Brisbane City Council is planning a three part zipline attraction at Mount Coot-tha, with construction to commence in late 2018. The project would be a for-profit venture operated by private company Zipline Australia. It would include The Treetop canopy tour (stage one), a single zipline 1.5km in length, moving between tree platforms located north of the Mt Coot-tha Summit and finishing immediately west of JC Slaughter Falls. The megazip (stage two) comprises six parallel cables leaving from a platform on the city side of the road in front of the Summit and terminating at the Melaluca lake, Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and there are platforms and launching areas proposed to facilitate this too. The third stage of the proposal is an Indigenous ‘Cultural Heritage Tour’ with a suspension bridge 335m in length and will link the tree top canopy tour to the arrival centre on Sir Samuel Griffith Drive.
This arrival area is to accommodate the administration and operations centre, bus parking and turnaround area plus hundreds of car parking spaces within the footprint of the existing car park. A zipline shuttle bus service will also run every 15 to 30 minutes on a continuous circuit between the arrival centre, the Summit, Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and the start of the Tree canopy tour. The general public will be excluded from the physical space for safety reasons; both alongside structures and under them, removing access to the heritage Summitt Track that is under suspension bridge. The project is located entirely within the Mt Coot-tha Trust Lands, held in trust for the people of Brisbane ‘as a site for public park and for no other purpose whatsoever’. BCC is the Trustee.
As the MP for Maiwar, my role is to facilitate community discussion and ask whether the proposed zipline is something the people of Brisbane actually want. After meeting with dozens of locals, it has become clear that the community response to the project as planned is overwhelmingly negative. As a result, I have been raising the community’s concerns in and outside of parliament throughout the past few months.
Despite Council’s purported commitment to create a “minimal impact on the environment and to respect and celebrate the ecological and cultural values of Mount Coot-tha”, the megazipline tourism attraction flies in the face of those promises. Although the Greens support to genuine eco-tourism, and despite the paucity of information made available by Council, this project appears to have serious flaws which cannot be greenwashed or overlooked.
I have prepared a brief summary of some of the most commonly expressed concerns.
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