It was a bit of surprise for the KI Council on Tuesday to essentially come out unanimously against the AWC accommodation proposal in Flinders Chase National Park. All six councillors voted for clr Shirley Pledge's motion to make a submission to the Native Vegetation Council. The mayor only votes when he needs to make a casting vote. I know Shirley was at Friday evening's "Wild" concert and book launch and she is pictured above with her grandson Finnley, so she is obviously is thinking about future generations.
Moving on, much of Tuesday's discussion was about the future of the visitor information centre. A wide range of options were canvassed at the workshop prior to the main meeting with mayor saying he was waking up night with various ideas. He again said the visitor centre should not be allowed to close as it was not a good look for the Island.
Clr Leeza Irwin, a TKI board member, however voiced her concern at the feasibility of the Penneshaw Community Business Centre solution in the short term, given that visitors would still go to the visitor centre building. She added there was a lack of parking and space at the PCBC that also houses the town's post office and that the centre was not open on holidays and weekends.
She unsuccessfully put up two motions, firstly for a comprehensive review into the operation of the centre using the KI Comissioner and secondly to simply provide the $140,000 that TKI was asking for, allowing them to go through the transition. Clr Ken Liu on the other hand argued the council should do nothing and the Island did not need a physical visitor centre. It was pointed out that TKI could do its own review with the commissioner.
Regardless, there will be ongoing council discussion on the centre with the April 30 informal gathering being the next opportunity. The VIC crisis is unfortunately diverting attention away from the promised cruise ship discussion that was to have taken place after this the busiest cruise season.
And in a way it is all related. Perhaps if the council was able to get a levy from cruise ship visitors, it could afford to run a visitor centre. It also seems ludicrous that the State Government is not willing to come to the party and help fund the visitor centre, because it is the whole state that benefits from our Island attraction.
Finally, we are holding our pop-up office at the Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery this Thursday from 11.30am to 1pm, so stop by and say "Hi!". - Stan Gorton