An Environmentally Sustainable Construction
Environmental conservation has long been a driving force behind Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the design, construction and experience of The Edge Lookout is no exception to this.
The Edge Lookout was proposed to provide Skyrail guests with never-before seen panoramic views of the impressive Barron Gorge and Falls. Encompassing a large boardwalk, a nerve-testing glass floor section, sweeping views of the rocky vista and up-close views of the dramatic waterfall, The Edge Lookout provides an entirely new experience to the multi award-winning Skyrail rainforest experience.
The Edge Lookout officially opened to the public on the 25th of March 2019; however, the concept of The Edge Lookout was first conceived years ago. Design and construction of this notable structure in a biologically diverse World Heritage listed area requires significant attention to detail and planning. As a result, Skyrail went to great lengths to be able to allow guests to take in the awe-inspiring views while protecting the surrounding environment.
Similar to the methods that Skyrail Rainforest Cableway itself was initially constructed, each stage of The Edge Lookout was planned and executed with environmental protection at the forefront. All design work was completed in consultation with the relevant Government body – Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA). Skyrail and WTMA work very closely with all Skyrail projects in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area to ensure rainforest protection and promotion is upheld to the highest degree.
The Edge Lookout location was chosen and designed to avoid any vegetation clearing where possible. If any vegetation removal or pruning was required, it had to be approved by WTMA and Skyrail’s Environmental Management Team. The work was conducted by qualified Skyrail Rangers or a highly skilled arborist. Erosion and sediment control were also implemented to prevent undesired environment shifts. These controls were inspected and reviewed throughout the entire construction process and following any periods of extensive rain to ensure the highest standard remained implemented.
The Edge Lookout was constructed by Dawson Engineering and when construction began protecting the vegetation on site was a high priority. Skyrail went above and beyond any legal requirements and selectively removed seedlings, ground covers and other small plants, with approximately 40 plants potted and cared for throughout the construction period. These were all replanted in the re-vegetation phase after The Edge Lookout was completed.
To ensure compliance with the environmental standards set throughout construction, all contractors working onsite were given specific inductions and informed of the permit requirements. In addition, all earth-moving machinery was washed down prior to entering the World Heritage Listed Area to remove any weeds and other pathogens potentially entering the area.
Once The Edge Lookout construction had completed, the environmental work continued. In addition to replanting vegetation that was present prior to construction The Edge Lookout site was re-vegetated with a further 200 local rainforest species. The Skyrail Rangers’ goal was to restore the environment not just to how it was before The Edge Lookout construction but to how it was prior to European settlement in the area.
In doing this, Skyrail worked with WTMA to meticulously plan the layout and location of re-vegetation. Great care was given in selecting plant species that would have been a part of the vegetation prior to European arrival and which would also encourage birds and other wildlife (such as Cassowaries, Musky Rat Kangaroos, Possums, Flying Foxes and Snakes) to populate the area.
These plants included the Lomandras (to aid in erosion control) and the Little Evodia (famous for attracting the vibrant blue Ulysses Butterfly) as well as fan palms and flowering species such as the Powder Puff Lilly Pilly and the Scented Daphne due to their beauty and being a favourite amongst native birds. The re-vegetation was highly successful and is expected to continue thriving.
Environmentally sensitive and another impressive feat of engineering, The Edge Lookout provides Skyrail guests with awe-inspiring sweeping panoramic views and an opportunity to experience Barron Gorge like never before.
Discover The Edge Lookout for yourself and explore #TheAncientRainforest with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway in Tropical North Queensland.
Written by Sarah Latham