SEALY Lookout is set to reclaim its position on Coffs Harbour’s must-visit list thanks to two new Forests NSW projects.
The development of a new viewing platform at the popular lookout and a high ropes adventure course nearby, expected to be completed this year, will be welcome additions to the city’s tourist facilities.
Forests NSW North East Region general manager Craig Busby said the new viewing deck, designed by a local architect, would take visitors about 20 metres out from the current vantage point to the edge of the tree line to provide superior views of the city and coastline.
He said associated developments would include a paved walkway and improved parking facilities.
Expressions of interest for the high ropes course were called last year and Forests NSW is now in the final stages of determining a preferred operator.
The tree-friendly construction of such courses involved suspended ropes, nets and walkways through the trees, with several platforms close to the ground.
“Forests NSW has awarded a high ropes course at Australia’s only metropolitan State forest, Cumberland State Forest in West Pennant Hills, Sydney, which is also home to the Forests NSW corporate headquarters and a newly refurbished forest visitor centre,” said Mr Busby.
A high ropes course already exists in Ourimbah State Forest near Gosford (http://www.treetopadventurepark.com.au/home.php).
Mr Busby said once the development was complete, providing suitable financial avenues could be determined, Forests NSW would be considering security options and possibly restricting access during specific hours.
Neighbours along Bruxner Park Road and Sealy Lookout Road have been contacted about the proposals.
“The high rope course will be a private commercial recreation venture for those people with an adventurous spirit,” Mr Busby said.
“Infrastructure will be minimal, having negligible ground impact as a treetop rope walkway course.”
Mr Busby said in assessing the expressions of interest, Forests NSW would consider a wide range of issues including the environmental impact, potential sites within the forest, safety standards, anticipated noise levels, traffic management and parking plans.
“Forests NSW is also working closely with Coffs Harbour City Council for their consideration of evolving traffic management on Bruxner Park Road,” Mr Busby said.
“Bruxner Park Flora Reserve and Sealy Lookout have long provided locals and visitors with a valuable attraction for our city.
“Annual visitation is known to exceed 50,000 people a year and Forests NSW continues to look for ways to increase the amenity of this area for the community of Coffs Harbour.”
The old toilets at Sealy Lookout have already been replaced with more modern facilities.
Coffs Harbour City Council is supporting the proposals, which will reclaim the views visitors have been complaining are being lost from the original lookout due to encroaching vegetation.
Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades said the project was ‘very satisfying for the determination and willingness of all government departments to work together and see the project become a reality for the benefit of the community and for tourism’.
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