Jim backs rally plan to protect animals
REBEL conservationist Jim Warburton says the upcoming world championship car rally, which has upset many of his former colleagues, will be a good thing.
Mr Warburton, who earlier this year was expelled from the Murwillumbah-based Caldera Environment Centre over his support for an eco-village development planned by Peter van Lieshout, has praised rally organisers for their efforts to safeguard wildlife.
He said the rally, which is expected to bring thousands of visitors to the Tweed, will have a positive economic benefit and it is up to locals to “make the best of it”.
He added that a controversial ecological study commissioned by rally organisers, far from being flawed, was good because it sets a valuable precedent for rallies around the world which will save wildlife everywhere.
Mr Warburton told Tweed councillors at a community access session on Tuesday the 400-page study by Murwillumbah-based Biolink Pty Ltd was an “incredibly important document” and condemned the media for simplistic reports criticising it.
He told the Tweed Daily News that last weekend he attended the Border Ranges car rally, which was based at Woodenbong and seen as a local forerunner to the world championship event, to observe the impacts.
“It was very professionally run and also a rehearsal for some aspects of Speed on Tweed and the rally here,” Mr Warburton said.
“It was almost a military exercise with commanders and marshals and a high degree of control and safety precautions for crew, spectators and the environment.”
Mr Warburton said the ecological report for the international car rally was important because it was a “world first” which would set new standards for Europe and the United States and encourage better standards for rallying in south-east Asia, South America and Africa “where much improvement is needed.
Mr Warburton's comments come hard on the heels of a rejection by rally organisers of two reviews criticising the ecological report.
The reviews by Dr Stephen Ambrose and Mr Mark Graham were revealed last week.