Bunya Mountains property owner and ecologist Bruce Thompson

June 16, 2020

A second petition supporting a push to have the Bunya Mountains declared a “Dark Sky Park” will be presented to the South Burnett Regional Council at their general meeting this week.

The petition contains more than 300 signatures collected by the main proponent, local landowner Bruce Thompson.

A similar petition has been prepared for the Western Downs Regional Council which has jurisdiction over the rest of the Bunya Mountains area.

Mr Thompson has been advocating for the Bunya Mountains to become a Dark Sky Park for several years, building on an earlier Dark Skies proposal which had been floated by local astronomer James Barclay in 2016.

However, Mr Barclay pulled out of the Bunyas project in 2019 after opposition to the proposal by Bunya Mountains’ residents.

South Burnett CEO Mark Pitt told southburnett.com.au on Monday that Council’s position on the proposal had not changed from that stated by then-Mayor Keith Campbell in 2019.

He said Council was supportive of the concept but it needed to be “community-led”.

“If the community really wants this, they need to fund it and drive it,” Mr Pitt said.

He said no funds had been allocated for the Light Management Plan which would be a necessary part of the project.

It has been estimated this plan could cost $20,000 to develop.

Mr Pitt said a major sticking point for Council would be the ongoing enforcement of a Light Management Plan – which would take on the force of a local law and become a Council responsibility.

“It gets very complicated with enforcement,” he said.

Mr Thompson recently unveiled a new website, Dark Sky Warrior, in support of the project.

He said  it did not make sense why the South Burnett and Western Downs councils would not be supporting a Dark Sky Park “given the economic benefits for the region especially during the COVID recession and what could be another episode of drought”.

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