For anyone who might have missed the memo, the Brisbane City Council is planning to build a three part zipline attraction at Mount Coot-tha. The project is supposed to commence construction later this year and will comprise of a Treetop Canopy Walk, a six line ‘Mega Zip’ and an Indigenous ‘Cultural Heritage Tour’ with a suspension bridge.
Over the past few months, local residents and community organisers have been joining forces to raise some serious concerns about the proposed project. My office has been listening to these concerns, helping to liase with State Government and Local Council officials, and helping to facilitate community action.
One of the greatest concerns expressed by residents is the almost complete lack of community consultation by Council. The only consultation so far has been just 4 information sessions, over 10 days, after the tender for the project had been awarded. Yet, community members have a lot to say when it comes to the zipline. In March, our office helped to coordinate a community form that was attended by well over 100 passionate locals. It was a refreshing change to have this discussion, where they could express their concerns and raise their questions in earnest, with both Council representatives and the preferred tenderer in attendance.
Community members and experts are concerned with many aspects of the proposal. There are significant concerns over the impacts the project would have on the wildlife and ecosystems on the mountain, especially given the the lack of sufficient environmental assessment being undertaken by Council. Another significant issue is the threat of bushfires in the region, and the risks associated with erosion and deforestation, especially as we see the impacts of climate change intensify. Many community members have raised concerns about the potential conflicts of interest, given that Council is both the proponent and the assessment manager. Fundamentally, a core objection to the project is over turning this communal, shared green space into a privatised and commercialised venture, that will cost over $100 to ride, and may indeed change the inherent character of the Mountain and the Botanic Gardens.
There is a big population of locals who have serious concerns about the project. There is a pervasive misapprehension that it is already too late to have a say or to make any significant impact on the development proposal. Yet in actuality, a development application is yet to be submitted, and the time for community members to present submission is ahead of us.
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