Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Toll Plan Provokes Rage; Plans to Charge a Fee for Access to Popular Tourist Road Draws Ire

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Toll Plan Provokes Rage; Plans to Charge a Fee for Access to Popular Tourist Road Draws Ire

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonno Colfs

RESIDENTS of the former timber town of Killarney are at loggerheads after a proposal to restrict and charge traffic along a popular tourist route surfaced this week.

Adding fuel to the furore was the sudden installation of a set of lockable gates at the Killarney end of the Condamine River Rd.

Rumour quickly spread across Killarney the Cambanoora Gorge Management Group was planning to restrict public access along the road.

Southern Downs Regional Council director of engineering services Peter See said there was no plan to take such action and added the gates were placed as a public safety measure.

"Council has installed gates along Condamine River Rd as part of the Emergency Management Guidelines in the event of a flood or bushfire disaster," Mr See said.

"The gates are designed to be locked during such disaster events and are closed under direction from the police but the road will be open for use at all other times."

The work for the installation of the gates was contracted to the Scenic Rim Regional Council.

Despite these assurances, the Cambanoora Gorge Management Group does have a proposal before tthe council.

The document is entitled options for implementing a management system for Cambanoora Gorge.

It suggests a system that: fosters, promotes and supports low impact high value tourism to the district, that introduces and manages a user pays system that caps the number of vehicles travelling the road, places conditions on permit holders and addresses safety issues the group says have become a significant issue in the Gorge.

The Cambanoora Gorge Management Group is made of up 24 members, mostly landholders in the area and some concerned locals.

Group president Keith Murray said there was significant traffic along the road at weekends and holiday periods and the group aimed to convince the council that less is more.

"We would like to see less traffic on the road, but more specifically we want to see the kind of traffic that will stop and stay in Killarney and spend money," he said.

"There are people that use the road who don't respect the gorge, and we've done lots of work to try and discourage that sort of behaviour. …

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