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Newsletter no.18 from Ald Anna Reynolds - March 2017
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In January’s newsletter, I wrote about the issues to watch in 2017 – and we’re off to a flying start! Already the state government seems to be building its election campaign strategy around over-riding local governments, and picking fights rather than resolving conflict. Here are some updates on a few of the hot topics crossing my desk...

Cable car and kunanyi

The Hobart City Council (HCC) is the major on-ground manager of kunanyi/Mt Wellington. We invest your rates in looking after the mountain, and as Chair of the Parks Committee, people tell me we do a pretty good job.
 
Unlike HCC, the state government does very little to look after the mountain. They contribute the same tiny budget to its management as they did when the Wellington Park Management Trust was established in 1996.
 
On 25 February, the state government announced its decision to take public land on kunanyi/Mt Wellington from Council ownership to enable a development application for a cable car proposal. They made this announcement to the media but did not inform the Council at the time, except with a phone call to the Lord Mayor.
 
Here’s what I
said on radio in response. On 6 March, I moved an urgency motion calling on Council to make a public statement of opposition to the State Governments’ plan to forcibly acquire Hobart Council land. That same day, more than a week after his media announcement, Minister for State Growth Matt Groom wrote to Lord Mayor Sue Hickey about his plan to acquire land for the cable car:
I am aware that a number of public statements have been made by aldermen which have included some negative statements in relation to the current proposal. It would be prudent for greater care to be taken in making public statements in order to ensure they do not prejudice the important role the Council will have as the proposal progresses through the planning process.”
 
The procedure for dealing with an urgency motion is that Council must first resolve if it is urgent, before it can consider the substance of the motion. At the Council meeting, a majority of Aldermen decided my motion was not urgent.
 
So I’ve proposed a new motion for the Governance Committee meeting of 28 March:
"The Hobart City Council is an active and important caretaker of kunanyi/Mt Wellington, spending significant resources every year on management of the park;
 
Hobart City Council is working proactively to improve and enhance the visitor experience on kunanyi/Mt Wellington and has recently approved the development of three exciting new visitor experiences set out in the One Mountain prospectus;
 
Hobart City Council has approved and is currently developing a major upgrade of the Organ Pipes track and will be spending over $1 million in the next two years to create a world class visitor experience on par with the Wineglass Bay walking track;
 
And resolves to:
Write to the Premier expressing our concern about the state governments’ plan to forcibly acquire Hobart Council land to facilitate the Mount Wellington cable car project, and the way the government failed to consult with the Hobart City Council before announcing its plan in the media.
 
Request an urgent report from the General Manager about the legal basis for and potential precedent created by the state government's forcible acquisition of Council land. The report also provide advice about issues that a forcible acquisition may raise for Hobart City's assets, day-to-day management and for the current Council projects on kunanyi/Mt Wellington.”

Organ Pipes and Pinnacle tracks

Among the highlights of Hobart life are the fantastic recreational and tourism opportunities afforded by our mountain. HCC is rejuvenating the Organ Pipes and Pinnacle tracks on kunanyi/Mt Wellington. The overall objective is to provide a 2-3 hour walk suitable for people with some bushwalking experience and of average fitness. Our skilled in-house team is renovating four kilometres of the 100 year old track in three stages over the next two years. 
 
This work is part of our overall plan for
three new visitor infrastructure projects at kunanyi/Mt Wellington, at a total cost of around $7.3 million.

Once completed, I predict the track along the base of the stunning Organ Pipes will be one of the most iconic walks in Australia. I trust that the improved views and visitor experiences offered by these public amenities will not be compromised by other potential commercial developments in the future.
Street Trees Strategy 

The Council plants about 150 street trees every year. Street trees are a huge priority for many cities around the world as evidence emerges about how useful they are! They help to reduce pollution and car accidents, and mitigate the impacts of climate change on cities. Trees also make our streets more pleasant places to be, and even increase property values.
 
Currently 12,880 trees are listed on our register of street trees. Some streets have no trees at all. With more than 300 kilometres of streets, taking up to 15 times more area than all of Hobart’s urban parks and gardens, there is plenty of scope to do more plantings along our streets.
 
A new
draft Street Tree Strategy released by Council is a great piece of work with some really interesting information about the trees we currently have in Hobart and the condition they’re in.

Our new strategy will become the blueprint for action in the next 20 years, so if you are interested in where trees are planted, what type, how many, and processes for their protection or removal, please have your say.
Transport Corridor project

For several years, I’ve been working to get a light rail system between the city and Hobart’s northern suburbs. Working with the Glenorchy City Council, I helped to establish a joint Steering Committee to broaden the assessment of the benefits of light rail beyond just public transport.
 
