Emerald Link film to be launched

East Gippsland is the only place on mainland Australia with continuous forests from the alps to the sea.

The vision to see the Emerald Link created seeks to protect this precious landscape and biodiversity and create a viable economic future based on nature tourism.

Last year, Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) shot a stunning film about the proposal. Produced by award winning cinematographer David Franjic from Colour Chorus. The Emerald Link film captures the wild beauty of East Gippsland’s forests and the stories of the people who love it. It is being launched on July 7.

Continue reading “Emerald Link film to be launched”

Construction of cable car at Dove Lake one step closer

There has been a long public debate about the re-development of the northern end of the Cradle Mountain Lakes St Clair national park. The Tasmanian government has previously approved a revitalisation of facilities, which will see a new “gateway precinct” for the park. This will happen outside the park boundary and is generally not seen as being contentious.

What is more contested is a proposal to build a cable car from the new ‘gateway precinct’ to Dove Lake.

It has now been announced that the government is “sounding out interests for a public-private partnership to undertake the redevelopment of the Cradle Mountain visitor centre, as part of its potentially $160 million “Cradle Mountain Master Plan” to give the area a much-needed facelift”.

Continue reading “Construction of cable car at Dove Lake one step closer”

UNESCO concerned at TAS Gov rezoning wilderness areas to allow development

Tasmania is blessed with beautiful and intact landscapes and excellent protection of much of the state. World Heritage Areas and national parks have long been coveted by developers and these attempts to open up parks to commercial interests have been resisted – with varying degrees of success – over the years.

Under the current very pro ‘development’ Liberal government in Tasmania there are no end of proposals for private developments in national parks and other parts of the conservation network (check here for a current list).

This is being resisted strongly by many in the Tasmanian community and it is now being criticised internationally.

Continue reading “UNESCO concerned at TAS Gov rezoning wilderness areas to allow development”

Mt Wellington cable car proposal hits another hurdle

As shown by the enormous rally held earlier this month, there is significant public opposition to the plan to build a cable up the face of kunayi/ Mt Wellington, in Hobart.

The owners of the Cascade Brewery have been under pressure to distance themselves from the project, as the proponent has been hoping to access land owned by Cascade in South Hobart to use as the base for the cable car.

It would appear that the proponent is now seeking to use a different route up the mountain. They have been informed that they will need reapply for government approval if they decide to do so.

Continue reading “Mt Wellington cable car proposal hits another hurdle”

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