PLANS for a chairlift to the top of Mount Buffalo threaten to transform the iconic reserve into a theme park, the Victorian National Parks Association says.
Spokesman Philip Ingamells feared the Mount Buffalo Skyways project would compromise the national park’s natural beauty.
“We’re not really keen about that sort of thing,” he said of the Alpine Valleys Tourism Board suggestion.
“We think these things can destroy the ambience of natural places — we don’t want to change them into theme parks.
“We would much rather the money be spent on maintaining the natural values of the parks.”
Mr Ingamells said Mount Buffalo and its chalet would be ideal for guided adventures and education programs for youth.
“Of all Victoria’s national parks, Mount Buffalo is the one that is most ideally suited to introducing young people to experiences in the natural world,” he said.
“The chalet’s outdated accommodation is also more suited to young adventurers or back-packers than high-end tourism.”
The Mount Buffalo Skyways project is aimed at elevating the region’s tourism status.
It is expected to cost $20?million to $30?million and attract about 500,000 visitors a year.
Alpine Council has offered “in-principle” support, with Mayor Nino Mautone and Cr Daryl Pearce joining a sub-committee of the Alpine Valleys Tourism Board to investigate the project.
“A key part of the proposal was that the project team would develop a comprehensive strategy for the engagement of all stakeholders,” Cr Mautone said.
“It is very important that the team hears from everyone who has an interest in the mountain and the concept.”
The sub-committee will look into environmental threats, cultural heritage and complementary tourism opportunities.
It will report to council before seeking government funding for a feasibility study.