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Hobart City Council blocks Mount Wellington cable car project’s plan to access public land
Plans by the Mount Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) to investigate using public land owned by the City of Hobart as a site for its base operations have been blocked by the Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee.
With the Cascade Brewery having ruled out selling or leasing land for the development in June, MWCC had sought permission to conduct a flora and fauna study across a 50-metre-wide corridor of land near McRobies Gully in South Hobart, apparently with a view to the area being the location and access route for planned base operations for the attraction.
However, at a packed meeting last night, the Committee of five aldermen overturned advice from Council staff and unanimously passed a motion to make any public or operational land owned by the city not available "for the construction of an access road or any other infrastructure to support a cable car development".
The motion will be used as a recommendation to the full council and, provided no-one changes their mind, will have the backing of at least five out of the council's 11 aldermen.
Alderman Jeff Briscoe, who tabled the motion, likened the decision to the Carlton United Breweries' refusal to allow any construction on their land, advising “the committee is recommending to council not to give the company access to land to build a road for their cable car.”
The site to be studied was flagged in development plans as the location for a 3 kilometre link road to MWCC’s site for base operations
Alderman Briscoe said the Committee's task was to consider the request for study but went further to address the plans for a road at the site.
He advised “Why would they do a flora and fauna study if they didn't want a road? It was really a circular argument.”
Having advanced proposals for the cable car over several years, despite not having agreement from landowners who would have been required to partner the project, as well as having been in frequent dispute with the Council, an MWCC spokesman said the company was looking forward to the next full council meeting's decision and was "optimistic".
MWCC Chair Jude Franks said it was pleasing that "council officers had recommended the routine study to be undertaken" adding “this is just a preliminary study to ascertain exactly what flora and fauna is there, which should be uncontroversial.
"We look forward to the final go-ahead so we can progress our development application."
The ABC has reported that two million ordinary shares have been issued for the MWCC, as well as over 850,000 preference shares
Documents from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) reveal the people who have so far invested in the company, the vast majority of them Tasmanians, with the amount paid for the shares being $1,298,713.
The Tasmanian Government has repeatedly said if the project moves forward it will be privately funded, without the use of taxpayer funds.
The Council will consider the motion at the next meeting on 20th August.
Images: An impression of the planned cable car passing Mt Wellington's organ pipes and MWCC plans for infrastructure at the mountain's summit. Courtesy of MWCC.
15th September 2017 - Tasmanian Government land purchase to move Mt Wellington cable car plan forward
6th November 2015 - Mount Wellington cable car plan moves forward
14th November 2014 - Plans move forward for Mount Wellington cable car
23rd August 2014 - Tasmania looks to boost tourism in its natural areas
12th March 2010 - Cable Car to Ascent Hobart’s Mount Wellington?
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