Editorial comment - A zoo by any other name ...

Once upon a time, in a shire far, far away, the local council considered a proposal for a zoo - plus a brewery and shops - on land neighbouring the site of an iconic natural landmark.

The zoo wasn't going to be fenced - the animals were to be kept on heated islands surrounded by dams.

The zoo was going to be self-sustaining and the animals would eat from fruit trees which would reproduce each season.

The dams would be kept clean from the contamination of animal waste by the use of pooper scoopers, and the children of the local community would all have jobs.

There were just a few problems.

All of the animals could swim; an expert zoologist pointed out that the monkeys would eat all the fruit and destroy the trees ... in about one day; and the scoopers were never going to be able to collect the cassowary droppings.

Sound like a wild idea?

Well it turns out this was not somewhere far, far away at all, it was once proposed right here in this shire for land adjoining Hanging Rock.

There was also at one time a dinosaur park proposed and wilder still, a shire commissioner once proposed stringing fairy lights across the top of the Rock.

None of these ideas ever succeeded and can be laughed about now, but what if they had been approved? What would we be left with now?

What if any of these ideas had been proposed by the council itself?

Our council is now staunchly defending its decision to proceed with plans to seek private investment to develop the East Paddock and parts of Hanging Rock Reserve with accommodation apartments, a conference centre, day spa, a buggy path, adventure area, etc. etc.

Our mayor is telling media that the community has been consulted on development at the Rock.

It was ... 20 years ago in 1993 ... but it was only 'relevant tourism industry representatives' and the 'Hanging Rock Development Advisory Committee' who were consulted on the 'Hanging Rock Management Plan'. And even then, the scope of any future development was a very big unknown.

Come on council, we have not been consulted, and it is just not good enough.

A picture is worth a thousand words (actually, it's really only worth about 500). This illustration from council's latest information bulletin for the proposed development at Hanging Rock puts it in simple terms.

A picture is worth a thousand words (actually, it's really only worth about 500). This illustration from council's latest information bulletin for the proposed development at Hanging Rock puts it in simple terms.

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