Hobart cable car plan rejected by council

Hobart cable car plan rejected by council

A controversial plan to build a cable car on the rugged mountain above Hobart has been rejected by the city's council.

The Mount Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) proposal included a two-car three-tower cableway to the 1271-metre summit of Mt Wellington, which has the Indigenous name kunanyi.

New indoor and outdoor viewing facilities at the pinnacle, plus a cafe and restaurant, were part of the plan.

The Hobart City Council voted against the development application by nine votes to three at a five-hour meeting on Tuesday night.

An independent report by planning consultants, released last week, found 21 reasons why the project should not go ahead.

Among them, it determined the scale, mechanisation and emissions of the cable car would “diminish the park's tourism, recreational, cultural and landscape values”.

“While the proponent says they have consulted, I'm afraid to say they haven't listened,” Hobart Mayor Anna Reynolds, who voted against the plan, told the meeting.

“Some of the reports by the cable car company have some very deep flaws.”

The MWCC project has proven divisive, with thousands attending a 2018 anti-cable car protest headed by former Greens leader Bob Brown.

Hobart City Council received some 16,500 public submissions on the proposal – more than 70 per cent were not in favour.

Members of the island state's Aboriginal community have voiced their opposition, with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) one of 15 groups that provided representations to council on the night.

TAC's Sharnie Read said “kunanyi is a dominant feature within the cultural landscape. It has incredible significance to Aboriginal people in regards to the stories it holds within”.

Zoe Rimmer from the Aboriginal Heritage Council said the cultural impact of the plan had not been appropriately assessed and would create a “scar” on the mountain.

MWCC executive chair Chris Oldfield said some of the problems outlined in the independent report could have been resolved with further consultation.

The cable car would generate noise that would have an adverse effect on the “quiet enjoyment” of the mountain, the report determined.

It also found the plan is not supported by a geotechnical land instability report that sufficiently considers all risks to life and property that will be triggered by the development of the pinnacle centre.

Residents groups spoke about concerns about increased traffic near the proposed base station, while climbing organisations raised worries about disruption to views and rockfall risks.

Councillor Bill Harvey said the cable car didn't have a social licence.

“I acknowledge representatives of Tasmania's Aboriginal community who have emphatically said no to the exploitation of kunanyi,” he said.

“The mountain is indeed sacred to their continuing culture and deep spiritual connection that has existed for over 40,000 years. Does that not count for something?”

Two councillors who voted “no” said they were not opposed to a cable car in principle but they had concerns with MWCC's proposal.

The company is able to appeal the decision.

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