Hundreds of people attended a community meeting at Coles Bay on the state's east coast to discuss the State Government’s Freycinet Master Plan this morning.
The Freycinet Action Network says a Revised Draft Freycinet Peninsula Master Plan has been published and is open for public consultation until the end of the month. The revised plan attempts to resolve the issue of overcrowding by managing the movement of tourists through the Park, rather than dealing with the actual issue of visitor numbers.
“Freycinet is a place that is much-loved by locals and visitors alike, but its values and the experience it offers are suffering under unprecedented attention,” said Sophie Underwood, spokesperson for the Freycinet Action Network.
“The Master Plan tries to improve safety and traffic issues, but there’s little in it that is aimed at managing numbers to protect the visitor experience and park values."
“The Revised Plan should at least identify a pathway to ensure that the carrying capacity of Freycinet National Park is established and enforced. The main source of overcrowding is visitor numbers and discussing ways to address that have been blocked from the outset."
She says limiting the number of visitors to sensitive, special natural and cultural heritage areas is a common management strategy around the world. In Tasmania there are caps on the number of walkers on the Overland Track.
"The community rejected the Freycinet Master Plan until an independent assessment of carrying capacity of the park is carried out and the plan is modified to reflect this."
Other concerns about the Master Plan include:
- The Master Plan fails to further the objectives of the Freycinet Management Plan as it does not protect the park’s values.
- The construction of a jetty and associated infrastructure in front of the Hazards will significantly impact the iconic visual landscape and create significant noise pollution and further impact the natural soundscape.
- The Master Plan fails to deal with the controversial issues of helicopter-tourism on the Peninsula.
10 Motions were moved and passed by the meeting today. They include:
- The community rejected the Freycinet Master Plan until an independent assessment of carrying capacity of the park is carried out.
- That the gravel pull off zone on the corner of the Coles Bay Road and the Tasman Hwy remain for safety of buses and longer vehicles and to encourage Carpooling/bike riding options.
- Commended the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to end cruise ship visits to Wineglass Bay.
- The community rejected the Master Plan proposal to industrialise the bay of Coles Bay.
- That there should be no new jetty built in front of the Hazards to maintain the view shed from Coles Bay.
- The independent assessment into carrying capacity specifically includes looking at a visitor cap and charges for visitors.