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City folk not welcome: operators

THE recent influx of city people entering the Boorara Forest Block at Northcliffe is not welcome says tourist operators in the area.

Northcliffe spokesman Anne O’Donnell said the city invasion of greenies posed a serious threat to the tourism potential of Northcliffe.

She said the protests could not have come at a worse time than coinciding with the annual Karri Cup, a mountain bike event which attracts many visitors to Northcliffe for the long weekend.

Mrs O’Donnell said the last thing the visitors wanted when they came to Northcliffe was to be caught up in the conflict at Boorara.

“It’s a pretty poor show when a social and sporting event is forced to maintain a police presence to contain the actions of protesters,” she said.

Forest Products Minister Paul Omodei said the Boorara block was allocated for logging with the blessing of the local community and environmental groups.

“During the Ferguson inquiry public consultative process, a number of forest blocks in the southern forests were identified as ‘sensitive’ and a recommendation was made to exclude harvesting of old growth karri from those areas,” Mr Omodei said.

“The issue of Boorara was raised but at public meetings the overwhelming feeling was that areas of Northcliffe, Wheatley and Crowea East forest blocks were more important and these should be set aside from logging in preference to Boorara.”

Mr Omodei said, based on the consultative inquiry with environmental groups, an end to logging of old growth karri in sixteen blocks was announced. The Boorara block was not included because it was not considered a sensitive area.

Mrs O’Donnell said the action by city outsiders supporting a small group of local trouble-makers was a tragedy for Northcliffe, a “small town struggling to carve out a future in the midst of trying times for local people who want to work hard and see Northcliffe prosper”.

She said the actions of the protesters were abhorrent to many local residents who wanted to see the tourism industry grow.

“There’s nothing we welcome more than visitors coming to Northcliffe and sharing our peaceful, country lifestyle, but we’re completely fed up with city protesters causing trouble in our town and claiming to speak for the Northcliffe community,” Mrs O’Donnell said.

“They are jeopardising everyone’s future by their irresponsible actions,” she said.

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