A Luxury accommodation project in Kangaroo Island has been given the green light by State Government.
The Australian Walking Company (AWC) has been given final approval for its proposed accommodation along the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail in Flinders Chase National Park.
The project is likely to face a legal challenge from environmental groups who have been staunchly opposed to the development since it was announced in November.
Friends of Parks groups and other environmental campaigners have raised a series concerns about the project’s potential to impact on vulnerable flora and fauna. They have raised almost $40,000 towards a potential challenge in court against the project.
Acting Minister for Environment and Water Stephan Knoll however said the project would balance the needs of environment while delivering multiple benefits to the Kangaroo Island and South Australian economy.
“The AWC has diligently worked through a stringent independent development approval process, and I am delighted that they now have approval to proceed with plans to build eco-sensitive accommodation and refurbish the lighthouse keepers’ cottages on the Kangaroo IslandWilderness Trail,” said Minister Knoll.
“The development proposal has been subjected to intense public scrutiny and the AWC has met with members of the local community on more than 20 occasions to understand their concerns.
“This has resulted in a significant number of improvements to the final project design, including a substantial reduction in access trails and tracks, down from approximately 11 km to 6 km.
“In addition, a substantial reduction in the clearance footprint has been delivered by ensuring the tracks and trails are narrow and will only allow for walkers and small vehicles.
“AWC and the Department for Environment and Water will continue to work with the local community to ensure compliance with the rigorous standards associated with the approvals for the project.
“The end result will set a new benchmark for sensitive eco-tourism development in South Australia.
“Importantly, the project will be delivered in accordance with the KI Wilderness Trail Operational Plan, to ensure long-term stewardship of this unique and special environment by all who experience this trail.
“It will also provide new local jobs during building and construction, and ultimately deliver 30 full-time jobs to the tourism economy on KI.”
The process was initiated under the former government in January 2017 when expressions of interest were called to develop accommodation facilities and services associated with the KangarooIsland Wilderness Trail.
AWC subsequently received an $832,889 grant, also signed off by the former government.
The proposal for construction along the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is likely to go ahead but not without legal challenges from environmental groups.
The State Government says public consultation has played a role in ensuring the development will be eco-friendly.
Image: The Australian Walking Company's plans to build sleeping pods on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail.