NEW PROPOSAL: Cambanoora Gorge overhaul
SOUTHERN Downs councillors hope the overhaul of their Cambanoora Gorge management plan will help to settle one of the community’s most contentious issues.
The council unanimously endorsed a plan for a 12-month trial at this morning’s general meeting, which would implement a permit system to cap visitor numbers at a sustainable level.
The trial would also see the entry gates replaced with extra signage, plans laid for new public amenities, and stakeholders consulted at six-month intervals.
Manager of environmental and regulatory services Craig Magnussen said a timeline and budget were uncertain, with the biggest obstacle remaining changes to local legislation.
“We need to look at our local law, because of course Condamine River Rd is a public road, so we think limiting the public’s use will require amendment to our local law,” Mr Magnussen said.
“In terms of the resources or officers required, again it’s an unknown at this stage and would be done on a trial basis.”
Mr Magnussen confirmed the permit system would come at no cost to Southern Downs residents.
Councillors Marco Gliori, Jo McNally, and Sheryl Windle were among those who endorsed the proposal with hopes it would reunite a community divided by the decade-long debate.
“I’m happy to see maintaining the 14 crossings in their natural state, (as they’re) one of the major attributes to this asset – we need to get people to appreciate and respect it,” Cr Windle said.
Despite voting in favour of the overall proposal, Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley voiced concerns on the permit system, saying it would be ineffective and too difficult to police.
“It’s a very complex issue, and I appreciate all the staff doing their best to solve something I believe is an absolute conundrum.
“But how anyone will ever sort it out in a permit fashion is something I can’t believe will ever happen.”
Fellow councillors Andrew Gale and Cynthia McDonald agreed there were “serious health and safety issues” that could pose a risk to visitors and a liability to the SDRC.
All councillors agreed to progress the proposal.