Monday, November 24, 2014


The following letter was sent to The Gold Coast Bulletin on 25 November 2014. It is reproduced here as past history has shown that it is unlikely to be published.

It was with some alarm, concern and bemusement that the reported statement from the mayor of the Gold Coast was read:
·           The cableway to Springbrook should be supported as it will open up Springbrook to everyone including the disabled as it is currently locked up selfishly by green groups and where they blocked it last time saying pristine land could not be touched there are now 10000 homes

This quote is apparently from a speech the mayor gave to the Gold Coast North Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is true? It is hard to believe that any civic leader might have said this.

One never likes to be blunt, but this statement looks plain silly. To suggest that Springbrook has been deliberately kept remote and isolated from all, including in particular those persons with a disability, by some mythical ‘greenies,’ appears to be nonsense. Springbrook is World Heritage listed by UNESCO for its unique biodiversity. It is extremely important for the world, not some arbitrary, whimsical plaything for any ‘greenies,’ selfish, self-interested or otherwise, to indulge in with romantic fantasies. World Heritage brings with it obligations to care for listed places.

The statement looks like a random grab for clichés when there is nothing else to argue: greenies; disabilities; development precedent. Anyone can travel to Springbrook at any time. There are no restrictions other than that one should look after this place; treat it carefully; respect it. It is the expectation of ordinary responsibility that is not peculiar to Springbrook. National Parks boasts about the large numbers of visitors Springbrook currently receives. Even the Gold Coast City Council has said that it has counted thousands of users a week at its new facilities at Apple Tree Flat. The suggestion is that the numbers of tourists arriving at Springbrook could already have reached saturation, but no one seems to know just what the resident/visitor capacity of Springbrook might be before it begins to irretrievably degrade.

As for disabled persons being excluded, one has ask if National Parks has been wasting its time and money constructing accessible paths and facilities in Springbrook National Park if persons with disabilities are unable to travel to the region because of the terrible ‘greenies.’

On housing developments, one would have to get the mayor to identify just where he believes the 10,000 homes in environmentally sensitive areas that he refers to with what looks like some latent mocking satisfaction, have been built. There are certainly not 10,000 new homes at Springbrook or in its vicinity. Based one the little information that is available, there does not seem to be such a number of buildings anywhere near the proposed cableway route. Instead of appearing to boast about having approved the development of pristine areas with some covert smugness - the mayor does not seem to lament his ‘fact’ - one might have hoped that Council could have had better control of this apparent circumstance and protected these environmentally sensitive areas.

Has Council been negligent? One wonders why there is a ‘green levy,’ an “Open Space Charge” that is “planned to assist the City to purchase land of specific environmental significance so that the city’s natural environment, as well as threatened native plant and animal species, can be protected and preserved,” if important pristine areas are simply approved as zones for large developments? What is the intent here?

There is something ironic, irrational and bizarre in this mayoral statement that puzzles as it saddens. What on earth does it have to do with the cableway proposal other than to reveal a grasping at straws? It seems that the strange struggle for rationalisations in the mayor’s reported statement only highlights why a cableway to Springbrook should never be constructed. The concept appears to have no logic or need other than offering some new toy for tourism that has no interest at all in our very special, pristine World Heritage region other than perhaps as a promotional tool. UNESCO should be concerned, as should everyone who cares for the future of our special places.

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