27 February 2019
Listen to your Friends!
The state’s peak environment body has urged the Department for Environment and Water and the Australian Walking Company to explore other options for accommodation for the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail in the Flinders Chase National Park, as the backlash against a proposed private development there grows.
The call comes as the Friends of Flinders Chase National Park have gone on an unprecedented strike, and a range of Friends of National Parks groups hold a protest rally on the steps of Parliament House today against the development.
“Friends groups across the state do an incredible amount of volunteer work looking after our Parks on behalf of all of us,” said Conservation SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins.
“They happily pour their hearts and souls year after year out of the public eye into protecting our precious nature spaces. For them to go on a strike for the first time in their history, and organise protest rallies, shows the depth of their disappointment, anger and frustration.
“It’s time for the private developer and the Environment Department to scrap the current plans and start talking to the community about a better alternative,” he said.
The Australian Walking Company has been given exclusive rights to develop luxury accommodation in the Flinders Chase National Park on the far west coast of KI. Although aimed at walkers who use the KI Wilderness Trail, the company has decided to locate their resort kilometres away from the Trail in the middle of a previously undisturbed coastal wilderness area.
The accommodation development at Flinders Chase is the first of a series of potential private developments in national parks across the state. Friends Groups fear it sets a dangerous precedent of sacrificing environmental values for economic return.
“Friends of Parks are not just another ordinary stakeholder. They deserve to be involved far earlier in the process, and because they know the land so well, the final result is likely to be much better.
“Equally, as this development is on public land, we should expect far greater transparency.
“Environment Minister David Speirs should welcome today’s rally. It’s a great sign that there is a wide range of people across our state who care passionately about our National Parks and are committed to their long term protection,” he said.
Flinders Chase National Park Rally Today (Wed 27th): 12.30pm, Parliament House
For further comment: Craig Wilkins, 0417 879 439