Walking SA has concerns about the development of private operator facilities by the Australian Walking Company on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail [reference source].
We believe that appropriate and full consultation with all stakeholders is an essential part of any project that has community impact. We also highlight that any development of a wilderness area will have a detrimental impact upon the experience of those visiting the region. Any infrastructure should be of minimal impact on the local environment and the balance found between maintaining the environment and the walking activity that is being enhanced.
We’ve sent a letter highlighting our concerns to David Speirs MP, Minister for Environment and Water.
Key extracts of the letter are below, or view the full letter.
Walking SA believes that appropriate consultation with key stakeholders is an essential part of any project that has community impact. As a member of Friends of Parks we are concerned that the Friends of Parks communities on Kangaroo Island have not had their voice heard in an appropriate manner for the further development planned on the island contracted to the Australian Walking Company.
Walking SA has previously acknowledged the work done by your department in the establishment of the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. In fact the trail was recognised in our Walking SA Walking Awards of 2016 and we have been a strong advocate of the trail at our events, on our website and through social media.
We also welcome the development of experiences that allow more demographics of people to enjoy walking, however if this is perceived to be exclusive we believe this should not be to the detriment of the broader community.
Walking SA is aware of the rising tension across Australia at present in regard to the perceived development of commercial operators infrastructure on public trails. Walking SA’s member clubs and the walking community in general believe in the “leave no trace” approach to the environment that we walk through. Any infrastructure should be of minimal impact on the local environment and the balance found between maintaining the environment and the walking activity that is being enhanced.
Walking SA also raises that any development of a wilderness area will have a detrimental impact upon the experience of those visiting the region.
Walking SA strongly encourages you as Minister to ensure there is a process for
- The Friends of Parks communities on Kangaroo Island and other concerned citizens to have their views heard on this development, and
- that the Department in consultation with the Kangaroo Island community work collaboratively to achieve an outcome with the Australian Walking Company that minimises the impact on the pristine Kangaroo Island environment.