4,000 people have their say on skyways

This week the Mount Buffalo Skyways Task Force passed a significant milestone - having consulted with more than 4,000 people about the project.

This includes 3,500 national and international visitors as well as 500 local residents of the Alpine Shire. The consultation was carried out through meetings with community groups, interested individuals, an on-line survey on www.mtbuffaloskyways.com.au and by sending out electronic newsletters to a database of previous visitors to the region.

Chair of the Task Force, Sabine Helsper, announced the results of the preliminary assessment of responses from visitors and residents.

She said 64% or 137 out of 214 respondents had supported the idea of a gondola or cable car to the top of Mount Buffalo. Another 57 or 27% had opposed the idea, and 20 or 9% had said they were unsure.

"We are delighted at the way both the community and visitors have participated in the survey, and we expect to receive many more responses as the consultation program continues over the next two months," she said.

The top five reasons given by tourists for supporting the concept, in order of response numbers were:-

  • Growth in the number of tourists to the region
  • Revitalisation and reopening of the Chalet
  • Easier access to the top of Mount Buffalo and its plateau
  • Growth of local employment and investment
  • The success of other gondolas and cable cars around Australia and internationally

The top five reasons given by tourists opposing the concept, in order of response numbers were:-

  • Defacement of Mount Buffalo with visual scars
  • Environmental impacts of various kinds
  • Lack of project viability and creation of a white elephant
  • Preservation of parks for their natural beauty, not tourism activities
  • Waste of money, including Shire funds

Ms Helsper said respondents who were unsure were mostly seeking further information, particularly on issues relating to potential defacement of the cliff and rock faces. Others said the project might be too ambitious and had too little gain.

"One trend was very noticeable. Residents of the region were more strongly in favour of the project than those living outside the region, " she said.

"At public meetings of community organizations like Bright and District Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Probus and Lions, there has been outspoken support for the project, and many of the questions asked have related to viability, timing and cost. We do not know the answers to these questions at the moment because this will depend upon an initial feasibility study which we are attempting to arrange. When the full survey and consultation results are complete we shall announce them to those who have participated, and also to various Government Ministers, bodies and departments."

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