Archive for the ‘Tower Updates’ Category

EYES OF THE WORLD ON JIMNA FIRE TOWER PRESERVATION DEVELOPMENTS

Monday, November 5th, 2007
The campaign to preserve the Jimna Fire Tower has progressed to yet another positive dimension with imminent world wide exposure via the web sites of numerous fire tower groups throughout America, Canada,Spain, and New Zealand. The Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG) will soon have local news updates posted on dozens of web sites around the world introducing our cause to a vast audience of like minded conservationists, historians and people who value the important role played by fire towers in the protection of national estates and human life. JFTAG has received the October edition of the Lookout Network, a quarterly publication which depicts the activities of affiliated member groups around the globe, and Jimna Fire Tower supporters may now access the parent body via www.firelookout.org for a mind boggling fire tower experience. The dedication and sheer number of volunteers who protect, renovate and manage the vast number of fire towers listed under the membership umbrella of the Forest Fire Lookout Association Inc., is truly awe inspiring, injecting new hope, and creating added support for our very own Jimna Fire tower, which is certain to prove one of the most magnificent, and quite possibly the most magnificent fire tower of them all.
 
Even before this unique structure begins to be assessed as a tourist destination, it has the capability of commanding overseas attention. That in itself must surely demonstrate the enormous potential tourism dollar that a redeveloped Jimna Fire Tower could generate, not only for the local economy, but also for the future of tourism throughout South East Queensland and now Australia. Sadly, the head in the sand attitude of our elected representatives decrees that precious time and buckets of money are wasted while bureaucrats from all levels of government procrastinate over who is responsible. 
 
NEW WEB SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION. With the eyes of the world upon us, JFTAG has resolved to construct a new web site exclusively for the Jimna Fire Tower, with a more professional look, streamlined access to information and several new features including a “JOIN FRIENDS OF THE JIMNA FIRE TOWER” membership application facility, which for a modest annual fee members can become personally involved, while assisting to raise much needed funds to maintain the campaign. JFTAG sincerely thanks Natalie Robson from ABS Web Design www.abswebdesign.com.au for Natalie’s generous offer to sponsor the construction and hosting of our new site, and also hearty thanks to the Caboolture Camera Club who have donated a series of wonderful photos taken on a recent field trip to Jimna, from which selected images will be used. Caboolture Camera Club welcomes new members, so if you live anywhere near Caboolture and have an interest in photography, please contact this friendly and generous club via President Norm Finney on PH 5499 2229. Many thanks also to Brett Pratt and Kilcoy Sentinel for expert computer work done on the photos.
 
FUTURE TOWER NEWS UPDATES WILL BE RELEASED MONTHLY due to the current moratorium being in place until after the March 2008 Local Council Elections. With the holiday season approaching, JFTAG would like to see as many visitors and supporters as possible, either enjoy a camping break at the popular Peach Trees Camping Area, or take a day excursion to the Jimna State Forest and Conondale National Park area.

INTERNATIONAL INTEREST CREATES EXPANDED TOURISM POTENTIAL FOR JIMNA FIRE TOWER

Monday, October 22nd, 2007
The Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG) has responded to an offer of assistance from the Forest Fire Lookouts Association (FFLA), by becoming a member of this world wide organisation. This interest, from beyond our shores, not only further demonstrates the rapidly growing public support for the towers preservation, but also effectively highlights the tremendous tourism potential of this magnificent symbol of our Australian heritage. Surely the most short sighted critics of the campaign to save the Jimna Fire Tower must at the very least be now starting to realize that, to contemplate raising this heritage listed monolith to the ground before exhausting all possible alternatives to demolition, is and was nothing other than an act of cultural vandalism. Membership of the FFLA opens a very wide window of opportunity for the Jimna Fire Tower as JFTAG expects our news updates and web site to be posted in FFLA’S newsletter exposing the campaign world wide.
 
With the current moratorium in regard to sourcing new owners of the tower site and infrastructure in place until after the March 2008 Local Council Elections, JFTAG is extremely grateful to be afforded the opportunity to bring measured and proactive debate into this complex and widely misunderstood issue. It must be recognised and appreciated that this respite was granted by the compassionate and concerted judgement of the Queensland Government’s Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, a resolution for which JFTAG has accepted as a token of mutual respect and a desire to genuinely find a solution.
 
