BOLD PLAN: Tasmanian Walking Company is looking to build an eco-tourism lodge at Lake Rodway, under the foothills of Mt Emmett in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
JENNIFER CRAWLEY, Mercury
TASMANIA’S best known eco-tourism group is one step closer to building a remote lodge in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
Tasmanian Walking Company’s Cradle Base Camp lodge at Lake Rodway, under the foothills of Mt Emmett, will house up to 24 guests and employ three permanent and 34 casual staff.
A project manager and planning team have signed on for the ambitious project, which is the closest to fruition of the four TWC projects in the State Government’s expression of interest process for tourism in national parks.
The project has advanced to the lease and licence stage.
“We think that they are all good ideas but if we put all those products on the market at the same time it’s unsustainable,” TWC general manager Heath Garratt said.
The site is only accessible by foot and the lodge will be built with prefabricated materials to minimise site disturbance. All materials will be flown into the area by helicopter.
“The aim is to be able to potentially remove every building material from site and remediate the area,” he said.
The Greens oppose the TWC proposal because it is “smack in the middle of a national park”.
“This is a lodge, not low-impact tourism,” Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said.
The lodge at Lake Rodway is within the recreation zone of the World Heritage Area Management Plan but is outside the existing day walk and Overland Track areas.
TWC has yet to submit a development application with the local council or a reserve activity assessment with Parks and Wildlife because they are still working with Parks to determine the most suitable site, Mr Garratt said.
“There are significant checks and balances in place given we are looking at a World Heritage Area, national park and an incredibly special area,” Mr Garratt said.
“This has caused – and will continue to cause – delays but we welcome them.”
Mr Garratt said the TWC vision was to transport guests who were keen to immerse themselves in a wilderness experience but who were not happy to “tent it”.
“That’s why we are keen to have commercial infrastructure in national parks. We want to take the client into national parks who wouldn’t otherwise go. They can have a hot shower, a glass of wine and a three course meal – they are guided safely.”
Source : The Mercury