Cape To Cape Explorer Tours applauds a new report which recommends against any new development on the Cape to Cape Track.
As reported by WA Today, a pre-feasibility study for eco-accommodation spaced along the 124km hiking trail from Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste rules out introducing any new upmarket cabins or accommodation facilities on the Track. That’s partly because three new high-end private developments close to the track are currently being planned.
Protect national park from development on the Cape to Cape Track
Gene Hardy runs guided hikes on the track with his company Cape to Cape Explorer Tours. And he agrees there is no need for new accommodation on the Track. He says it will ruin the rugged and pristine beauty of the untouched bush, forest and coastal heath. And he says there is already plenty of nearby accommodation which can be utilised by walkers.
“[The national park is] already fragmented. The last thing we need to is encroach with accommodation when there is so much accommodation. It’s more about having infrastructure to protect areas that need it. And the more areas that can stay natural the better,” he says.
Fees could pay for new infrastructure
The report also suggests upgrading the Track and installing ablutions. Plus adding cooking shelters and tent platforms at camp sites. This would be paid for with a new fee. “Upon completion of upgrades to the track and the establishment of good camping facilities, it would be timely to introduce a fee for overnight walkers and commercial operators that can be re-invested in the track,” the report says. “This could be collected through the on track camping fees and a per capita fee for clients using either commercial shuttle services to access trail-heads or walking with commercial guiding companies.”
Mr Hardy has no problem with a new fee if it goes toward looking after the Track. However, WA Today reported that local politician, Liberal Vasse MP Libby Mettam, is against a new walking fee being introduced. “From a government that promised that no new taxes would be imposed on West Australians it is unacceptable that this Tourism WA report recommends charging people to enjoy this unique attraction,” Ms Mettam says. “While this fragile landscape requires investment, like Kings Park this should be available for the public to enjoy at no cost to the community.”
Meanwhile, a Tourism WA spokeswoman said the government was considering the report’s recommendations. “The study has flagged the track needs significant upgrades to be considered a world-class experience. And recommends a master plan be developed to outline potential improvements, as well as identify tourism and recreation opportunities,” the spokeswoman said. “We’ll work with other state government departments and interested parties to determine the next steps.”