THE NEW SOMERSET REGIONAL SHIRE COUNCILLORS are set to play an increased and leading role in tourism policy development and implementation for the soon to be Somerset Regional Shire Council, under the expanded roles and responsibilities outlined by the Local Government reform process. JFTAG believes that the Jimna Fire Tower, while not among the most vital of community concerns, none the less has now emerged as an important Local Government Election issue. One only has to ask the question. “What does the new Somerset Regional Shire now have that no other shire has?”. No prizes for getting the answer. “The potential of promoting the tallest, heritage listed, internationally acclaimed, JIMNA FIRE TOWER into a must visit tourist destination”. 

OWNERSHIP MORATORIUM REQUEST GRANTED BY FORESTRY PLANTATIONS QUEENSLAND

Monday, October 8th, 2007
The recent request by the Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG) to declare a moratorium on the quest to find new owners for the Jimna Fire Tower until after the next local council elections in March 2008, has been granted by current owners, Forestry Plantations Queensland (FPQ). This is great news for the campaign to redevelop this Heritage listed tourist icon into a tourist destination, because it provides an opportunity for the bigger and stronger soon to be Somerset Regional Shire Council, to provide the leadership and the will, to take responsibility for the tower, and ensure that all possible redevelopment options are exhausted before demolition is considered.
 
KILCOY/MURGON ROAD BITUMEN EXTENSION, which is currently in the preparation stage, will extend the bitumen a further 8 odd kilometres from Jimna, past the Jimna Fire Tower to the Monsildale Road turnoff. This extension is also good news for the Jimna Fire tower, as it will allow visitors to enjoy dust free vehicle access right to the tower site. The current barricade fence will be repositioned by FPQ, and new signage erected by both FPQ, and JFTAG. Visitors are urged to observe the signage directives, and leave the area clean and tidy after enjoying the majestic awe of this proud symbol of our Australian History and Heritage.
 
THE FOREST FIRE LOOKOUT ASSOCIATION, which has members throughout America, Canada, and Spain, has contacted JFTAG to offer assistance. JFTAG has responded to this development by becoming a member of this international organisation and hopes to establish ongoing information sharing for the purpose of generating support and gaining valuable expertise. JFTAG has already been identified as the first and only group in Australia which is actively engaged in campaigning to preserve a fire tower, an accolade or recognition that JFTAG accepts with great pride.
 
TOWER NEWS IN BRIEF include a big thank to Winya Wines from Sandy Creek Kilcoy who conducted WINE TASTING at the fund raising sausage sizzle held 30/9/07. Thanks also in anticipation of the RIDE FOR THE JIMNA FIRE TOWER by the BMW motorcycle club of Queensland held Sunday 7/10/07. Big welcome to those contemplating an excursion into the high country.

LOCAL COUNCIL AMALGAMATION IMPELS JIMNA FIRE TOWER

Monday, September 24th, 2007
The Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG) has requested current owners, Forestry Plantations Queensland, to enter into a moratorium with respect to seeking other parties to take ownership of the Jimna Fire Tower until after the next Local Council elections in March 2008. JFTAG has made this request on the following grounds:
 
A….The recent, and past failed attempts to have the Kilcoy Shire Council take responsibility for ownership of the Jimna Fire Tower.
 
B….The implementation of the State Government Local Council Amalgamation Legislation, which will create a larger and stronger “Somerset Regional Council”, with the amalgamation of Kilcoy and Esk Shire Councils.
 
C…. The intention of the State Government’s initiative to form bigger and stronger councils was largely to give local councils the confidence and resources to address the big issues confronting a rapidly developing South East Queensland.
 
D … JFTAG believes that the extent of support for the preservation of the Jimna Fire Tower, from the Tourism and Business sector, Government agencies, and the general public, justifies that the tower be afforded this new “window of opportunity” that has been opened by the Queensland Government’s council amalgamation initiative. 
 
As previous correspondence, and reasons already documented will attest, JFTAG has always believed that Local Council is the most appropriate body to take ownership of this Heritage Listed Tourist Icon, and if not, to at least take on the role of being the dominant driving force behind finding a solution. We trust that Forestry Plantations Queensland, via the minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries the Honourable Tim Mulherin MP, will demonstrate the same past compassion and spirit of co-operation regarding this matter by granting the above request.
 
