This is a huge worry. The cable car that has been proposed for kunanyi/ Mount Wellington, in Hobart, which has been looking ever less likely to proceed, has just received a massive boost. The Tasmanian government has announced that it will will acquire land, and enact new land ownership laws to help clear the way for a cable car development application.
This project would cause major visual scarring to the mountain and many localised ecological impacts. It represents an old fashioned ‘Disneyland’ approach to tourism and is widely opposed by the community in Hobart. You can find background information here.
The following is taken from a news report that appeared in The Sunday Tasmanian newspaper on February 25, 2017. Authors are Patrick Billings and Simeon Thomas-Wilson.
Cable car rides again
MOUNT Wellington cable car proponent Adrian Bold plans to lodge a development application by the end of the year after the State Government yesterday breathed life back into the project.
The entrepreneur moved last night to reassure Tasmanians sceptical of the proposal that he did have the financial backing to get the $54 million project off the ground.
“It’s not going to be the white elephant that people think that it’s going to be,” Mr Bold said.
“We have had various capital raises to date and we’ve been oversubscribed, which is a good thing.”
Yesterday, State Growth Minister Matthew Groom described the cable car as a “tourism experience people wanted in Tasmania”.
He said the State Government would acquire land, and enact new land ownership laws in Parliament, to help clear the way for a cable car development application.
Mr Groom said to allow the proposal to progress, the State Government would acquire part of kunanyi/Mount Wellington. He said the proponent would still need all relevant environmental, heritage and Aboriginal approvals, but new laws would solve the current stumbling block of landowner consent.
“We’ve been talking about a cable car for over 100 years and we’ve got a current proposal that’s stuck with the Hobart City Council,” Mr Groom said
“After careful consideration, the Government has decided to prepare new laws to acquire the public land on kunanyi/Mt Wellington necessary for the project to proceed.
“It’s got to go through the normal planning process but it is important that the Government steps in to ensure it can do that.”
Mr Bold had required permission from the Hobart City Council to use the land on Mt Wellington, which it owns.
This permission hasn’t been forthcoming but if the Government’s proposed legislation passes Parliament, it won’t be necessary.
Mr Groom said it would address the issues of land tenure and landowner consent on major projects.
“The Government will retain control and ownership of the land, the new laws will simply allow a cable car proponent to obtain the consent necessary to have the project proceed through the planning process,” Mr Groom said.
“I want to be clear, the Government will not be providing any financial contribution to the project and the Mt Wellington Cableway Company will need to secure its own finance for the proposal and enter into agreements with any private landowners as required.
“There will also be opportunities for the public to have their say if, and when, the proponent submits a proposal for planning approval.”
The Government’s intervention comes after state co-ordinator-general John Perry recommended that the project was a viable business proposition.
But Mr Perry has not recognised the cable car project as a project of state significance.
The State Government identified that one of the obstacles to the project moving forward was the issue of landowner consent, so it stepped in to enable the proponent a clear pathway to lodge a development application.
Mr Bold said the State Government’s step was significant and that once the legislation got through Parliament, he would lodge a development application shortly after.
“Once it goes through Parliament and we’ve signed the lease we will be submitting a DA, hopefully some time this year,” he said.