Proposed Sunshine Coast thrill ride raises environmental ire

Pictures of a zipline which has been built in Tasmania.
Pictures of a zipline which has been built in Tasmania. 

A proposed $150 a pop thrill ride through Sunshine Coast hinterland forest has community groups fuming.

The zipline idea, if built in Obi Obi Gorge in Kondalilla National Park, would shoot thrillseekers up to 80km/hr along 1000 to 1500 metres of steel cable supported by platforms attached to old growth trees 15-800 metres apart.

At a Montville meeting on April 10, community groups raised concerns about the State Government-approved plan.

Pictures of a zipline which has been built in Tasmania.
Pictures of a zipline which has been built in Tasmania. 

The Nature Conservation Act was changed to allow commercial ventures in Queensland’s national parks, which led to a call for tenders in two stages.

The first stage, a call for expressions of interest, closed February 28. A short-list of proponents will now be asked to submit a more detailed application.

Deborah Davis from the Montville Village Association said: “Some of the benefits for Montville are that the project will open up a different type of tourism for the area, provide a much needed adventure-based tourism activity for the Sunshine Coast and raise awareness of the Great Walk and the National Park.”

On the flipside, she said, were parking woes and potential noise issues.

National Parks Association representative Paul Donatiu questioned whether zipline would threaten animals, including two endangered birds and koalas.

“The forest has a closed canopy," he said. "To open up lines for the Zipline means that there will have to be some trimming of vegetation and some changes to the canopy habitat."

Conondale Range Committee president Ian Mackay said: “The zipline benefits from placement in the National Park, obviously that’s what’s drawn it to there. But I don’t think the reverse is true. The National Park does not benefit in any way from the zipline.”

Sunshine Coast Environmental Council representative Narelle McCarthy said: “We are in a period of biodiversity decline, so now more than ever we need to assure that our national parks are the cornerstones of conservation and not compromise them any further. They are the last refuge for many of our threatened flora and fauna species and a refuge for people.”

Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing Steve Dickson knocked back invitations to speak at the meeting.

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