THE BIG CAMP OUT AT PEACH TREES CAMPING AREA this weekend 28th 29th and 30th September 07, will give campers and visitors an opportunity to pay homage to the Jimna Fire Tower. Camp site bookings can be made via www.epa.qld.gov.au and if you miss out on a site at this popular camping reserve why not consider a day trip on Sunday 30th. JFTAG is having a fund raising SAUSAGE SIZZLE and there will be BILLY TEA and DAMPER, as well as WINE TASTING courtesy of WINYA WINES, Sandy Creek, Kilcoy. BUSKERS are welcome and there will be plenty of country music at the Jimna Visitor Information Centre from 10am.

SERIOUS QUESTIONS FOR JIMNA FIRE TOWER REQUIRE SERIOUS ANSWERS

Monday, September 10th, 2007

The following serious questions have been submitted to the Premiers Department of Queensland, the Minister for Local Government and Planning the Honourable Andrew Fraser MP, the State member for Nanango, Dorothy Pratt MP, the Minister for the department of Primary Industries, the Honourable Tim Mulherin MP, the Minister for the Environment, the Honourable Lindy Nelson/Carr MP, the Minister for Tourism the Honourable Margaret Keech MP, the Queensland Heritage Council and the National Trust of Queensland, in reply to correspondence received. We can only wait and hope for serious answers!

Question No1… If the Jimna State Forest features as a tourist attraction in Tourism Queensland’s South East Queensland Country Guide, and Destination Management Plan for the Brisbane Region, then why has our State Government’s policies regarding the “future recreational use of State Forests and National Parks” seen the closure of several access roads and the restriction of public use of this area?               

Question No 2… If “Nature Based” tourism is a key component of tourism in South East Queensland as suggested, then why has the Queensland Government either closed down or obliterated eleven (11) former beauty spots in the Jimna area over the past 6 or 7 years as well as standing by and allowing the recent attempt to demolish the “Jimna Fire Tower” to  proceed without meaningful consultation with tourism stakeholders, and the people of Queensland?

Question No 3…If viewing platforms and towers are potentially valuable tourist infrastructure, as suggested, then why has the Queensland Government failed to maintain the “Jimna Fire Tower”, especially given the fact that this popular tourist icon attracted, prior to closure, 30,000 visitors per year (without wide spread tourism promotion), which represented a significant potential tourism money earner at the time, and still does?       

Question No4… If a Government department is bestowed with the responsibility of ownership of a Heritage Listed place, such as the “Jimna Fire Tower”, then why is it that this department is” NOT REQUIRED” to undertake proper and adequate maintenance under the provisions of the current Queensland Heritage Act?

Question No5…What is preventing the Government from transferring the ownership of the “Jimna Fire Tower” from the current owner, “Forestry Plantations Queensland”, who’s core business does not have either the funding nor the charter to develop tourism projects or to preserve our Heritage, to a department which does? 

The Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG) eagerly looks forward to the opportunity to work with the relevant Government departments and Tourism stakeholders for the purpose of evaluating all possible options for the redevelopment of the Heritage Listed “Jimna Fire Tower” into a self funded tourist destination, BEFORE consideration is given to the destruction of our country’s Heritage and History.

 BIG CAMP OUT AT PEACH TREES CAMPING AREA weekend 28th 29th and 30th Sept. 07 camping permits online via www.epa.qld.gov.au , day visit activities at the Jimna Visitor Information Centre,

GREAT BUNYA DRIVE TOURISM PROJECT OMITS VITAL ACCESS TO KILCOY SHIRE

Monday, August 20th, 2007
Despite a concerted effort by the Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG) over the past eighteen months to promote the tourism attributes of the Jimna State Forest and Conondale National Park region, it is indeed disappointing to note that the recently launched Great Bunya Drive tourism project has omitted the main access road to the vast off road/forest recreation area north of Kilcoy, which has, in the eyes of a visitor, effectively relegated the majority of Kilcoy Shire into a tourism black spot. The Great Bunya Drive map, which can be seen via www.southburnettholidays.info , shows the main route traversing from Toowoomba to Gympie, with numerous relatively minor roads feeding into it from all directions, as well as major arterial roads and highways, excepting the “Kilcoy/Murgon road” and subsequent connections to the Sunshine Coast via Kenilworth.
 
