Society pans Rotto skate park and trail

THE Rottnest Society has slammed suggestions for a new skate park, mountain bike trail, extra camping sites and a new commercial centre on the popular holiday island.

The Rottnest Island Authority has recently finished collecting feedback on proposed new management and master plans which outline its plans for the next four years.

Diversify

Under four “strategic focus areas” the authority has flagged “new recreational offerings” and “new private developments” in order to diversify the visitor base.

That includes a potential “low-impact ecotourism venture” at City of York Bay on the north west of the island, and a new site “offered to the market” this year to “re-create” the Rottnest Island Lodge.

A large degraded area near Rotto’s wind turbine has been earmarked for a commercial site, which society president Eric Moxham says has been included “without any explanation”.

But he says the society strongly opposes a new tent area at City of York Bay because it’s part of an A-class reserve.

“The strength of the historic development of Rottnest has been the separation of the settlement from the land designated as an A-class reserve which is set aside for environment and conservation,” society president Eric Moxham said.

“To permit accommodation within the A-class reserve would be contrary to this principle and risk serious environmental damage.”

Mr Moxham said it looked like York Bay might have been chosen as a replacement for the campsite displaced by the Pinkie Beach glamping development, as nothing within the settlement area had been identified.

But the authority has flagged “infill” development in the townsite if it can be done without ruining the streetscapes.

The authority says in the past five years visitor numbers have increased by 45 per cent, in part helped by competition in the ferry service.

It says the admission fee to the island is still a deterrent to some visitors, but its reliance on this cash cow could be reduced as it rolls out the “full introduction of activity-based costing”.

by STEVE GRANT

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