Lur­ing an­glers again and again

LAKE MALBENA TOURISM

Mercury (Hobart) - - YOUR VOICE - Mike Di­mond Black­mans Bay Bob Hold­er­ness-Rod­dam Austins Ferry Chris Davey Lind­is­farne Stan Forbes Bat­tery Point James Hamil­ton Bel­lerive Michael McCall Prim­rose Sands David O’Hal­lo­ran North Ho­bart Joseph Va­gunda Ta­roona

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.

Dis­turb­ing wildlife

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 …

Prison busi­ness

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.

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