The Greens mayoral candidate Dr Sally Townley suggests a tourism solution to the vegetation issue at Beacon Hill
The Greens mayoral candidate Dr Sally Townley suggests a tourism solution to the vegetation issue at Beacon Hill Rob Wright

Townley green call for Beacon Hill

THE Greens candidate for mayor of Coffs Harbour, Dr Sally Townley, believes tourism holds the solution to the issue of vegetation and aviation safety on Beacon Hill.

Dr Townley is urging consideration of a new viewing platform overlooking the airport and inclusion of the area on the city's cycleways network.

"The Coffs Harbour Greens recognise that a few brushbox trees at Beacon Hill require pruning to ensure aircraft safety," she said.

"But proposals by Coffs Harbour City Council to clear a substantial area of rainforest are concerning because they will lead to a significant impact upon this important asset.

"As opposed to spending tens of thousands clearing an important natural asset, the Coffs Harbour Greens will seek to use these funds to build a treetop boardwalk and lookout on the southern side of Beacon Hill below the aircraft height limit.

"This will allow residents and visitors permanent access to views southwards along our coastline.

"It will be a significant tourist attraction, creating opportunities for enjoyment of this beautiful rainforest area and boosting our attractiveness as a nature-based tourism destination.

"With good design and interpretive signage the Beacon Hill skywalk can be integrated into the existing cycleway network for the city including connecting to the Coffs Creek walk.

"This will create extra opportunities for pedestrian and bike tourism and will lead to lasting economic benefits."

Dr Townley said that when residents are asked what they most value about Coffs Harbour they have consistently responded in favour of the value of the green backdrop to the city.

"Beacon Hill is an important part of the green backdrop of Coffs Harbour," she added.

"It is covered in some of the rarest headland brushbox rainforest in Australia and the city is fortunate to have the biggest remaining areas of this critically endangered ecosystem.

"Also birdwatching is a major industry globally and Beacon Hill provides habitat for some of our rarest and most beautiful birds.

"Spectacular threatened birds such as the Wompoo Fruit Dove, Green Catbird and the Osprey are frequently seen at Beacon Hill.

"Rather than spending ratepayer's funds destroying this important habitat we should create opportunities for people to experience these important natural areas.

"We can then showcase our assets and capitalise upon them."

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