Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Society speaks

The Rottnest Society has had a look at Rotto Bloggo's posts about FOR and emailed us.

"At this point we do not know a great deal about what they are planning to do except fundraising," says the Society's Sue Folks.

"We see this as a good thing, as Rottnest has been unable to access various grant funding because of the way it is constituted, so it would be very helpful to have funds raised for dedicated purposes in the area of environment and heritage works.

"However, as you have pointed out it is not clear how independent in its thinking this organisation will be from the RIA - although it is a separate organisation.

"The Society is also urging the Premier and the Opposition to commit to Community Service Obligations (CSO's) particularly to fund on a regular ongoing basis environmental and heritage conservation and maintenance, as well as a component of the cost of utilities. We believe that this is important for this 'A' Class Reserve if we are to ensure that it does not succumb to unsuitable development."

The Society does NOT oppose all development on Rottnest - "as anyone could discover by reading our website," Sue says.

"Indeed we kept an open mind about the Mt Herschel development until the concept plans were released by the Minister in January. Close inspection led us to believe that this would be a totally inappropriate development for Rottnest."

"We also discovered that the RIA had not done anything about amending the Rottnest Island Management Plan (RIMP) in several places (as they are required to do under the Act) to pave the way for such a development - which is why the RIA subsequently proposed a number of amendments to the RIMP (public comment closed 23rd April).

"We raised many valid questions about the development with the Minister, the Premier and the RIA - none of which have been satisfactorily answered to date. We therefore did encourage people to object to the proposed changes to the RIMP - and this is being interpreted in some quarters as opposition to all development, which it isn't."

The Society would be happy with some extra accommodation which catered for some of those Western Australian people who can't get accommodation in summe. It sees there's some call for "suitable accommodation" for singles and couples.

"We do not believe that Rottnest is the place for 'high-end' expensive accommodation with spa baths, swimming pools etc. We also believe that there are many, many people in the general population who care deeply about Rottnest and its future, many of whom do not want any development of any kind."

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