AWC gets approval to build in Flinders Chase National Park

SLEEPING PODS: An artist's impression of the two-person "sleeping pods" being proposed at Sandy Creek. Image AWC
SLEEPING PODS: An artist's impression of the two-person "sleeping pods" being proposed at Sandy Creek. Image AWC

The Australian Walking Company (AWC) has been given the green light for its proposed accommodation in Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island.

The State Commission Assessment Panel recently provided development consent to the AWC and the Native Vegetation Council has now approved the associated native vegetation requirements for the development, according to the SA Government.

Acting Minister for Environment and Water, Stephan Knoll welcomed the decision and said the project will deliver 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 Island Wilderness Trail," Mr Knoll said.

"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.

"The AWC brings together partners with 30 years' experience operating high quality, multi-day wilderness walks, including the only private accommodation along the Overland Track in Tasmania's World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain region.

"I am pleased that the AWC has decided to expand its unique tourism offering into South Australia.

"The AWC's proposed Kangaroo Island Lodge Walk will further raise the profile of South Australia as a major international eco-tourism destination.

"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 Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, according to the SA Government.

AWC subsequently received an $832,889 grant, also signed off by the former government.