The Great Bunya Drive is an Australian Government funded initiative, administered by Fraser Coast South Burnett Tourism (FCSBT), in conjunction with Tourism Queensland, which receives input from every Local Shire Council, including the Kilcoy Shire Council.
 
It is inconceivable that local government representation was unable to ensure the inclusion of a DESIGNATED HIGHWAY, which services Landcruiser Mountain Park, arguably the largest 4WD complex in Australia, the extremely popular Peach Trees Camping Reserve, the iconic Jimna Fire Tower, as well as providing access to the emerging Forest Recreation playground of South East Queensland. JFTAG can only hope that closer and more proactive future liaison with (FCSBT), will see the inclusion of Kilcoy/Murgon Road and Sunday Creek road in the next tourist brochure print run, therefore enhancing the future tourism prospects of Kilcoy Shire, and the Jimna Fire Tower.
 
THE BIG CAMP OUT AT PEACH TREES CAMPING RESERVE is set to provide an opportunity for visitors and supporters of the Jimna Fire Tower, to either enjoy a relaxing camping experience at Jimna, or to take a lazy day excursion into the high country. Whatever your preference,the weekend of 28th 29th & 30th of September 07 has been nominated for camping enthusiasts to secure campsite bookings online

COUNCIL AMALGAMATION BRINGS NEW HOPE FOR FIRE TOWER

Monday, August 6th, 2007

The amalgamation of the Kilcoy and Esk shires, to form the new Somerset Regional Shire, brings new hope for the preservation of the Heritage listed Jimna Fire Tower. With the prospect of being represented by a stronger council, the Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG) is looking forward, with reinvigorated optimism, to capitalising on the rapport which has been fostered with relevant State Government departments since the public campaign to save the tower began in early 2006. JFTAG recognises that the primary aim of the amalgamation process is to ensure that the big issues involving planning and development of our fast growing South East Queensland is not hamstrung by a local government which does not have the capacity to take the drivers seat and move these matters forward.

MANY THANKS TO THE BRISBANE VALLEY TOURISM  ASSN. INC (BVTAI) for the invitation to share their tourist information booth at last weekends Esk Multicultural Festival. If the hospitality extended, and the embracing enthusiasm exhibited is any indication of the willingness to work together for the promotion of tourism, then JFTAG is confident that a compatible and harmonious relationship has already been established.

GOLD, PASTORAL, TIMBER, AND CULTURE, both European and indigenous, are but a few of the common historical links that will bind the rural communities of this newly formed catchment shire,which now takes in the whole of somerset dam and ninety percent of the watershed from the Jimna/Conondale ranges. The redevelopment of the Jimna Fire Tower into a ‘must visit’ tourist destination surely represents a valuable addition to the diverse attractions surrounding the valley of the lakes and within the new Somerset Regional Shire.

KILCOY SHIRE COUNCIL UNWILLING TO TAKE JIMNA FIRE TOWER OWNERSHIP

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

At the meeting held 11/7/07 between Kilcoy Shire Council (KSC) and the Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG), it was made abundantly clear that quote “KSC do not intend to own or to be trustees of the Jimna Fire Tower” unquote. Where, as this decision may, in the first instance seem irresponsible or even callously predictable, to Kilcoy Councils’ defence, it appears that the goalposts may have been shifted. From day one the current owners, Forestry Plantations Queensland (FPQ), offered to provide funding for the establishment of an on site replica, in the event that there was NO ALTERNATIVE TO DEMOLITION of the tower. From JFTAG’S understanding, as a condition of the FPQ offer of ownership, this funding has now been withdrawn. Unless otherwise corrected, this is as much as to say that “FPQ will transfer ownership of the Jimna Fire Tower site and associated infrastructure to KSC, but FPQ will only provide funding for the establishment of an alternative on site replica, if the Jimna fire tower itself is DEMOLISHED”. To muddy the waters even further the will only provide funding offer has been documented by KSC as meaning may only provide funding.

