Customers risk scraping bums on Brisbane zipline

TOPOGRAPHICAL data of Mt Coot-tha has revealed two hills right in the middle of the route of what is proposed to be, by far, the longest zipline in Australia.

Council’s preferred tenderer, Zipline Australia, plans to build a megazipline from near the Summit Lookout to the botanic gardens.

But State Government topographic data shows two hills about halfway along the 1158m-long main span.

An engineering report seen by Westside News calculates that sagging of the six parallel cables would cause them to closely follow the ground contours, so they would run through the forest rather than above it for most of the span.

That would necessitate removing or trimming hundreds of trees and the cables would come perilously close to the tops of the two hills.

At one of those hills, heavy riders might come within centimetres of the ground unless measures were taken to raise the cables.

And the only ways to avoid mass tree clearing or trimming would be to use extremely high tension in the cables or to build very high launch and landing structures, blocking views from the Summit Lookout.

The main span could also be divided into one or two stages.

But that approach would mean customers would have to be unclipped, and clipped back on, at “stations’’, hindering the high-speed thrill factor of the ride.

Greens MP for Maiwar, Michael Berkman, said Council had revealed very little detail on the project, including tree clearing.

State Greens MP for Maiwar, Michael Berkman. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

“A lot of people are concerned at the loss of amenity on Mt Coot-tha which might occur,’’ he said.

“Much of that surrounds tree clearing but there’s not much information at this point on clearing from the council.

“If there is substantial clearing required that will upset local residents and could explain their reluctance to release more detail and the delays in Council filing the development application (to itself),’’ he said.

Nearby residents are also concerned about noise and traffic impacts.

Others say it compromises Mt Coot-tha’s core value as a wildlife and flora reserve.

Westside wildlife ecologist Peter Hale said any widescale clearing along the megazipline route would “change the whole structure of the forest if trees were to go, or needed trimming’’.

“This was obvious to me, with just my basic knowledge,’’ Dr Hale said.

“The Council’s artists impressions bear no relation to reality and there will be scars across the landscape which would affect essential habitat, under the state Vegetation Management Act, and what is an essential wildlife corridor.

Environment, Parks and Sustainability chairman Cr David McLachlan said the zip line design was still being finalised however the project would meet stringent environmental conditions.

"The detailed design of the zipline will be released when the development application is finalised and lodged, however, the megazip won’t result in any tree clearing underneath the zip line spans because the megazip will travel above the canopy of the trees,” Cr McLachlan said.

“Council’s top priority is the preservation of the Mt Coot-tha and there will be no tree-clearing for the cables and very minimal impacts around the launching area.

“As the State Government has recognised, ecotourism is one of the fastest growing tourism industries and the zipline will help support more than 64,000 local tourism jobs while providing a unique way to experience Brisbane’s natural habitat.”

July 11, 2018

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