The Border Watch : February 20th 2014
8 opinion EDITORIAL FRUSTRATION over hefty airfares by regional carrier Regional Express appear to be growing across the community as high aviation costs begin to hurt key sectors in our community. With return flights reportedly more than $600 at times, the cost of air travel is beginning to get out of reach for tourists, the business sector and the broader community. Given it is a five-hour drive away from key metropolitan centres, affordable air travel is crucial for the future growth of our city. Business people, travellers and residents attending key medical appointments rely on a swift and affordable service. Unfortunately, it appears even business people are now turning away from the convenience of air travel because of soaring costs. In comparison, Port Lincoln - which has a smaller population - had airfares by QantasLink advertised to Adelaide for only $59 one-way yesterday. That airport reportedly attracts 200,000 passenger movements each year, which is more than double the number through Mount Gambier. While it is further away from a capital city and is home to a vibrant tuna industry, questions need to be asked about why Mount Gambier cannot mirror much of this success. Grant District Council has spearheaded a renewal of the airport facilities over the past five years, which means the airport can attract larger aircraft, such as QantasLink or Virgin planes. Although the aviation industry is experiencing turbulent times at the moment, a cheaper and more bustling air service is needed to ensure the future growth of the city. Maybe it is time for community leaders, council and the commercial aviation sector to come together to forge a plan for the future. With the fledgling Liberal Government now in the halls of power in Canberra, it is also time for the government to consider reinstating regional route subsidies. After all, the vibrancy of regions is vital for the future of this nation. ViSiT US onLinE borderwatch.com.au COMMENT What is it that sets South East region apart? BRENTON TOURISM MATTERS MANSER TO M Tourism educator ou ESTABLISHED 1861 Published by The Border Watch Pty Ltd ABN: 78 007 828 819 Registered office: 81 Commercial Street East, Mount Gambier, SA 5290 Postal address: Box 309, Mount Gambier, SA 5290 Telephone: 08 8724 1555; Fax: 08 8724 1551 Website: www.borderwatch.com.au SMS: 0427 135 114 Proud member of the SCOTT GROUP OF COMPANIES The Border Watch Management: General Manager: Robin Reid Email: email@example.com Editor: Jason Wallace Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sports Editor: Rod Morris Email: email@example.com Sales Manager: Dennis Jackson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Pre-Press Manager: Jamie Croker Email: email@example.com Administration Manager: Demi Hammond Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Border Watch Audited by Audit Bureau of Circulations Telephone 8724 1555, Fax 8724 1551 Responsibility for editorial comment is taken by Jason Wallace, 81 Commercial Street East, Mt Gambier The Border Watch proudly uses 100% recycled paper 538600 8 - The Border Watch, Thursday, February 20, 2014 RACHEL MUELLER Mount Gambier Yes. I would like to see bigger planes at the airport and cheaper flights offered to the region’s customers. Yes, it will be a lot easier for travellers from across the region and I strongly support the move. JOHN HOPKINS Kalangadoo NISSA WESTBROOK Mount Gambier Yes, absolutely. We need more competition in the area so our flights will be cheaper because they are too expensive currently. PEOPLE live in all sorts of places throughout our great country and each place has its own story to tell. Every town or city came into existence for a purpose. For example, the town of Moonta came into existence because of the copper mining that was going on back in the 1800s. The town of Rendelsham came into existence because of the growers of “chicory”. The area called Caveton came into existence because of the hotel that was there. It was a stop on the road for weary travellers in the days of horse and cart. The original purpose for the creation of these towns may no longer be relevant, but nevertheless the towns remain. And so “the story” of how the town came into existence and stories of the people who lived there become the material for all sorts of applications, including art, poetry, education, film, books and, not the least, tourism. In basic commerce, the thing that is generally highlighted about any business is the point of difference STREET SWEEPER Would you like to see another airline service the Mount Gambier airport? between other similar businesses and the benefits to the customer of shopping in yours. In tourism, it is the same. The difference in our region/town compared to others becomes, or should become, the focal point of our attraction. So the question is “what is our point of difference” or “what is the thing that makes our region unique from others”? The answer is “the major difference between our area and other areas is the caves”. Of all the caves throughout the vastness of Australia, well over half of them are found in our small district. From the world heritage listed dry caves at Naracoorte, through to the water-filled caves of Engelbrecht and Piccininnie Ponds and all the other caves in between, wet or dry, there is no other place in the world that has this attraction. We are camped on a piece of land that was once the old seabed. When the sea eventually receded to its current place, the seabed was left open and exposed and compacted and hardened to become what we now call “limestone”. Like the volcanos that erupted after the movement of the sea, this story is not millions of years old, but roughly 5000 years old, according to the scientists. The old seabed is the limestone underneath us that has slowly been eroded away by underground water that seeps through the limestone (limestone being a porous rock), making its way to the sea via gravity. During this movement of water, there is a chemical reaction that happens when it seeps through the limestone, and some of the limestone dissolves, leaving great caverns through the stone. It was this permanent fresh water source and the quality of the volcanic soil that attracted settlement here in the first place. After many years, water levels below us lowered, revealing a honeycomb of caves, some now dry and some with water in them still. Sometimes the caverns that had been forming underneath were getting close to the surface in size and the roof caved in, thus forming what we call a “sinkhole”. A perfect example of this is the cave in the Cave Gardens and another is Umpherston’s Sinkhole. Each cave has a story to tell. For example, the cave in the middle of the road at Allendale that opened up and swallowed a man and his horsedrawn wagon as they passed over in the 1800s. Or the caves that contain early Aboriginal markings featured in the Deep Time film in the Main Corner. So, what’s our point of difference and what should we focus our tourist attraction on? The answer is “the caves”.
February 19th 2014
February 21st 2014