The TNPA was greatly relieved to see this proposal finally rejected by the Hobart City Council (HCC) by 9 votes to 3 on 27 July.
The most pleasing aspect was the extent of public opposition demonstrated. A record 16,589 representations were received by HCC. Over 71% opposed the proposal and many of these representations were individually written in great detail. In contrast the vast majority of representations supporting the proposal were proformas. This demonstration of substantial public support for maintaining the naturalness of The Mountain must send a strong signal to any future proponent of any major development proposal on kunanyi.
For a project which will cost some $80 million to construct, the Development Application (DA) itself was remarkably poorly prepared – at least some of the grounds for rejection could have been avoided if the Mount Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) had put more effort into addressing the requirements of the planning scheme. They appear to have been more interested in requiring the HCC to go through an assessment process than putting up a DA which might lead to their proposal gaining approval. Much of the public debate has focussed on the HCC process and a petition requesting a government inquiry into the role of the HCC is currently open for signatures. One has to wonder whether this was a serious proposal to construct a cable car or an attempt to discredit the local government planning process (see next item) or what?
The future is unclear. The MWCC still has a few days in which they may choose to appeal the HCC decision.
Removal of the looming threat of the cable car should leave the way open for rational consideration of all aspects of management of The Mountain. Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds’ thoughtful commentary can be found here.