The controversial Mt Coot-tha zip-line has been given the go-ahead by the Brisbane City Council, despite opposition council claims the project still needs approval from the state government, the Brisbane Times reports.
The enormous zip-line project would include six lines travelling more than a kilometre from the summit lookout to the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, a 1.5-kilometre treetop canopy tour, and a 335-metre suspension bridge “skywalk”.
More than 1700 new trees would be planted to protect koala and owl populations and a new Mt Coot-tha visitor centre built to improve the precinct’s accessibility. The project would create Australia’s longest zip-line.
The council has earmarked $717,000 in the current budget and a further $423,000 in the 2019–20 forward estimates for the project.
The three-stage zip-line went through a public consultation period last year. The council pitched the zip-line as an ecotourism project but opposition says 90 per cent of the more than 3600 submissions sent during the consultation period were objections, with many citing the potential for “ecological degradation” to the area.
Lord mayor Graham Quirk said in a statement that the project would bring 350,000 visitors a year and more than 100 new jobs. “It has been conservatively estimated around 11,000 to 15,000 people will spend an additional hour in the Mt Coot-tha precinct with the increased amenity associated with the zip-line,” Quirk said.
“By improving this two-hectare area of Mt Coot-tha, we’ll protect what we love about all 1600 hectares of this Brisbane icon while creating more to see and do,” Quirk is quoted in the Times as saying.
Opposition councillor Steve Griffiths told the paper that the project was “council approving council applications”. “This is not the final key to the process, the state needs to make the decision,” he said.
Greens MP Michael Berkman has organised the Snap Rally: No Ziplines for Mt Coot-tha event on Facebook. He’s calling for people to gather in King George Square on Tuesday to voice their opposition to the project.
If the project goes ahead, the treetop canopy walk is scheduled to open in late 2019 with the zip-line to follow in late 2020.