Seminar debates zipline proposal

THE concept of a zipline ecotourism activity for the Sunshine Coast has been welcomed but some community groups are questioning the proposed location in Kondalilla National Park.

The zipline, now in stage two of the tender process after expressions of interest closed on February 28, would be situated in Obi Obi Gorge.

While the idea of a zipline has the support of the hinterland business and tourism community and Sunshine Coast Environment Council, SCEC has raised concerns about the location and the impact the venture could have on the national park.

The National Parks Association of Queensland will hold a public seminar in Montville on Thursday where a panel of three speakers will present a variety of perspectives followed by public discussion.

Montville Chamber of Commerce president Shiralee Cooper is in favour of the zipline and says the eco-tourism experience will bring a new demographic of visitors to Montville.

"It's going to give us a point of difference for the entire Sunshine Coast," Ms Cooper said.

Ms Cooper said the zipline would not impact on the forest floor and could provide an educational experience for visitors.

"I'm hoping ... some of the cultural history of the indigenous people and a lot of interesting facts about the animals and tree species will be embraced and that it will be an educational experience as well as a wonderful chance to actually become in tune with the forest itself," she said.

Hinterland Tourism Sunshine Coast president Christine Kardash had the opportunity to visit an existing zipline in Tasmania's Hollybank Forest as part of a familiarisation tour and said her organisation supported the zipline in principle.

"The experience is an amazing mix of exhilaration and peace and quiet," she said.

"The proposed placement of the zipline is on the edge of the national park and the impact on the forest seems minimal."

SCEC spokeswoman Narelle McCarthy agreed a zipline would be beneficial for hinterland tourism, but said the location was not right.

"The issue that SCEC has about the zipline is that no other area has been really considered to support this type of activity outside of our national park.

"The idea of a zipline is something that could be supported in areas outside of national parks."

National Parks Association of Queensland executive co-ordinator Paul Donatiu said he shared SCEC's concerns that a zipline could negatively impact on the national park.

The public seminar will be from 7.15pm in Montville Hall, on the corner of Memorial Close and Main St. Cost is $5.

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