Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Resort expansion plans sprawl across Kosciuszko National Park

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness today accused the NSW Government of attempting to create four new resort nodes in Koscisuzko National Park. The new resort expansion nodes are Bullock's Flat, Sponars Chalet, Ski Rider and Mountain Retreat as listed in the Alpine Resorts Plan.

"In the biggest attack on the institution of national parks in NSW ever, the exposure draft of the Alpine Resorts Plan flags eight resorts for further overnight accommodation, and two resorts would become large towns. The number of year round resorts in the park also rises from one to eight. Planning Minister Craig Knowles must reject this plan as a massive over development of our largest national park," said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation.

"If you wanted a good example of why you never allow town planners to take control national parks, then you shouldn't go any further than the Alpine Resorts Plan. The Plan allows major resort expansion at Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, the Perisher Range (amalgamating the former Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega now slated as one big resort) being transformed into a town operating on a year round basis like Thredbo, as well as more accommodation development at the so-called 'minor resorts' of Bullock's Flat, Sponars Chalet, Ski Rider and Mountain Retreat", Mr Muir said.

"At Mount Selwyn, as well as all the other resorts above the snowline, there is provision for further ski slope development. This means that more alpine vegetation, including Snow Gums and granite boulder fields, would be bulldozed in the national park under this Plan" he said.

"As you would expect, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources has developed lots of detailed planning provisions for regulating resorts building, including, believe it or not, multi-storey development of Sponars Chalet so as to 'achieve compatibility with the existing buildings', creating ribbon development along the Kosciuszko Road. Yet the Department has virtually no provisions for the regulation of clearing in the national park, simply because town planners have no feel for national park management, said Mr Muir.

"The Department is treating Kosciuszko National Park as if it were any other land. There should be no more development in the park, its already over-developed and bulldozing Snow Gums and the like in the national park should be out of the question. At least the Department of Environment and Conservation, and not the Planning Department, should be in control of clearing in the national park," he said.

"In addition, the Department has created confusion about the basic information. If you go to the Departmental web site it says "The Alpine Resorts Plan is on exhibition jointly with the Kosciuszko Plan of Management Review. Submissions Close Tuesday 17 August 2004.” If you read the printed matter on the Plan, the deadline is today.

"The Colong Foundation has written to Planning Minister, Craig Knowles, to confirm that the three month comment on the exposure draft Alpine Resorts Plan will end on August 17 as published on the website. The Minister should at least give the citizens of NSW time to have a say, instead of closing off comment before anyone has grasped the reality of these massive resort expansion plans, said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)