Green fears on Capes track plan

Jackson Lavell-LeeAugusta Margaret River Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Southern Fire Wellness director Daniel Kozyrski, Friends of Cape to Cape chairman Kevine Lange and Vasse MLA Libby Mettam have concerns over WA tourisms Eco Huts" development on the Cape to Cape track
Camera IconSouthern Fire Wellness director Daniel Kozyrski, Friends of Cape to Cape chairman Kevine Lange and Vasse MLA Libby Mettam have concerns over WA tourisms Eco Huts" development on the Cape to Cape track Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee/Busselton-Dunsborough Times, Jackson Lavell-Lee

Capes conservationists have expressed outrage at Tourism WA’s support for proposed commercial development of “ecotourism accommodation” on the popular Cape to Cape Track.

Tourism WA is looking into potential private business and up-market eco-accommodation options to enhance the 124km track between the Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin lighthouses.

The idea to develop the coastal trail to resemble Tasmania’s successful overland track and Three Capes experiences, offering glamping-style accommodation, was criticised by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region chairman Dr John Cresswell.

Dr Cresswell said stakeholders wished to ensure minimal damage to the environment.

“While the Cape to Cape Track would benefit from upgraded watering and overnight stopping points, the national park through which it winds must not be intruded upon by up-market tourist facilities of any type,” he said.

Several accommodation providers offer transport to and from the track, which also includes three existing campsites at Contos, Point Road, and Ellensbrook.

Friends of the Cape to Cape Track president Kevin Lange said the route was fragile, fragmented and elongated, with numerous points walkers could access existing accommodation.

“Presumably, any new accommodation that’s built would require significantly more access to the park than currently exists to service that accommodation,” he said. “This would endanger several plant and animal species within the national park that need protection.”

Southern Fire Wellness director Daniel Kozyrski holds regular wellness tours on the track because of its raw and powerful natural coastline, which he said was its main attraction.

“I am saddened and heartbroken at this idea,” he said.

“The land and its inhabitants require nurturing, not development.”

A Tourism WA spokesperson said it held initial discussions with a range of representatives in October to ensure key issues were understood.

“The pre-feasibility study will assess the existing and future market demand for an ecotourism accommodation development on the Cape to Cape Track,” they said.

“It is important to note this project is at early stages. There are currently no plans for development and no sites have been identified.”

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said growing demand to visit the region meant it was essential development did not come at the cost of its unique environment.

Cape to Cape Explorer Tours director Gene Hardy said experience on the track was essential to understanding how the environment could cater to more tourists.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails