“The draft Blue Mountains Destination Management Plan on public exhibition turns its back on the ‘City within a World Heritage National Park’ vision to spruik inappropriate development of national park land the likes of which hasn’t been seen for fifty years,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.
“The Stafford Group, consultants for the draft Tourism Plan, lists many organisations they consulted, including Council, but they mustn’t have consulted well. Everyone would have told them their proposal to replace the Govetts Leap picnic ground with 8 to 10 private chalets would cause a public riot, with the local SES ensuring it stayed well organised,” Mr Muir said.
“A resort proposal at Govetts Leap has not been seen since the 1960s Oswald Ziegler ‘Pioneer Village’ proposal. This sort of profit before national park protection is a throwback to the anti-conservation dark ages”, said Mr Muir.
Solitary no more
“Other proposals the draft tourist plan promotes are cabins or glamping tents at Ruined Castle, beside the Kedumba River below Mt Solitary and on the old Leura sewerage treatment site below the Leura Falls lookout. These sites are to make up a Great Walk but tourists at lookouts might think these national park developments weren’t so great,” he said.
“The draft Destination Management Plan also has proposals for large-scale 250 bed resort and a six hectare tourist park all aimed at doubling visitor expenditure. The draft plan is just a sloppy set of “good idea” copycat proposals that would, if adopted, degrade the region’s natural assets,” Mr Muir said.
“The Colong Foundation calls on Council to reject the plan and work to liberate the imagination of those visitors now directed towards Sydney-based day tours, so that they instead can enjoy several days of walks, adventures, tours, rides, cultural events and restaurant meals that the Blue Mountains’ World Heritage vision offers”, said Mr Muir.
For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)
Direct link to draft Blue Mountains destination management plan (11MB)
Graphic image above is an artists impression from the draft destination management plan of how Govetts Leap Picnic Ground might look like with private chalets on it.