Of course, I also made a speech. Here's some of what I said…
"I want to keep Hobart as a liveable and affordable city, not one where development is only for tourists and the rich. I would like to see Hobart become a beacon of hope for the world, and in particular the Asia Pacific – known as a great small city that is a leader in being sustainable, socially just and creative.
When I ran for local government in 2014 I was driven by the old phrase “Think Global, Act Local”. I had been working for many years on international issues, but as a practical person, I always found the lack of connection to action and implementation frustrating.
For me, working in local government and working in cities is the perfect way to act and make a difference. Cities around the world are leading the way on the big issues of our time, like climate change, affordable housing, public transport, and respect for diversity.
And importantly, local government is the level of government most able to work with the community it serves – to harness your ideas, to give you a say, to restore your faith in democracy.
Working closely with the community – with many of you – has been the highlight of my last four years and it will be the way I will continue to work as your Mayor."
I'm still on the hunt for poster sites – if you or someone you know lives on a busy road and would be happy to have a sign on their fence or in the front yard, I'd really appreciate it!
Please emailor call me on 0423222149.
No to cable car road on Council land
The Parks and Recreation Committee, which I chair, is the trustee for Hobart City Council parks, bushland and reserves. We recently recommended that full Council refuse the request from the Mt Wellington Cableway Company to conduct a flora and fauna survey for a new two-kilometre road through public bushland to their proposed base station in Wellington Park. Additionally, we decided to recommend that such a development should not be permitted on Council-owned land.
On 20 August, the Council voted to approve the Parks Committee motion, seven votes to four.
Those who supported the motion were Aldermen Briscoe, Christie, Ruzicka, Harvey, Cocker, Burnet, and myself. Those who voted against the motion were Aldermen Thomas, Zucco, Sexton and Denison.
We weren’t considering the entire cable car project as a “Planning Authority”. Rather, we were very correctly considering whether we wanted to allocate our bushland for the purpose of a new 2km road. We voted no because:
the proposed area for the road contains a vegetation community of Silver Peppermints and potential habitat of the threatened orchid Caladenia sylvicola (listed as Critically Endangered under the Commonwealth law) and many other plants and animals;
the new road would have required significant land clearing and earthworks in public bushland that we are currently using for other recreational uses, such as mountain bike riding;
many people do not want to see their public bushland handed over to a company planning to run a for-profit tourism business.
The Parks Committee was not shown the true width of the roadway proposed. Using very thin wavy lines, the MWCC map (below) indicates where, because of the grade, the roadway would be widened with cuttings.
The cuttings (in yellow on the map below) are indicative only and are computer-generated by the engineering software, but they do give a clear indication that the roadway would have been a substantial piece of new infrastructure requiring the clearing of a substantial area of bushland.
I'm not here to rubber-stamp decisions
The Mt Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) was clearly surprised and disappointed by the Parks Committee's recommendation, even describing us as a “kangaroo court” and accusing Aldermen of being “biased”, “unethical” and demonstrating “disgraceful behaviour”.
The company has threatened legal action, and will probably attempt to use 'Code of Conduct' complaints in order to intimidate Aldermen (as I have written about previously).
In the lead up to the Council vote on 20 August, Aldermen received around 500 emails from cable car supporters and 800 emails from people concerned about the road or cable car.
While most emails focused on the issue that we were dealing with – the question of a new 2km road being bulldozed through Hobart bushland for a cable car - I was surprised how many people chose to question the right of democratically elected politicians to have opinions and make decisions.
"As a former Chair of the Parks Committee 1994-2002 AND Wellington Park Management Trust Chair 1998-2002 (appointed by a Liberal Government, may I add) I agree that the Parks and Recreation Committee's recommendation is valid as a landlord decision in looking after the natural values of the Mountain."
This is not the first time I have encountered the view that local government representatives should be compliant, opinion-less functionaries who rubber-stamp whatever is served up to them in reports by council staff.
This is not what many of our electors expect – they want authentic, accessible representatives who act on their convictions and responsibilities.
While there are clear rules and constraints around Council’s role as the “Planning Authority” (when we assess a development based on the planning scheme), people often conflate these obligations to include all our work as elected Aldermen.
The Council meeting of 20 August dealt with MWCC's proposal as a landowner, not a planning authority. Council would act as a planning authority to consider a Development Application from MWCC, if and when one is lodged.
Taking action on plastic water bottles
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and it’s predicted that figure will rise by another 20% by 2021. Efforts to collect and recycle the bottles to keep them from creating waste and polluting the oceans are not keeping up. The alternative to plastic water bottles is people carrying their own water bottle and refilling it.
I'd like to see Hobart do our bit to tackle this global problem and reduce the number of plastic water bottles used in in our city. So I moved a motion seeking action on plastic water bottles that passed unanimously at the last Council meeting.
Christina Chiavassa from Bright Eyes Cafe supports refilling water bottles for customers.
We will be getting advice how to encourage greater use of refillable water bottles in Hobart. This will likely include more public refill stations (aka water fountains with better taps) and better promotion of other easy refill places, ‘tapping into’ the existing water in supportive shops and cafes.
Bright idea becomes our newest park!
Several years ago residents of Salvator Road in West Hobart were upset when willow tress were cleared from an area along the rivulet in their neighborhood. The area was being managed as a drain by the Council stormwater department, with little consideration of its aesthetics.
Rather than just letting the matter pass, Salvator Road resident Greg Calvert (pictured) contacted me with a creative and practical idea.
He suggested that the area should not be seen as a drain, but instead be incorporated as an extension of Knocklofty Reserve and managed by the Parks Department.
It was a great idea that I was very happy to support, and work with the community to advocate for an extension to our parks estate.
Greg and other residents worked over last year liaising with Council Parks staff to give feedback on plans to vegetate the cleared area and create an upgraded walking track. Signs, seats and bins will be added soon before the Park officially opens in September. These improvements have created a lovely space for the community and a new way for people to access Knocklofty Reserve.
Once choked with willows, then cleared as a drain, this part of the rivulet at the top of Goulburn Street has now been replanted with native bushland species by Hobart City Council and incorporated into Knocklofty Reserve.
COMING UP ...
Hobart’s newest playground opens 10am, Monday 10 September
You're invited to the official opening of the new Tolmans Hill playground, at the corner of Old Proctors and Woodcutters Roads.
This big old Blue Gum will be at the centre of the new playground at Tolmans Hill. Seems like it's a good climbing tree!
As part of my election campaign, I'll be out and about in the next few weeks chatting with people about my policies and plans for Hobart. Feel free to come to one and say hello...
Saturday 25 August, 2pm
Patanella, 325 Argyle Street, North Hobart Friday 31 August, 5pm
Fern Tree Tavern, Fern Tree Sunday 2 September, 4pm
Long Beach playground, Sandy Bay
The State Government wants to sell our grand, historic, sandstone Treasury buildings. These are some of Hobart’s oldest and most beautiful heritage assets that are owned by all of us.
I think it's important, if we are to keep the Treasury buildings in public ownership, that we articulate a clear vision of what they should be used for.
I'm inspired by the Customs House in Sydney - a public space with free entry and open seven days a week. Inside is a library, exhibition area, a public 'lounge', meeting rooms for hire, cafes and restaurants.
As Customs House is a gateway to Sydney, our Treasury buildings could be redeveloped as a gateway to Hobart and Tasmania. It would also be an excellent venue for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery to use for galleries and exhibitions.
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
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