Dark sky park plans could boost astro-tourism
SOUTH Burnett astronomer James Barclay hopes an international certification can boost astro-tourism in the Bunya Mountains.
The Kingaroy Observatory owner wants the International Dark-Sky Association to classify the region as a dark sky park.
These are areas that, according to the IDA, have a exceptional quality of starry nights.
Warrumbungle National Park in New South Wales is the only location in Australia that has the certification.
Mr Barclay said he wanted to submit the application to give the region recognition.
"I'm doing it because I believe the Bunya Mountains deserves this prestigious award because of its beautiful dark skies,” he said.
"It has been proven all over the world in many countries where they have these international dark sky places... tourism has increased immensely.
"There are millions of people overseas that do not see single stars because of light pollution.
"It's primarily for tourism and astro-tourism. It's not just for now, it's for the future.”
The IDA was formed in 1988 to protect the night skies for present and future generations.
Mr Barclay said he hoped to do astronomy shows in the Bunya Mountains if the region secured the classification.
Community and council representatives met on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the plan.
Mr Barclay said some issues, such as residential lighting, still needed to be discussed before the application was submitted.
"There will be another meeting,” he said.
South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell said the council supported any proposal that boosted tourism.
"There certainly needs to be full community consultation,” Cr Campbell said.
"We will be happier to put our tick of approval once all of the issues have been fleshed out.”