Newsletter no.16 from Ald Anna Reynolds - November 2016
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'Biggering' Hobart
Debate is growing about the Fragrance Group's proposals to build two new hotels in central Hobart. The proposals have been launched in the media, but have not yet been submitted to the Council as Development Applications.

It appears to me that the developer has not been guided at all by our planning rule book for the city. Both hotel proposals are within the Sullivan's Cove Planning Scheme area, which has a set of rules on height limits designed to respect and enhance the colonial heritage of our port area.

Jon Kudelka
At 75 metres, the hotel proposal for Collins Street is 60 metres higher than the rules mandate. The Davey Street proposal for a hotel of 120 metres is a 102 metre slap in the face to the planning rules. It makes me wonder why professional developers and architects think it’s acceptable to completely ignore the rules that have been set for our city based on a whole range of considerations.

I'm sure you’re not surprised to learn that many residents have contacted me and have written letters to the editor. Many are amazed at the audacity of the proposals. As one person wrote to me "if I build a garage that’s a bit too big or a fence that’s too high, I get the rule book thrown at me. But if a big developer wants to break the rules it seems some of the Aldermen just wave it through. Why are there rules for us and rules for them?" Indeed, watch this space!

International City of Literature

Recognition and respect for our long, diverse and rich history is also behind my push to have Hobart listed as a UNESCO International City of Literature. Australia’s first book was published in Hobart in 1818. By 1831, Hobart had published the first book of essays and novel. The first public library in Australia was the Hobart Mechanics Institute which opened in 1827. The Theatre Royal opened in 1837, and is by far the oldest continuing theatre in Australia, with a rich history of bringing literature to life.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) established the
Creative Cities Network to promote cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for their urban development. These are the cities that place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of plans at the local level.

To be recognised as an International City of Literature isn’t just a matter of Hobart filling in a membership form. We need to persuade the UN that Hobart is a credible addition to the network and deserving of this prestigious title. The bid has to come from the city level government and demonstrate the support of a range of people and groups, including authors, publishers, educational institutions, bookshops, libraries and writing groups.

Tasmania has a high density of
writers and authors winning a large number of significant literary awards.  Hobart writers are producing work in a diverse range of genres including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, academic, children’s, environmental, folk stories and heritage writing. We also have a thriving local publishing scene and number of books written about Tasmanian places, history and stories, as well as a quarterly literary magazine.

In November my motion to start the ball rolling on a bid was passed unanimously by Council. The staff will now prepare further advice for Council on the process for making a bid, the costs and benefits, and our potential partners. I hope we can make a positive decision and have a bid ready in time for the May 2017 deadline.
Next step on climate action

Hobart City Council has done a great job over many years to reduce energy use and the carbon dioxide emissions associated with it. We recently received advice that our emissions dropped by 433 tonnes in the 2015-16 year, because of projects like the installation of solar panels on the Aquatic Centre.

While our energy emission reductions are fantastic, there are other sources of emissions generated by Hobart City Council that we don't yet measure, let alone aim to reduce. That’s why I moved in Infrastructure Committee that we also look at the collection of data about Council's business travel, including corporate air travel.

One person's return flight from Hobart to Singapore creates nearly 4 tonnes of emissions, and 10 flights between Hobart and Canberra another 4 tonnes. It would not take long for the city's air travel to overwhelm our reductions in other areas. Quite a number of Councils around Australia now measure emissions from staff business travel, staff commuting and contractor vehicle use. Measurement is the first step in aiming to reduce these emissions.
Future for Sandy Bay pavilion?

I recently voted against a proposal for Hobart City to develop a restaurant on the second floor of the Sandy Bay Pavilion. I asked if the Hobart community is calling for another restaurant, or is there a better public use for a redevelopment of the Pavilion? For example: does a water-loving, river-based city that wants to encourage physical activity need a home for paddle sports?

I think local government should focus its efforts and the use of public land to provide facilities for the public good that can't be provided by the private sector. While we have lots of school rowing sheds around the river, there is a need for kayakers, canoeists and the paddle sports to also have a hub. Sandy Bay would be a perfect home for this.
Better Hobart

The Better Hobart group was featured in the Mercury’s Tas Weekend magazine recently (now behind a paywall). It’s great to see a group of people working together to promote an exciting vision for our city. As I said in the article, local government is often overlooked by the community as a place to make positive change. It amazes me how many people have never been to a Council meeting, never voted in local government elections, or lobbied for a new initiative.

There is a growing number of people interested in making their city more sustainable, democratic and creative places. The Better Hobart group can be a home for these people to meet, discuss ideas and take action. Cities where the community is actively engaged in decisions are more dynamic cities with a soul.

The group is keen to have more active members: you can sign up to join the
Better Hobart email list, and follow their Facebook page.
Affordable housing

It was disappointing to see the Tasmanian Planning Commission reject the Hobart City Council's proposal to include a desire for affordable housing in the planning guidance for development on Macquarie Point.

There are few opportunities that Council gets to amend a planning scheme for a big chunk of the city - and even less opportunities to influence the direction of an iconic area of government owned land like Macquarie Point.

This is why I championed amendments in late 2015 to ensure the planning directions for Macquarie Point reflected our desire for this area to be a place where a range of housing types are available. At the time of our decision, Shelter, the voice for affordable housing said, "It is great to see Hobart City Council affirming its strategic commitment to affordable housing in these planning amendments. Hobart City Council is leading the way to facilitate diverse and affordable housing”.

But the Tasmanian Planning Commission had other ideas, saying in their November decision that affordable housing is not a matter that can be regulated through the planning scheme. In their view we can regulate to say we want tourist accommodation on the site, but not affordable housing!

So who is going to take a leadership role to ensure our city develops in an inclusive way?
Recent data show that after Sydney, Greater Hobart is the least affordable city for renters in Australia, due to low incomes relative to rental costs in the city.

Meanwhile in Sydney, the
Greater Sydney Commission has proposed an affordable rental housing target of 5-10 per cent for new housing developments on rezoned government and private land. In Hobart, it seems all of the institutions with power to do something simply point to someone else and say "its not our responsibility".
Artist's impression of 120 m Fragrance Group proposal for Davey St
Letter to the editor, Mercury

Australia's first collection of essays, by Henry Savery, published in Hobart 1829

Theatre Royal












Macquarie Point site



Please stay in touch!

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

Email me at
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

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

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