While there’s a lot to be loved, I must admit that Hobart’s CBD also leaves a lot to be desired.
Our heritage heart is in danger of being overwhelmed by concrete bulk, ugly design, deep shadows, and windy streets.
Decades of inconsistent decisions, and Aldermen agreeing to ‘discretions’ to allow exceptions that shouldn’t have been made, have left us with a mish-mash of building heights and forms.
Hobart's CBD has some amazing heritage streetscapes and precincts, but many are hidden, dowdy and neglected - our planning laws are not effective enough.
My opinion piece published in the Mercury, 12 September. Read the full article here.
Council is currently considering a new proposal to introduce a 60-metre building height limit in a newly defined inner city zone, and lower limits throughout ten different height zones.
A community that's nervous about giant Fragrance towers may feel somewhat relieved by talk of CBD heights that don't sound quite as big.
However, these changes still start from a view of ‘well, we must have high-rise somewhere’. It doesn’t have to be this way.
There are so many opportunities for exciting, medium density, 'human scale' development of our city - on Macquarie Point, between the CBD and North Hobart (currently dominated by car yards), and along the rail line between the waterfront and Glenorchy.
The conversation we're having about the future shape of our city is such an important one. Mr Woolley’s second report is now out for public comment until just 17 October and it’s important that people take an interest and have their say.
This conversation shouldn’t be one that we only consider from an architectural perspective that views the cityscape from afar, rather than within.
Please take the time to check out the proposed height changes. If they look and sound complicated, it's because they are, and we need as much time as possible to consider them.
In the next few weeks, I'll be walking the city streets and I invite you to join me. We need to consider the full range of issues, including how taller buildings may affect the quality of life on the street, and the character of Hobart’s heritage heart from the ground.
Please join me for a ‘Walk & Talk about Hobart Height’, meeting at Pigeon Hole Bakery (32 Argyle Street) on:
Wednesday 26 September, 12 noon – 1pm
Saturday 6 October, 3 – 4pm
This gentle one hour walk will cover about 8 city blocks, provide an overview of the main proposals from the Woolley Report, and provide a chance for discussion about what they mean.
My policies for a Better Hobart
Every Mayor needs a good plan about things to try and get done! Over the last few years, I've been developing proposals, talking to community members and policy experts, and gathering ideas from other cities.
This thinking has gone into my policy platform that covers 16 areas of important work to be pursued in Hobart, including:
Each topic sets out my vision for where I would like Hobart to be, and an action plan for the coming 4 year term of the next Council.
Mayors are leaders - in Australia they don't have direct power, they are influencers, but when they are proactive they can achieve big improvements.
As I don't believe that any one person or organisation holds all the answers to Hobart's future, I would love any feedback you have on these policies – love ‘em, hate ‘em, see a way to fix or improve them? Please let me know, and pass them on to a Hobart friend. You can see them all at www.annareynolds.org/ideas/policies-and-plans/.
Visitor levy is an idea worth discussing
One of the ideas I raise in my ‘Better Planning’ policy is a tourism levy as a solution to meet the demands of booming tourist numbers. Local Government receives 3.5% of the total taxation revenue in Australia (with the rest spent by State and Federal Governments) and we struggle to provide all of the infrastructure the community expects, as well as provide for toilets, tracks, lookouts, information centres and festivals that attract and cater for visitors to Hobart.
Recently the idea was backed by Greg Barns in his column in the Mercury, where he said…
"Rational economic ideas are sadly sparse these days. Populism and vested interest capture of the bureaucracy and politicians means that smart ideas like a sugar tax and a carbon tax are killed off.
So in that context it is pleasing to see one political candidate proposing a sensible idea — in this case a tourism levy.
Hobart mayoral candidate Anna Reynolds has shown policy sense in proposing this idea as a means of making tourists pay for the upkeep and development of infrastructure. Her rival candidates would be smart to follow her lead.
But if Tasmania is to become a tourist mecca which welcomes cruise ships and planes full of visitors then an equitable means of making sure that the infrastructure tourists use is paid for by them, as well as ratepayers and taxpayers. It is the user pays principle and that is a principle which generally makes perfect sense."
If elected to the role of Mayor I would use this leadership position to convene a roundtable with key players to discuss a visitor levy and what model would be most practical to implement.
I was pleased to join a gathering of Nepali residents as they enrolled to vote in their city.
Facts about the General Manager's Roll
'There is a disturbing amount of hype and hysteria about how the General Manager's Roll is being 'stacked'. The suggestion is that Chinese students are being recruited in their thousands to vote for high-rise buildings on the orders of Beijing. We're told that by enrolling to vote, they could ‘corrupt’ the Hobart City Council elections. I'm concerned that some Aldermen, candidates and columnists are deliberately and unfairly targeting Chinese people.
Here are some facts:
The General Manager's Roll closed on Friday 14 September with a grand total of 589 non-citizens who have enrolled to vote. This number covers all the people in Hobart who are residents and who are not yet citizens, or will never be able to become a citizen. These 589 people hail from nations in every corner of the world, not just China. It includes permanent residents who have lived here for decades, and international students too.
The 2016 census found that 30 percent of Hobart's population is born overseas, and so 589 people is a tiny percentage of the many thousand 'non-citizens' who are our neighbours, workmates, family and friends.
Giving residents of a city the right to have a say in the administration of where they live is common practice in cities around Australia and the world. Residents (who aren’t yet citizens) are entitled to vote in local government elections in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
Resident non-citizens can vote in local government elections in more than 40 countries – including New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, The Netherlands and Sweden, who have all extended the right to vote at the local level to non-citizen residents.
Of greater numbers on the General Manager's Roll are the 662 corporate representatives, many of whom may be entitled to a second vote as a resident. Another large group who are enrolled to vote are the 665 non-resident land owners (often landlords of rental properties). Many of these people have been recruited by candidates keen to extract votes from the business sector.
COMING UP ...
Please come to my Campaign Check-in Saturday 29 September
On Saturday 29 September, I’m hosting an event for supporters at ‘Bright Eyes’ at the Brooke Street Pier from 5–6pm.
It’s a chance for me to let you know how things are going, and how you can help for the home stretch.
I’d love to see you there for a drink (available for purchase) and to mingle with a group of other lovely supporters. Please let me know if you can come along by RSVPing here.
I'm still keen to receive donations for my campaign, because the Electoral Commission has increased the spending limit to $16,000 and some candidates will easily spend that much.
All donors who use my Chuffed page and give $50 or more will go into the draw for one of two $100 gift vouchers (one donated by Smitten Merino and another from Annapurna Indian Restaurants).
Thanks to all those people who have kindly offered their front yards and fences to display my elections signs. We've now installed about a hundred signs right across the city. I still have a few more left - so if you have a location on Sandy Bay Road or the Brooker, please let me know.
Leadership for a sustainable, caring, and creative Hobart
Please stay in touch!
I'd love to hear your ideas and opinions, and receive your feedback on Council decisions.
Newsletter 24(February 2018) - announcement of my intention to run for Mayor Newsletter 25(March 2018) - housing affordability, significant trees, civic heritage, street take-over Newsletter 26(May 2018) - City of Literature, reform of the planning system Newsletter 27 (June 2018) - CBD height rules, Franklin Square, Mountain Mayday Newsletter 28 (July 2018) - Treasury sell-off, affordable housing, information about development proposals Newsletter 29 (August 2018) - my campaign launch, no cable car on Council land, action on plastic water bottles
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