The much touted Derby Precinct Plan that was developed by Sustainable Timber Tasmania and the Dorset Council is a plan for allowing logging as usual in the most iconic High Tourism Value forests in north east Tasmania.
The areas that are covered by ‘The Plan’ are predominantly areas of Crown Land that is not in the logging sights, recovering young forests impacted by the old footprint of the town of Derby and the Cascade Dam collapse in 1929. The area in the Plan excludes vast swathes of native forests that are slated for logging from Krushka’s, Atlas, Dam Busters, Weld Hill and the Blue Tier. These forests contain habitat for rare and threatened species including the Tasmanian wedge tail eagle, and federally listed threatened vegetation communities of wet eucalyptus viminalis (white gum) forests.
The iconic Atlas peaks that are visible from the Tasman Highway and the main street of Derby are still on the chopping block under the current draft of this plan. Some of the most High Tourism Value forests in the north east, and last stretches of intact wet mixed forests of myrtle, tree fern and tall eucalypt forests.
The draft plan claims that it will “firmly position the town as a premier mountain bike destination in Tasmania”. That would appear to be downgrading the status of Blue Derby, given that Derby mountain bike trails are now recognized internationally as one of the best mountain bike destinations in the world thanks to our wild forested trails and as celebrated in the World Endurance Series held stages at Derby.
With new mountain bike destinations being carefully and sensitively planned and developed in areas with great natural beauty like Warburton in Victoria it is imperative that Tasmania gets serious about protecting our natural assets and recognizes the need to build on what has been created.