If you can find it, Long Mountain Way has one of the most outstanding lookout views in the district, which could be signposted and included on tourist maps.
Why isn’t it?
That’s a question Tyalgum resident Meggan Jack has been asking for some time about the site on Boxsell Road, off Limpinwood Road, between the village of Tyalgum and Limpinwood Valley Road.
But she says that Tweed Shire Council has been short on answers.
Ms Jack told Echonetdaily it is ‘over three years since my mother and I got the Tweed Council, to finally close the grossly under-utilised waste transfer station, (WTS), and began talking about replacing it with a lookout for all to enjoy.’
She questions why there is still no signage.
‘Why has there been no official opening and recognition of this most wonderful and easily accessed visitor lookout?
‘Why is it a hidden secret?
Ms Jack, who runs the Viridian Art Gallery in Tyalgum, which she describes as ‘the unofficial visitor information centre,’ said she is constantly being asked by tourists where it is and why it isn’t better signposted.
She says she was cut out of the decision-making process on how to spend the funds saved by the closure of the Waste Transfer station, despite being instrumental in agitating for its removal.
‘The Working Group had lots of projects within the village done first, despite the WTS/lookout being a shire asset. The lookout has had the bare minimum and has still not been properly finished.
‘Four years ago I gave the council a detailed plan of the site that I had drawn up as a lookout, which would create a user-friendly picnic spot for probably a great deal less than has already been spent.
‘The council dismissed this “amateur” design, and contracted out the work to a fencing contractor, who put up a fence, right across the top of the ridge, making access to the views off either side of the ridge, restricted,’ she said.
She said a council contractor also tore down an open sided shed left over from the WTS, which she added, ‘could have provided visitors with a wonderful wet-weather viewing shelter and could have housed some under-cover picnic tables’.
Ms Jack also visualised painting ‘an artistic mudmap on the roof and outside back wall, so that visitors could readily see the local landmarks like The Pinnacle, Blackbutt Lookout, Sphinx Rock, Brummies Lookout etc.
‘Although it is a far cry from what it once was in the recent past, and is a far cry from what it could be, at least there are a few basic amenities for our visitors to sit on and have their lunch, if they only knew about it and could find it on their maps,’ Ms Jack said.
‘Come on Tweed Council let’s put Long Mountain Lookout on the map, and acknowledge the First Peoples who once maintained the rainforest above, keeping a track clear, so they could walk up and down with ease.’
According to council’s waste manager Rod Dawson, who was closely involved with the project, the minimalist makeover is what the community wanted and signage could create a hazard at the intersection where it is situated.
He said the working group, from which Ms Jack claims she was excluded, ‘identified the need for better facilities in Tyalgum for young people’.
This, and the conversion of the transfer station into a lookout, were paid for through the reallocation of over $250,000 of funds previously used to operate the WTF as well as via state and additional council funds.
‘This work was achieved through a strong partnership with the Tyalgum community, with representation from a wide range of Tyalgum organisations,’ Mr Dawson said.
‘As a result of this community engagement, a list of projects were identified and prioritised and it was decided by the community to spend the bulk of the funds on facilities in the village and take a minimalist approach to the lookout, creating a native bushland lookout, where picnic tables, seats and fencing have been established.
‘The Boxsell Road turnoff is on a blind corner and signage could create a potential hazard.
‘If signage and other upgrades were to happen at the site, further funding would need to be sourced,’ he said.