The Sunday Tasmanian reports that

IMG_0384“Buoyed by the removal of the Wellington Park Management Trust’s veto power last week, the man behind Mt Wellington’s proposed cable car project hopes it will be up and running by 2017.

In State Parliament on Wednesday, the Labor Party supported legislation introduced by the Liberals aimed at removing the trust’s power to veto developments on the mountain.

Proposed developments will still need to go through the regular council planning approvals. But the legislation has given new hope to Mt Wellington Cableway Company executive director Adrian Bold, who said the controversial $37 million project would be funded private Canadian investors”.

Greens environment spokeswoman Cassy O’Connor said

“The bottom line is that we’ve never seen a cable car proposal come forward that is viable, that is economically sound, and that has overwhelming public support.

“I think we can do better for the mountain. Yes, I think we should have a sensible discussion about development on the summit … but a cable car is not the answer.”

Greens MP Peter Wish has previously said

I recently met with Sky Rail owner and consultant Dr Ken Chapman in Cairns and he described the business case for a cable car on Mount Wellington as very complicated and far from certain to be economically viable.

Any serious push for a Mount Wellington cable car has in the past resulted in community division. In 1984 there was a serious push for a cable car and again in 1993 and on both occasions there was no economic backing, the project was not viable and the cable car was put aside.

There is, of course, diversity of opinion, even amongst people that aren’t just of the ‘develop at all costs’ mind set. One example comes from writer Susan Moore:

“I reckon if more people can experience the beauty of Hobart from the top it would be a good thing. Aside from the tourists, I think it would be a popular option for people who want to go up the top and walk or mountain bike down or take the kids to play in the snow. Maybe, like some Swiss ski resorts, Mount Wellington could even become car-free?”

I tend to feel this is a bit hopeful, as any attempt to close the mountain would create an up roar amongst car advocacy groups and push people that want to get up the mountain without walking or riding into having to pay a private developer for the privilege of getting there.

Where is the project at?

It is still in the concept phase, described by the proponent like this:

Once the Tasmanian Planning Commission ratify the proposed WPMT 2012-2017 management plan, MWCC can initiate the next steps ahead, including a comprehensive technical analysis and environmental impact study to identify the most appropriate system, route, amenities and location for the project.

Once evaluated, MWCC can continue design work towards submitting a formal proposal, bringing the Concept Stage to a close.

Details on the WPMP (Wellington Park Management Plan) can be found here.

With both the Liberals and ALP voting to remove the Wellington Park Management Trust’s veto power over developments, the cable car proposal is getting closer.