A Development Application for the Dove Lake Viewing Shelter is now available on the Kentish Council website (look under “current planning applications”). This proposal has already received approval under the Parks and Wildlife Service’s Reserve Activity Assessment (RAA) and the Federal Government has determined that it does not require assessment under the EPBC Act. The proposal was previously subject to public consultation during the RAA process – the one minor but welcome outcome was the removal of the proposed kiosk – but the nature of the development is still highly inappropriate.
The TNPA supports the provision of better visitor facilities at Dove Lake, but not the construction of the monolithic building proposed (see architect’s visualisation above – that’s Marions Lookout behind). It appears to be modelled on a second world war coastal defence bunker and is designed to transform the experience of visiting Dove Lake into a view from indoors, through a window – this is not what national parks are all about!
Unfortunately all our concerns expressed during the RAA process regarding the viewing shelter in particular (and the Cradle Mountain Master Plan more generally) remain valid.
The so-called Master Plan is more accurately described as a wish list from the tourism industry – it has never been subject to meaningful public consultation. It is noteworthy that the Viewing Shelter includes no provision for the cable car from the Visitor Centre – also proposed by the Master Plan. The Transportation Study that was expected to provide justification for this apparently has yet to be completed, despite being long overdue.
Although construction of the new visitor centre at the former airstrip is underway, there are still no impacts within the park from proposals promoted in the Master Plan. So there is still time to revisit the Master Plan with its emphasis on isolating visitors from nature while they enjoy the view, and replace it with a plan which emphasises the outstanding opportunity to experience wild nature at Cradle Valley. The TNPA calls on the State Government to put all developments in the Cradle Valley Visitor Services Zone on hold while this occurs.