Town to ‘ die without tower’
Party vows to protect Jimna icon
LOVERS of heights and local history are pegging their hopes on One Nation holding the balance of power in the next Queensland parliament if they want to see the historic Jimna Fire Tower saved.
To date Pauline Hanson’s party is the only organisation to promise to reopen the tower and surrounding state forest.
Jimna Fire Tower Action Group secretary Dave Wright said opening the tower would lead to growth in tourism.
“Both major parties in Queensland have ignored us,” Mr Wright said.
“We had a rally a couple of months ago. ( Queensland One Nation leader) Steve Dickson, ( Nanango candidate) Douglas Grant and ( Lockyer candidate) Jim Savage were here.
“These people have to be held accountable and we are desperately trying to get the tower saved.”
Mr Wright reckons it would cost about $ 800,000 to fix the tower and make it safe for tourists to climb.
This money would come from charging people to climb the tower to take photos.
“Before it was closed we had 30,000 people climbing the tower each year,” Mr Wright said.
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington disagreed with the estimated figure.
“To make it fit for public use, without cables or anchors, would require a substantial financial input of more than $ 1 million,” she said.
The tower is the largest three- pole wooden fire tower in the southern hemisphere, standing 47m high.
Without the tower and its tourist dollars, Mr Wright reckons Jimna will fade away.
Changes to forestry laws and the decline in the timber industry have led to an exodus of residents.
The school, shops and timber mills have now all closed.
Mr Wright said this was indicative of rural towns across the state.
“The issue here is the access to, and management of, state forest and national parks,” he said.
“I’m talking about prospecting, bushwalking, hunting, camping, fishing and bird watching.
“That’s an issue LNP and Labor have never put on the table.”
The closure left the forestry in a woeful condition.
“Everyone is a little bit green, we all care about the environment but we don’t lock the forests up and tell people not to come here,” he said.
HIGH HOPES: Jimna Fire Tower Action Group secretary Dave Wright wants promises from each political party to save the tower.