The Bellingen Environment Centre and the Kalang River and Forest Alliance have gone to great lengths to encourage Bellingen Shire Council to support the community proposal for a Great Koala National Park .
This morning they have raised a 6mx1.5m banner in front of the Bellingen Shire Council chambers saying: ‘Save bello’s koalas – and create more jobs’, accompanied by the GKNP logo.
This is one of a number of banners to be put up by the community groups in the valley over the next couple of days in support of koala conservation.
“The Great Koala National Park will deliver on environmental, social and economic grounds,” said Ashley Love from the Bellingen Environment Centre. “It will add another string to the bow of a region whose natural environment is the envy of the world.
“Our rainforests are already World Heritage listed and our best eucalypt forests were identified as potential candidates for World Heritage listing by a national panel of scientists twenty years ago. “
“A Great Koala National Park would also be a candidate for World Heritage listing, judging by the listing of the giant panda reserves in China as World Heritage properties” said Mr Love
“A Great Koala National Park would offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure tourism - one of the fastest growing tourism sectors for jobs and employment opportunities . Increased activity would also occur in park management, environmental education and restoration and in a range of social and health sectors.
“Within a catchment management perspective, which Bellingen Shire Council has , we are looking at healthy headwaters, healthy communities and a viable economic future “
“With increased visitation comes increased opportunities for small business and we believe Bellingen Shire Council is well aware of the potential opportunities of the Great Koala National Park.”
Bellingen Shire Council has been approached for comment.