Council approves Flinders Island base camp for tourism venture

The Flinders Island Council has given the go-ahead to a new base camp for a multi-day walk in the island’s remote north-west.

The proposal, put forward by eco-tourism operators World Expeditions, would see seven sleeping tents and a steel-framed ablutions block set up on private land at Leeka, between Tanners Bay and Burts Hill.

The tents and “full capture” block ablutions would be dismantled and removed for the off-season from May to September.

“The proposal is for use of the property as part of multi-day bushwalking expeditions providing an interpretive wilderness walking experience of northern Flinders Island,” the DA said.

“They will provide an overnight base as part of guided wilderness experiences with interpretive talks on native flora, fauna and astronomy as well as bird watching and landscape art retreats during the summer season.”

Example of the tents proposed for the base camp at Leeka. (Supplied. )

Numbers would be limited to 14 people with two or three guides.

About 450 square meters of vegetation would have to be removed to build an access road and construction would have to be carried out outside of the white-bellied sea eagles’ breeding season, from July 1 to January 31.

“This must be undertaken from the air during October / November,” the development application said.

Photo of the edge of an island that drops off to a large blue ocean on a clear day.
Flinders Island is known for its bird life and stunning landscape. (Supplied: Woolford family)

Birdlife Tasmania’s Eric Woehler said white-bellied sea eagles were not as endangered as wedge-tailed eagles but it was still a concern if they were disturbed when nesting.

“Any permit would have to be strictly complied with and enforced,” he said.

“That’s the problem. Council doesn’t have the time or resources to enforce these permits and the developers know that.”

Picture of a large white bird with black wings soaring through blue sky
Work on an access road and tents will have to be done outside the white bellied sea eagle’s breeding season. (Supplied by Helen Cunningham)

If any Aboriginal relics are uncovered during construction, work has to cease immediately and the item has to be reported to Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania.

According to the DA: “Wastewater will be disposed of through a low impact eco-friendly on-site solution, most likely a composting toilet. Water will be supplied through refillable containers and no power is required.”

Annie Revie Flinders Island Mayor
Flinders Island Mayor Annie Revie says the island’s landscape needs to be the drawcard for tourists. (Supplied )

Flinders Island Mayor Annie Revie said the council wanted to move away from a traditional approach to tourism “where residents felt it was done to them, rather than with them” and focused on a more “regenerative” approach, which prioritized sustainable, low-impact projects.

“We want people to come for the landscape. It’s a very special kind of beauty and this kind of development will showcase it.”

World Expeditions already runs a six-day guided walk across Flinders Island that takes in Mt Killiecrankie and Mt Strzelecki at a cost of several thousand dollars.

The company has been contacted for comment.

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