Newsletter no.3 from Ald Anna Reynolds - 15 April 2015
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Hello from Town Hall!

This week has been an interesting one for public perceptions of the Hobart City Council, as The Mercury runs a series of articles about Aldermanic expenses. While I have no problem with complete transparency, I am concerned that the reporting seems to reinforce the populist notion that anyone elected must have their 'snout in a trough' as they ride a 'gravy train' (to mix some well-worn metaphors). I now know from personal experience how much time it takes to do a good job as a member of Council. The hours worked as an Alderman are largely voluntary, with an allowance paid (at a level that is not high compared to other Australian local governments) to help balance other income that must be foregone. Entitlements such as reimbursement for childcare, legitimate travel, and use of your own vehicle for Council business are totally standard, and should not be begrudged...nor, for that matter, taken lightly.

Meanwhile, in other news...
Slow down,
you move too fast...

In the last few weeks I’ve been working with West Hobart residents who want to reduce the speed of traffic along Hill Street near the Train Park.  Cars race down the hill past one of our most popular playgrounds, where 200,000 kids and their parents visit each year.
The residents were so concerned that last year more than 100 of them signed a petition asking the Council to take action. And while it’s the State Government who has the final say on all speed limits in Tasmania, Council can do its bit by pushing to lower the speed limit to at least 40 km/h.
So in response, I moved a motion to take a precautionary decision that avoids the risk of a child being hurt in this area...or worse.
Speed limits of 40 km/h are becoming the new normal for neighborhood streets around the nation, and that’s because a pedestrian hit at 50 km/h is four times more likely to die than a pedestrian hit at 40 km/h.  A national study of child pedestrian accidents over ten years found 58% of child deaths were on roads in speed zones of 50-60 km/h, while 5% were killed in speed zones of 40kmh or less.
Council voted overwhelmingly in support of my motion this week, and many of the Aldermen expressed frustration that the State Government is so reluctant to implement traffic calming measures. Council’s support for the motion is our way of saying that we will stand with the community and jointly push the State Government to improve speed limits.
The beating heart of Tassie
This week Hobart Council joined a national coalition of 40 cities calling on the Federal Government to take action on marriage equality. 

We passed a motion to write to the Prime Minister to tell him to get on with a reform supported by the vast majority of the community.
Australia has now fallen behind 22 other nations who have already achieved marriage equality, and it won’t be long before Ireland holds its referendum on this reform, which is expected to pass.

Hobart is a forward thinking and inclusive city, and the motion was passed by Council unanimously.
Mysteries beneath Montpelier

Have you had a chance yet to see what’s been revealed under the old car park in Montpelier Retreat? I understand that the archaeological dig is uncovering some important historical material, from both Aboriginal and early colonial times. Archaeologists are searching for remnants of Rev Robert Knopwood’s house and ‘Cottage Green’ garden – one of Hobart’s earliest.
The question I will now be asking is: what will happen to the remains that are found? Will the
Montpelier Retreat development be redesigned around them? Surely the site won’t be carefully uncovered and recorded, and then just dug up for the five storeys of car park that’s been approved?

The Montpelier Project and Austral Tasmania are holding an open day on Sunday 19 April, where you’ll be able to explore what has been unearthed so far on the site. To register a place on a tour visit the
Montpelier Open Day event, but last time I checked it was already booked out. Clearly there’s public demand for more tours!

If you’re lucky enough to get a tour, I encourage you to ask questions about how this heritage will be protected by the Montpelier Project.
New rules for planning
Last week I was briefed on Hobart's new Planning Scheme that will come into effect within weeks when it gets final approval from the State Government.

‘Planning Scheme’ is a bit of jargon, but effectively it means the rules and guidelines for development in the city - and they're rarely up for review (the last one was in 1982!).
While ‘planning scheme’ may sound like ‘rule book’, many of the rules are not black and white. It’s more like a complex mix of colour choices that can be combined and interpreted in different ways. Making decisions on planning is more like judging an art prize than enforcing a seat belt ban. While some development restrictions are clear, many other standards allow for 'discretion' to be applied.

Importantly, if a development is 'discretionary', it will be advertised so that the public can have a say. Applications are generally only referred to the Aldermen for consideration if three or more people have objected. If a majority of Aldermen agree, their discretionary powers can be applied to approve a development, impose conditions, or refuse the application. If it seems like the planning scheme is not working well or not able to deal with a particular place appropriately, Council can vote to change part of a planning scheme.
The new Planning Scheme has 24 zones and 16 ‘overlays’ – which are additional rules for special areas (for example, a landslide hazard area). You can check out the zones and overlays that cover your street on this
While I only have a general overview at this stage, some of the notable changes are that more of Hobart’s heritage properties are ‘listed’ or recognised – the old scheme identified 1848 places and the new one recognises 3388 places. There are 66 heritage precincts identified that total 567 hectares (or about 19% of the urban area).

There is also scope to allow more medium density housing throughout many of Hobart’s residential areas. I encourage you to have a look at the
new Planning Scheme and let me know your opinion.
Living streets

Last year I worked with the Greenstore in New Town to get signatures on a petition calling for a make-over of their local shopping strip.  It was this petition that led to Council’s decision in March to do work in several of our local neighbourhoods, many of which haven’t had money spent on them for 20 years.

Your humble local street is an important place for creating a sense of community, and many people feel passionate about the need for traffic calming, wider footpaths and other improvements.

I’m looking forward to seeing some living street projects when in New York visiting my sister over the next few weeks. While it’s a world away from Hobart’s streets, the principles of the
Neighborhood Plaza Partnership are worth learning from. This project is transforming New York streets into public plazas with the Council’s Department of Transport working with communities – the Council builds the Plaza, and the local groups bring them to life, investing time and money.

But before you get too this stage all that's been agreed is to develop a plan for several of Hobart's local hubs. But a good plan can be the start of good things. There will be meetings in local areas in 2015 to get your input, so look out for them and see you there!
Epic run for climate action

Congratulations to three heroic Hobartians - Jen Boocock, Jenny Sprent, and Stephen Rae. At the beginning of April they ran the length of the Port Davey and South Coast tracks in Southwest Tas, from Scotts Peak Dam to Cockle Creek, non-stop. Their aim was to prove it could be done and raise funds for The Climate Council. They travelled an amazing 164 km in 48 hours, a journey that takes most bushwalkers much more than a week - a bit like what the world has to do to catch up with reducing the carbon emissions that cause dangerous climate change. So far, they've raised nearly $15,000! If you can, please donate to their cause.
The lower the speed limit, the better the chance of child safety.

A temporary speedo outside the 'Train Park' seems to be effective at encouraging drivers to limit their speed to 40 km/h as they pass. Why not make it permanent?


Archaeology of the proposed residential and carpark complex at 3 Montpelier Retreat, behind Salamanca Place







Home safe: (from left) Jenny Sprent, Jen Boocock, and Stephen Rae, at the end of their incredible challenge. (Photo: D. Brannigan)
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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Links to previous editions:
Newsletter 1 (Jan 2015), Newsletter 2 (Feb 2015)

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