An attempt to celebrate the start of a controversial new Tasmanian tourism development has backfired spectacularly on social media.
An attempt to celebrate the start of a controversial new Tasmanian tourism development has backfired spectacularly on social media.

‘Abomination’: $4.5 million tourism icon mocked

NEWS of construction getting underway on a new viewing shelter at Dove Lake has been met with outrage on social media.

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service posted images of an excavator preparing to start work at the iconic tourist site on its Facebook and Instagram feeds on Tuesday, along with concept art of what the completed development will look like.

But while the posts attracted a few comments welcoming the start of the project, the overwhelming majority of comments on the post were highly critical of the development.

"What an abomination, Mother Nature does NOT need a man made viewing shelter," wrote one passionate person.

"Who ever thought this was a good idea had better move into state. No architect will want this albatross around their neck either."

Part of the Cradle Mountain Gateway at Dove Lake has been mocked on Facebook, with social media users asking Parks and Wildlife Tasmania to leave the site alone.
Part of the Cradle Mountain Gateway at Dove Lake has been mocked on Facebook, with social media users asking Parks and Wildlife Tasmania to leave the site alone.

"In my mind Cradle Mount has already been ruined, it's not the place it once was when I was a child, I'm now 44. The design is good, it will blend in well with the landscape," said another.

"What I disagree with is not being able to drive in when you like. Due to the large buses they run now the road has disintegrated, not sure if they've fixed it yet."

Design concepts for the $4.5 million viewing shelter at Dove Lake were released for public comment in September 2018, with some changes being made following community feedback but the proposed main structure remained virtually unchanged.

Artists impressions of the Dove Lake development in Cradle Mountain National Park.
Artists impressions of the Dove Lake development in Cradle Mountain National Park.

It was unanimously approved by the Kentish Council in the middle of last year and is part of the broader Cradle Mountain Gateway Precinct project to improve visitor infrastructure at Cradle Mountain, including a visitor centre and a cable car.

Veteran wilderness campaigner Bob Brown was unsurprised at the public outcry, especially given the decision to share this particular image of an excavator rolling out into a car park with Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake in the background.

Bob Brown says seeing a bulldozer in front of such an iconic Tasmanian destination could only confront Tasmanians. Picture: MATHEW FARRELL
Bob Brown says seeing a bulldozer in front of such an iconic Tasmanian destination could only confront Tasmanians. Picture: MATHEW FARRELL

"The affrontery of putting a bulldozer in front of the mountain and the lake, in what is the first major statement from the government on natural tourism so far this year would be funny if it wasn't so tragic," he said.

Tasmanian Conservation Trust director Peter McGlone said there was very little disagreement that something needed to be done to upgrade the existing facilities at Dove Lake, especially the toilets, but this planned development was for too obtrusive an unnecessary.

Work begins on Dove Lake viewing shelter Work has begun on a new state-of-the-art all-weather viewing shelter at Dove Lake that will offer visitors breathtaking views of the lake and iconic Cradle Mountain. Picture: Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service
Work begins on Dove Lake viewing shelter Work has begun on a new state-of-the-art all-weather viewing shelter at Dove Lake that will offer visitors breathtaking views of the lake and iconic Cradle Mountain. Picture: Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service

"The design seems to be based around funnelling people into the building and back to their vehicles, giving them a very artificial experience of viewing the wilderness from inside, through glass," he said.

Dr Brown said the fact the people were still surprised to discover the development was going ahead was an indictment on the state's public consultation process.

"It's a sham," he said.

A Parks and Wildlife spokesperson said the community was thoroughly consulted on the new shelter, which was specifically designed to ensure that everyone, including the elderly and those with low mobility, can visit the site and enjoy the same experience.

"The shelter will be constructed within the existing footprint of the Dove Lake car park," they said.

"It has been designed to have a roof that 'folds' into the landscape which will create less of a visual impact on the surrounding area than the current car park."

Originally published as 'Abomination': New $4.5 million tourism icon mocked



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