The Queensland government says it has ‘‘no intention’’ of reducing ranger-led activities in a $2.5 million revamp of the Walkabout Creek centre at The Gap.
Fairfax Media understands the state government has set aside $2.5 million for the stage one of a new centre on the site, which is in Premier Campbell Newman’s Ashgrove electorate.
This follows a Fairfax Media story yesterday questioning the marketing of the nature centre, which includes a rare chance to see a platypus in a natural setting.
However residents are concerned the master plan for the site – the regional headquarters for the National Parks and Wildlife Service – plans to wind back the animal enclosure at the centre.
In a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon, the government said there were ‘‘no plans to discontinue ranger-led wildlife encounters at the facility’’.
‘‘Certainly there are no plans to turn the location into a ‘theme park’,’’ the statement said.
The government has received 265 public submissions to its master plan for the site, which includes plans to use a ‘‘flying fox’’ or ‘‘zip line’’ to re-invigorate the area, beside Enoggera Weir.
The plan also recommends kayak and canoe trips on nearby Enoggera Weir.
Stage one of the upgrade includes the placement of the ‘‘flying fox’’, new playground equipment, picnic areas and barbeques.
Flying fox lines would go in the outdoor section of the wildlife enclosure, which now runs down to Enoggera Weir.
Some residents have questioned the impact of the extra noise from Enoggera Weir on local bird species, like the Red Browed Finch.
This area now houses the outside wallaby and wombat enclosure.
The majority of respondents have been supportive of the draft master plan for the centre, the government said in a statement.
‘‘The master plan seeks to expand nature-based opportunities for visitors and encourage them to explore national parks in the area,’’ it read.
‘‘To get out ‘into the bush’ and reap the health and wellbeing benefits that an active outdoor lifestyle offers.”
One of the submissions came from the Riverlife Centre at Kangaroo Point, which runs canoes and kayaks on the Brisbane River.
Manager Josh Wicks confirmed Riverlife was interested in being part of any revamped centre at The Gap.
‘‘But it comes down to what activities that they are willing to keep open,’’ he said.
‘‘My understanding is that they still have not got a firm understanding of what they are going to offer.
‘‘But I understand that is likely to come about June.’’
He said Riverlife would not run wildlife operations, but was interested in running canoe and boutique-type events from the site.
‘‘We obviously don’t have any say in what happens to that wildlife zoo, but we wouldn’t be saying that you would have to get rid of that,’’ he said.
Mr Wicks said a lot of locals were saying they wanted access to the weir.
‘‘So we might be interested in running jazz-kind of events under the stars like we do down at Kangaroo Point, which the locals like,’’ he said.
‘‘And I’m not sure that there is the opportunity to do that type of thing – we have to wait until the government releases the master plan – but we are willing to look at that.’’
Tenders are expected to be offered in June.