Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island has been protected for over 100 years. Along its almost 100 km of coast are only two human-built structures: Cape Borda and Cape du Couedic lighthouses.
The five-day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail opened in 2016 with community consultation and agreement. The trail has four campsites and the original idea was that harder eco-friendly structures would be constructed nearby for softer walkers.
The four campsites are close to existing roads and discreetly located in secluded sites away from sensitive coastal habitats. However, the Department of Environment and Water has endorsed a proposal by the Australian Walking Company to develop two private luxury accommodation villages away from the trail:
- each has 10 substantial buildings, water tanks, lookouts and connecting paths
- they are located up to 2.5 km from the Wilderness Trail
- they are conspicuously placed on pristine coastal sites overlooking wild and remote beaches
- additional roads and walking tracks will be cleared through native vegetation
- they directly impact a number of nationally threatened species.
That’s impact at those fragile sites, impact in the extra trail length and impact from the service roads. And Sandy Creek hikers will arrive at their remote coastal destination to be overlooked by buildings on the headland.
‘The idea doesn’t stack up. It’s like saying the MCG needs a corporate box in the centre square to give well-heeled patrons a better view of the game.’
We do not oppose small-scale eco-sensitive accommodation located along the trail, close to existing roads, as allowed for in the Management Plan. We oppose:
- the location and scale of the proposed development, and
- that it blatantly disregards the binding Flinders Chase National Park Management Plan.
What do we want? The Environment Minister and his Department to listen to the community and return this development to the one specified in the Management Plan: i.e. small scale eco-accommodation along the trail, close to existing road access and away from the sensitive coastal zone.