Luring anglers again and again
LAKE MALBENA TOURISM
GREG French’s analysis of the flawed government approval process for the proposed Lake Malbena tourist development is spot on (Talking Point, November 8). As an angler who has been walking into the Western Lakes for over 20 years, I know the values that draw me back time and again. Much more than the fishing, it is the pristine environment, the tranquillity, the sense of being far from civilisation, and of having put in so many gruelling hours to get there. Above all, it is the utter absence of sights and sounds of the city. For me, the intrusive sight and sound of a helicopter would destroy those qualities. And you can see a helicopter at 1000 metres from a very long way. The Malbena proposal involves 120 helicopter flights each summer. And that project is only a start.
Of 10 such projects being considered for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, five involve helipads. That’s potentially 600 chopper flights degrading the TWWHA every summer. And all for what? The Malbena proposal promises three full-time-equivalent jobs. Does that measly benefit in any way compensate for what will be lost? like Greg French. Few non-anglers would appreciate that the revered Western Lakes experience is all about getting there. Hiking, navigating, camping and enduring, in a wild and inhospitable “land of a thousand lakes”. Few would object to improved facilities on Halls Island. The issue for anglers is helicopter access and the precedent for other remote Western Lakes hut leases, the ultimate fear being full-scale heli-fishing in the Western Lakes.
The compromise seems so obvious. Develop basic eco-facilities at the site, fly or drive guests to the WHA boundary near Olive Lagoon (the traditional four-wheel drive access point) and walk them in. This way visitors might appreciate the experience. The proponents operate an awardwinning camp at Lake Ina on this basis. It is a pleasant walk requiring only moderate fitness. And yes, I have been there numerous times, and stayed in Reg Hall’s quaint hut. And yes, I know something about all this, having been the principal investigator commissioned to prepare a Draft Trout Fishery Management Plan for the Western Lakes WHA back in 1990-1991. of the natural environment is spoiled by the sight and sound of helicopters, and our wilderness area is being locked up, and restricted, no longer a natural environment, in the name of tourism.
I SUPPORT Greg French on helicopter flights over world heritage areas. They can have a massive disturbance effect on wildlife. This varies not only between species, but between individuals. The only exception should be for search and rescue purposes. If this project can’t operate without helicopters it must be cancelled, or limited to those who can carry their own gear in. That’s the way it used to be, and it shouldn’t be changed for the sake of the mighty dollar.
Chalk and cheese
I READ Greg French’s and Luke Martin’s articles and at no stage does Luke mention the word helicopter. I totally agree with Luke that “conservation and sensible tourism can go hand in hand” but only if managed in the right hands. Choppers and sensitive environs such as Lake Malbena are like cheese and chalk and I am in no way shape or form a “greenie”. Tasmania is a trout fishers’ “promised land” from streams to rivers and lakes but there is something very special in fishing the Western Lakes in peace and tranquillity devoid of overhead engine noise.
Good to see more beds
NICE to see they have some more beds at the jail. If they keep going they’ll have more beds than the hospital.
Compromise on offer
I READ the Talking Points by Greg French and Luke Martin concerning the development at Lake Malbena. Mr Martin said those against wouldn’t compromise yet Mr French suggested one. Makes me wonder who the inflexible group is …
BUILD more prisons and they will come. And in this drugaddled country of ours, prison construction must surely rank among its most viable economic growth opportunities.
Latham and Hanson
MARK Latham joins Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. That’s going to end well.
Right path for Mark
HOW far Right can Mark Latham go? If Ghengis Khan had a party he would join it. Maybe a reaction to the Machiavellian nature of the Labor Party.