I’m very pleased that this has now resulted in a $200 million blueprint – the
‘Glenorchy to Hobart Public Transport Corridor Project’ – that includes new public spaces, modern housing and shopping, and restaurant strips linked by a light rail system.
 
The report proposes new “key precincts” for more intensive urban, commercial and community development at New Town, Albert Rd, Derwent Park Rd, Glenorchy Central, Berridale and Claremont, focused in areas within 400m of the existing rail corridor and linked with future light rail stops.
 
It’s now under consideration by the State Government and should become part of any future City Deal with the Federal Government. At my suggestion, Council will now also look into the possibility of medium-density housing development on Council-owned land to keep the momentum going.
 
With polling last year showing strong support for light rail (62.2 per cent of Denison residents in favour, ReachTel poll for Mercury, Nov 2016), we are in the strongest position in a long time to make light rail a reality. 

Zebras and wombats for Hobart 

People often ask me why doesn’t Hobart have zebra crossings like they do everywhere else?.  It’s a good question, given that zebra crossings are found all around Australia and in the national road design guidelines. 
 
In November 2016 Hobart City Council received a letter from Tasmania’s Commissioner for Transport to provide clarity on the guidelines we should use when installing zebra crossings.  The advice from the Commissioner supports the use of Victoria’s guidelines on the installation of zebra crossings.  
 
These Victorian guidelines (or warrants) suggest that zebra crossings are suitable in one-lane each-way streets that have a speed limit of 50km/h, vehicle volumes of more than 200 per hour, and at least 20 pedestrian movements per hour.
 
Many zebra crossings are now being raised slightly to reduce vehicle speeds at the crossing point, and make them more conspicuous to drivers. This kind of infrastructure (also referred to as ‘wombat crossings’) makes the crossing point level with the footpath so the pedestrian does not have to look to see where their feet are but can instead focus on the traffic.  These raised crossings are particularly helpful in areas with a lot of elderly pedestrians as it reduces trips and falls and improves safety.
 
A before/after evaluation of 14 wombat crossings on higher traffic volume roads across Victoria identified a 45% reduction in vehicle-pedestrian crashes at these locations.

Council is about to spend money on pedestrian infrastructure in West Hobart, South Hobart and Lenah Valley.  This as an opportunity to provide the best options for the community and raised zebra crossings should be considered in our key neighbourhood streets. 
 
The West Hobart community deserves a medal for their persistence in trying to get safer pedestrian crossings on Hill Street for more than decade - that's way too long for such a simple request! Zebra and wombat crossings have been a bit elusive in Hobart, while they continue to be installed in cities around the nation. I really hope that we can get an effective solution delivered soon.
Over and under
 

Better Hobart is a group of people with good ideas for Hobart's future development. Their monthly networking get-togethers are held at the Hope and Anchor (Hobart's oldest pub!) at 65 Macquarie Street.
 
The most recent talk was about whether
overpasses and underpasses are a solution for getting across our busy streets...or if they are an expensive, old-style solution that leads to cars dominating our streets.

The next Better Hobart event is 12 April - 'Thinking Outside the (Carpark) Rectangle'.
Get in the swim!

The Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre is a very popular community facility but at almost 21 years old, it is due for significant redevelopment.
 
The Hobart City Council has developed a
Draft Master Plan for the centre. This is your opportunity to have a say on how the Aquatic Centre should be upgraded. 






 
Sunday Tasmanian,
26 Feb 2017







 






 


 



 


 

 

 

 


 




 



 
Raised zebra crossings, known as 'wombats',
in Melbourne



 
A roundabout retrofitted with a raised zebra crossing, Melbourne



 










 
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I'd love to hear your ideas and opinions, and receive your feedback on Council decisions.

Email me at
ald.reynolds@hobartcity.com.au
Call me on 0423222149
Write to me at Town Hall, Macquarie Street, Hobart 7001.
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Previous editions:
Newsletter 1 (Jan 2015)
Newsletter 2 (Feb 2015)
Newsletter 3 (April 2015)
Newsletter 4 (May 2015)
Newsletter 5 (July 2015)
Newsletter 6 (August 2015)

Newsletter 7 (October 2015) - street planning
Newsletter 8 (December 2015) - affordable housing
Newsletter 9 (February 2016) - bushfires and urban bushland
Newsletter 10 (February 2016) - traffic congestion special
Newsletter 11 (April 2016) - what are Aldermen there for?
Newsletter 12 (June 2016) - Council/Senate newsletter
Newsletter 14 (August 2016) - woodchip trucks through the CBD?
Newsletter 15 (September 2016) - SOS and South Hobart development
Newsletter 16 (November 2016) - 'biggering' Hobart
Newsletter 17 (January 2017) - issues to watch this year


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Anna Reynolds · Town Hall · Hobart, Tas 7000 · Australia

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