Rattler business case raises plenty of questions
LETTER TO THE EDITOR POINTS OUT SOME PROBLEMS WITH MARY VALLEY RATTLER BUSINESS CASE
FOR those who are interested in what I've found so far that concerns me in the business case for the Rattler. I'll do it in the order that it's written so that if you do have a copy you'll have an idea of where to look.
Much of the business case is designed around the benefits of replicating the experience people had riding the Rattler to Imbil, but in this model the rider will not have to commit to the long 43km journey as it will only travel to Amamoor.
Unfortunately the end experience at Amamoor will be nothing like it was at Imbil, but the end experience to date in my reading has not been addressed.
So my question would be: what happens when you get to Amamoor?
Imbil had a coffee shop, pub for lunch, market etc. Does Amamoor have anything similar? Amamoor has a corner store and a cafe that does not have a commercial kitchen and can in no way cater to a train full of visitors.
So a long trip for no end experience. Not much to entice visitors to recommend it to others. Which then in turn makes all projections invalid unless someone is prepared to take the risk and build a business out there that is solely reliant on the Rattler being a success.
On the following page the report itself says that 75% of day tourists using the Rattler opted for the full day journey. So the committing to the 43km journey was never an issue for those who wanted to use the Rattler anyway.
On Page 9 there is apparently a possible issue with Dagun Station as some land near is privately owned (as council would be aware).
Now, before commissioning all these research projects etc, adding levies, a responsible council should have had negotiations and decisions in place with that land owner to ensure what they were planning could even occur.
Page 11 - case studies. The only thing these case studies have in common with the Rattler is that they are trains and that the majority run at a loss.
So the benefits are seen as valued added to the community by tourists' other spending in the area.
All of these other trains are in well established tourist areas with high turnover of visitors.
One in the UK has 250,000 per year, one is here in Kakadu which has 340,000 visitors per year. All are licensed venues in themselves with way more capacity for passengers than is available in the Gympie model.
The section on revenue is not bad with ideas of secondary income streams for the facilities.
I do have doubts about the value of some of what they are suggesting but I'm not sure if that's because I have no real understanding of the train enthusiast mindset.
The comparisons they are making are with race car driving, helicopter and plane learn to flies all costing between $100 and $250, so would put the train experience at $200 which is the high end - which seems out of proportion.
The idea that the space could also be developed for conference and events space hosting approximately 15 events per year seems good in theory but cost of hire at $500 per event seems quite high with space available and is another conference venue required.
The last area I've read to is the opportunities which determines that in 10 years the trip to Amamoor will pay for itself by year 3, but the trip to Monkland would not even by year 10.
That the equivalent of full-time employees is from 15 to 29 depending on the model chosen would be created. Unfortunately for the report, writers have made either a really bad cut and paste error or something is seriously wrong as the growth value added for the community is identical for both options sitting at $2.1million per year.
If both models are going to generate the same amount of value to the region why would we spend the extra $7 milllion?
These are just a few (not all or I'd be sitting in a corner rocking backwards and forwards) of the issues I have found so far in this report.
As I said, I'm sad that the council will have paid good money to have this prepared and whoever has read it has deemed it good enough to release. It is flawed in so many ways and I can't even work up the enthusiasm to read the rest.
Would love for those who have read it to share their opinions of what they thought.