In light of the above perceived FPQ policy shift, and following an extremely positive and productive meeting with local business entrepreneur Bill Hauritz, on Friday 13/7/07, JFTAG has resolved to ask FPQ via this news update, to enter into a mutually agreed holding pattern, until the outcome of the Local Government reform process is released in a few weeks time. Resolutions from the JFTAG/Bill Hauritz meeting relating to a range of vital matters, such as compatibility with the South East Queensland Strategic Plan, cultural and environmental tourism matters, public safety issues, future ownership options, public awareness and support as well as fund raising, are currently in the process of being prioritised before implementation.

TOWER NEWS IN BRIEF. Unanimous support received from the Kilcoy Chamber of Commerce. Brisbane Valley Tourism welcomes tower information at the Esk Multicultural Festival Saturday 28th July 2007. Big camp out planned for the weekend of Sept 28th 29th 30th 2007 at Peach Trees Camping Area Jimna.

KILCOY SHIRE COUNCIL INVITES JIMNA FIRE TOWER TALKS

Monday, July 9th, 2007

In response to calls for local government to establish it’s position with regard to potential options for the future of the Jimna Fire Tower, Kilcoy Shire Council (KSC) has invited a deputation of Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG) committee members, to attend a meeting set down for Wednesday 11/7/07. From this meeting, it is hoped that KSC will document it’s position with regard to both the short, and the long term future of the tower, and that a united working committee can be formed, for the purpose of administering a clear and united strategic plan. JFTAG recognises the importance of local government involvement and support, and will be eagerly looking forward to working with KSC in an attempt to move on to vital matters such as, new ownership, public safety, and future management issues.

CORPORATE AND PRIVATE MANAGEMENT OPTIONS BEING EVALUATED. It will be an exciting week for JFTAG committee members, who have also accepted an invitation to attend a meeting, on Friday 13/7/07, with prominent local entrepreneur Mr Bill Hauritz of Woodford Folk Festival fame. Mr Hauritz who has been an avid supporter of the Jimna Fire Tower from day one, has offered to enter into informal talks at this stage, for the purpose of evaluating possible corporate and/or private enterprise involvement in the Jimna Fire Towers future redevelopment and management, as a tourist destination.

PUBLIC AWARENESS EFFORTS TO CONTINUE UNABATED. Despite the promising developments above, it is important for JFTAG to continue it’s efforts to promote public awareness and to continue generating public support for the preservation of this historically significant Heritage Listed Tourist Icon. Please register your support by email davbar41@bigpond.com or if already registered please pass on this news update to your relatives, friends,neighbours and work mates.

KILCOY SHIRE COUNCIL TO ACCOMMODATE JIMNA FIRE TOWER TALKS

Monday, June 25th, 2007

In reply to a request from the Jimna Fire Tower Action Group (JFTAG) to enter into consultation with Kilcoy Shire Council,JFTAG has been reliably advised that Kilcoy Council will be establishing it’s official position regarding potential options for the Jimna Fire Tower, at the next council meeting Wednesday 27th June 07.Further advice reveals that after this meeting ,council will arrange a meeting with JFTAG officials, council officers and councillors, to document a future list of mutual options. JFTAG views this development as extremely pivotal, as support and input from local government, has always been considered to be vital to ultimate success. The importance of presenting a strong, united, and cohesive strategic plan to current owners Forestry Plantations Queensland (FPQ), who have already indicated their willingness to repair and transfer ownership, also cannot be underestimated.

SOMERSET VALLEYS WINE REGION RAFFLE RESULTS. A big thank you to the following local wineries, Hunting Lodge Estate, Nirvana Estate, Winya Wines and Woongooroo Estate for their sponsorship of a very successful Jimna Fire Tower raffle drawn Friday 22/06/07. Lucky winners Lesley Marman of Kilcoy, Glenys Reid of Keperra, Maree Kennedy of Delaney’s Creek and Hugh Laird of Palmwoods, will not only celebrate their win with a superb Kilcoy drop, but will also be able to toast the positive Jimna Fire Tower developments.

BIG CAMP OUT WEEKEND PLANNED FOR SPRING. The big camp out at Peach Trees Camping Area, set down for Friday 28th,Saturday 29th,and Sunday 30th of September 07,will give Jimna Fire Tower supporters an opportunity to see first hand the improvements underway, and the plans for tourism infrastructure in the Conondale/Jimna Range area, being initiated by both FPQ and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service(QPWS).

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