Newsletter no.22 from Ald Anna Reynolds - September 2017
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HELLO FROM PORTLAND in Oregon, Pacific Northwest US! It’s a city sometimes compared to Hobart, and I can see why.

Portland is at 45 degrees north and Hobart at 42 degrees south - so both are great for growing roses, berries and hops (and brewing beer). Like us, many Portlanders love their local food and farmers’ markets.
Both cities look up to an iconic mountain - kunanyi/Mt Wellington for us, Mt Hood for Portland. Like Hobart, Portland has a reputation for being laid back, creative and a bit quirky.  But of course, there are differences: the most obvious is Portland's 40 year history of being innovative with land-use planning and public transport...which is why I’m here!

But before I report on that, some other Council news....
New responses to the threat of urban bushfire

With a changing climate, bushfire is our city's biggest challenge because of our vast bushland-urban interface (where the bush meets houses).

Hobart City Council is responsible for managing our current 36 hectares of fuel breaks that create a gap between bushland and the suburbs. However, the State Government has set new guidelines for fuel 
breaks, and meeting these means an additional 10 hectares of fire breaks need to be created around the city.

I was keen to understand what these changes would look like on the ground, so I recently spent an afternoon with our bushland team to look at examples of fire break trials in dry woodland areas and the impact that expansions might have.

I’m impressed by the knowledge of the team and their efforts to limit the impact of fuel breaks on the landscape. For example, before a fuel break is extended, assessments are made about whether threatened species are present, with efforts made to retain these and other significant canopy trees.
It’s important to note that Council has not approved any extension of fuel breaks in wet forest areas around Fern Tree because of the need to do further investigation and community consultation.

In the dry woodland areas, staff are required to consult with neighbours before work takes place and can provide more information on this program. 

If you're interested in a site visit to look at the work being done on fuel breaks, please 
email me. If there is enough interest I'll try to organise one in November.
Existing fuel breaks (red) and proposed new firebreaks (black). The full map can be viewed here (pdf). More information can be found in the papers from the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting.
Is your house 'bushfire prone'?

At a recent 
meeting, the Tasmanian Fire Service presented new research, and requested that the areas zoned as 'Bushfire Prone' in our planning scheme be updated.

The good news is that the TFS found that a smaller area needs to be classed as 'Bushfire Prone' - the old zone area covered 6,738 Hobart properties and the new zone covers 5,906 properties (still quite a few!)

The full report from TFS, with maps of bushfire-prone areas, can be 
downloaded here (pdf).
Serious enough about fire?
The recent floods in Houston show what happens when a city sprawls into areas at risk from climate change. In that city's case, houses were built into the swamp for decades, ignoring the warnings against building in vulnerable low-lying areas.

We don't want to make similar mistakes in Hobart. At a recent planning meeting (ironically the item just after we heard from the TFS about bushfire prone zones), a majority of Aldermen voted to approve a new subdivision in a bushfire prone zone, against the advice of planning staff. Only two Aldermen voted against it (myself included).

Individually, each of these subdivisions might seem like a reasonable idea at the time, but cumulatively, I worry that they are converting Hobart into a 
fire factory.
Good news on rubbish

The results are in! Year 1 of our new Hobart Waste Management Strategy, and what have we achieved?

>> 1,000 tonnes less waste 
went to landfill

>> 2kg less rubbish in the average household bin than 2015

>> 2,500 tonnes more garden waste was recycled, helped along by the new green bins

>> 1,100 tonnes of concrete recycled

>> 350 tonnes of steel recycled
>> 450 tonnes of other waste was salvaged from 
landfill for resale.

I reckon that’s pretty good progress towards our zero waste to landfill goal!

Our next big step-change will be when we commit to the collection and processing of food waste.

Our most recent bin audit found that 47% of the average Hobart bin is made up of food waste. 
CBD's height rules - my say

As I'm away for the next few weeks, I thought it best to have my say about Council’s proposed changes to the CBD height planning rules by making a written submission. You can read it here. In summary, my concerns are that:

The new Vision Statement is meant to communicate the planning vision for the CBD, but does not mention the word ‘heritage’ once!  It also lays the foundations for a much taller city.

The amendments provide more discretion for planners and decision-makers to allow buildings to exceed the ‘Amenity Building Envelope’ of 45 metres (our current defacto height limit).

The amendments present an unnecessarily narrow vision for Hobart’s heart, and are a missed opportunity to reform our planning laws for the city in a more considered way.
Great ideas for Hobart

It’s an interesting time for Hobart - there's lots going on and some great ideas being discussed. But there are also plenty of bad ideas that could damage the character of our city and set our future development on the wrong course. I want to be the best city decision-maker that I can, and so I try to always investigate best practices and keep my mind open to new ideas.

For the next couple of 
weeks, I'm on a study trip to gather ideas and practical know-how on some issues that I think are important for Hobart's future:

>> Learning how local government leadership in Portland has built a great
public transport system and a more sustainable city;

>> Connecting with the global network that is making cities more 'walkable', by attending the International Walk 21 conference in Calgary, Canada (where I'm chairing a session);

>> Joining local government discussions about leadership on climate change, at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in Vancouver.

Follow me on 
Facebook for regular updates about this trip, or come along to one of the report-back talks that I'll present when I get back.

The Hobart City Council will hold a public meeting about building height issues at 6pm on Monday 16 October, at the Hotel Grand Chancellor.

This meeting is in response to the 'Hobart not Highrise' petition, that called on the Council to 'protect Hobart's skyline', 'prevent over-sized buildings', and 'defend the current planning rules for building height limits'. More than 1000 electors signed the petition, which is the threshold to trigger a public meeting to be held by the Council on these issues. 
The green overlay is zoned bushfire prone area (TFS).


Subdivision approved in bushfire-prone area



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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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
Newsletter 18 (March 2017) - cable car and kunanyi
Newsletter 19 (May 2017) - landlord approval and significant trees
Newsletter 20 (June 2017) - Codes of Conduct, tunnel vision, Odeon Theatre
Newsletter 21 (August 2017) - building heights, planning scheme changes, street trees, plastic ban

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

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