The Scenic Rim Trail proposal – our concerns
The Gainsdale Scenic Rim trail development proposal has the potential to effectively privatise a significant section of Main Range National Park.
We believe there has been inadequate consultation on this proposed development. Comprehensive consultation would have revealed that this proposed trail would diminish the integrity of one of south east Queensland's few off track walking opportunities. NPAQ’s own consultations shows that information about this proposal was hard to find, hard to understand, lacked clarity and under-represented impacts. For example, participants in the consultation stated that it was not clear that the proposed cabins would be built within the world heritage area, as was the component of the proposal to introduce motorised buggies in the protected area.
Further, the service track to the proposed Woodcutter’s EcoCabins bisects the Endangered Hastings River Mouse habitat and was not shown on the map that presented impacts on the species. This downplayed impacts related to a significant increase in vehicle traffic.
NPAQ has provided a submission on the Federal EPBC referral – you can read our submission here.
NPAQ and others who made submissions were only notified of the Consultation report through an ad in the Courier Mail – Gainsdale did not respond directly to submissions. For example, in their consultation report they noted our concerns about an increase vehicle traffic but provided no detail on how they would mitigate this impact. Genuine consultation should involve a greater level of consideration for items raised and steps to address concerns.
We have detailed concerns about this proposal and they include:
1. Will the track change the integrity of the World Heritage Area?
This largely pristine area is part of the Gondwana Rainforest World Heritage Area and known for off track walking and camping by small numbers of visitors.
2. Lack of clarity in the consultation process.
Unclear mapping has made understanding and assessing impacts difficult (e.g. clearly defining existing versus new infrastructure within the context of the National Park and World Heritage Area boundaries). Until the public can understand the project clearly, effective consultation and a real assessment of the impact of this proposal is extremely difficult.
3. Why have alternatives to the project not been considered?
For example: why not place the camp outside the National Park boundary?
Why are there two camps only 2.5km apart (as the crow flies)?
Why not consider providing temporary infrastructure (e.g. luxury tents erected ahead of groups) to reduce capital investment and impacts on the National Park and World Heritage Area and National Heritage Values?
How will liquid waste be handled?
Until these harm minimisation questions are addressed impacts cannot be assessed.
We would very much like your thoughts on this proposal – feel free to leave a comment below.