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Sophie and Vica on the site of the originally proposed motor home park ( taken 27 Aug 2018)

The finalisation and launch of the first two stages of the RACT’s Freycinet Renewal Project, an investment in the upgrade and enhancement of the iconic Freycinet Lodge, has been welcomed by advocates as a win-win-win. It represents a positive example of community engagement and planning as Tasmania struggles to manage the boom in tourism visitation and interest in Tasmania.

At the invitation of the Hodgman Government, RACT initially sought to expand the lodge footprint into the Freycinet National Park, with a lease extension into intact bushland adjacent to its existing, legacy lease. However, following public debate and a genuine dialogue with critics, the RACT amended its proposal to remain wholly within the existing lease area.

“This experience was a win for all involved and we welcome the opportunity to celebrate the launch of this project with the RACT and its stakeholders,” said Sophie Underwood, convenor of the Freycinet Action Network.

When originally proposed, the lodge extension project (see here) was for exclusive access to additional national park land for the development of a motor home park and cabins. The amended proposal invested in upgrading existing infrastructure and building on an under-utilised tennis court, all within the existing lease footprint.

“This was a win for the integrity of the national park and its values, which remain intact; a win for the RACT who made a significant investment and improved its product; and a win for the community, who were given a genuine hearing and ultimately, were heard,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

The Freycinet Lodge is established on a 1950’s lease wholly within the national park boundary. Across Tasmania’s reserve network, there are high levels of concern over the privatisation of public land through the negotiation of new leases for the construction of new visitor accommodation. There are over nine project proposals involving dozens of individual accommodation developments across Tasmanian reserves, including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and Rosny Hill Nature Recreation Reserve.

“The RACT established genuine dialogue with critics and amended its original expansion proposal to progress with a development wholly contained within its existing lease and this is welcome” said Peter McGlone, Director of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust.