Mount Wellington cable car plan revamp dismissed by opponents as spin

An anti-cable-car group has dismissed an overhauled cable car proposal for Hobart’s kunyani/Mount Wellington as nothing more than “spin”.

The Mount Wellington Cableway Company has released revised plans for the project, which would now start near McRobies Road in South Hobart and travel over the Organ Pipes.

The route will be shorter at 2.7 kilometres long, compared to the original 4.6 kilometre proposal, and it will need three towers — two at the base and one towards the summit.

The base on a fire trail near the McRobies Gully tip would be accessed by a new 3 kilometre link road.

MWCC Chair Jude Franks said the design had been “changed significantly in response to public feedback.”

“The cable car will benefit tourism, provide enjoyment and employment for local Tasmanians and improve the mountain environment,” she said in a statement.

“We’ve listened. Our detailed plans address a range of issues raised with us including the location and road access to the base station, traffic amenity and flow.”

The alignment of the cable remains the same as in the 2014 proposal and will be supported by two towers at the bottom, between 45 and 55 metres in height, with 10-15 metres being visible above tree cover.

The third tower towards the top of the path would be 36 metres tall, and according to the proposal, would sit below the skyline when viewed from the city.

‘Nothing more than artist’s impressions’

More than 100 protesters gathered on McRobies Road in South Hobart on Saturday to voice their concerns about the new plans.

Organiser and spokesman for the Residents Opposed to the Cable Car said despite the release of new plans, the public was still in the dark about key parts of the development.

Hobart alderman Anna Reynolds attended the rally to offer reassurance to the crowd.

“The Council doesn’t want to see this project being dealt with behind closed doors. We want our discussions with you to be out in the open,” she said.

McRobies Road resident Robin Retchford said he supports the revised plans, but is disappointed by the lack of transparency surrounding the proposal.

“There hasn’t been enough dialogue with the people. It could have been handled an awful lot better,” he said.

Residents Opposed to the Cable Car spokesman Ted Cutlan said despite the release of new plans, the public was still in the dark about key parts of the development.

 

“It’s nothing more than artists’ impressions, so despite the claims that this is the full detail it’s far from that,” he said.

“We still don’t know detail about the building at the top of the organ pipes.

“We don’t know details of the road, so this is the usual sort of spin from the cable car company.”

Mr Cutlan voiced particular concerns about the visitor centre at the summit.

The revised proposal reinvests the money saved from shortening the cable car path into increased amenities at the centre.

“Any structure they put up there would have to big to be viable, and a big building has a big impact,” Mr Cutlan said.

“The top of the mountain is going to be absolutely smothered in people.”

“There’s so many parts of this that just don’t add up.”

In a statement, State Growth Minister Peter Gutwein again voiced support for the project, saying the Government was a “strong supporter of a cable car on Mount Wellington”.

“There’s no doubt that a proposal for a cable car, if it ticks all the boxes when it comes to approvals and the planning process, would be fantastic for tourism and showcase one of Tasmania’s most stunning natural landmarks,” he said.

“It would make Mount Wellington more accessible and it would create jobs in Tasmania.”

Opposition spokesman David O’Byrne said Labor would not be “forming a position until we’ve seen a proposal”.

“What we’re seeing now, finally, is details around the proposal and I think all Tasmanians should really have a very close look and make their own judgement about if this is a development they support,” he said.

Feature photo credit: Mount Wellington Cableway Company
This piece was published on 4th August 2018 as part of my employment with the ABC. It can be found here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-04/mount-wellington-cable-car-revamp-dismissed-by-opponents-as-spin/10073652 

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