Cable car questions
Before answering the specific questions and comments from the public at the meeting, a brief explanation of the role of the Wellington Park Management Trust in managing Wellington Park and the process for assessing proposals for developments in the Park is provided.
The role of the Trust in the management of Wellington Park.
Wellington Park was established under the Wellington Park Act in 1993. The Act sets up the Wellington Park Management Trust as the management authority of the Park and sets out the functions of the Trust. This includes preparation of a management plan for the Park. The current management plan is the Wellington Park Management Plan 2013 (amended October 2015) The Trust, via the Wellington Park Management Plan and the Wellington Park Regulations 2019, ensures that all works undertaken within the Park are consistent with the purposes for which the Park is set aside.
Wellington Park includes a number of different land tenures (see map 7 of the Wellington Park Management Plan) including freehold land owned by Hobart City Council and Glenorchy City Council and Crown land. Based on these underlying tenures the Park has been divided into 3 zones of management responsibility (see Map 1 of the Management Plan). Within these areas the Hobart City Council, Glenorchy City Council and the Parks and Wildlife Service are responsible for on ground works and maintenance of Park infrastructure. TasWater maintains infrastructure to harvest raw water from a number of catchments in the Park.
As well as undertaking on-ground management of their areas of the Park, the Park management agencies contribute technical and management expertise to the overall management of the Park. For more information on the role of the Trust please look at the Trust’s Annual Report.
Assessment of development proposals in Wellington Park
Chapter 8 of the Wellington Park Management Plan sets out the activities, uses and development that are allowable in the Park and the process for assessing proposals for developments in the Park. A cable car (included as a Potential Transport Mode) is a discretionary development within both the Springs Specific Area and Pinnacle Specific Area in the Management Plan. This means that a proposal for a cable car in the Park would require a planning permit from the local planning authority under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA). For a cable car development at the pinnacle, Hobart City Council is both the local planning authority and the landowner. The Management Plan also sets out the standards for use and development the local planning authority must use when assessing a development application for a cable car. In order to obtain a planning permit from Council under LUPAA, the MWCC will have to demonstrate that its proposed development can meet the standards for use and development in Table 5 of Chapter 8 of the Management Plan and S2.6 of Chapter 8b (for any part of the proposed development within the Pinnacle Specific Area).
In addition to a planning permit under LUPAA, a cable car development would require a permit from the Trust under the Wellington Park Regulations 2019. The process that the Trust must go through to determine if it would issue a permit for a cable car is set out in the Management Plan. This requires the development proponent to submit a Park Activity Assessment addressing the issues listed in Chapter 8 of the Management Plan and any relevant Wellington Park strategies and policies.
The two planning processes are illustrated in Appendix 3A on page 258 of the Management Plan. Note that the Management Plan does not require that one assessment process be completed before the other and mentions that they can occur in parallel.
Specific questions and comments from the public at the meeting
1. A speaker stated that: the Trust is playing a facilitating role for the MWCC, giving them everything they want, including extending the pinnacle zone for their new development and a raft of other things.
The Trust’s reasons for deciding to increase the extent of the Pinnacle Specific Area are explained on the amending plan page on this website and in its various reports to the Tasmanian Planning Commission. A cable car is only one of a range of uses and developments that may be proposed for the Pinnacle Specific Area (see Table 3 on page 131 of the Wellington Park Management Plan). Any developments that are not listed as exempt in Table 4 on page 140 of the Management Plan have to meet the requirements for use and development set out in Chapter 8 of the Management Plan.
2. A speaker asked the following question: On page 70 under the heading “biodiversity” the Wellington Park Management Plan says: “no loss of native vegetation other than for approved management purposes”. Why hasn’t the Trust looked at the full proposal available on the MWCC website and told the proponents it simply doesn’t comply with the Management Plan? Also in the Management Plan the Organ Pipes are listed as a geoconservation site. The proponent’s planned drilling and tower above the Organ Pipes falls directly within the boundary of this listed site. On page 74 of the Management Plan, under the heading “geodiversity” the Plan says: “No damage to sites of geoheritage value other than for approved management purposes.” So again, why hasn’t the Wellington Park Management Trust just written to the proponent and said your proposal does not fit the Management Plan? Again, why haven’t they looked at the full proposal and told the proponent that it does not comply with the Management Plan with regard to the building height and size that is proposed for the summit? The Management Plan talks about buildings on the pinnacle being low key, single storey and a maximum of 100 square metres, yet the plan is for a 3 storey building more than 40 times that size. So why hasn’t the Trust told the developers that they are wasting their time?
Firstly, to put the quotes from the Wellington Park Management Plan into context; they come from Chapter 5 of the Management Plan which deals with maintaining Park values. Both quotes are “key desired outcomes” of the Management Plan for biodiversity and geodiversity respectively.
The Trust has not received any application for a permit for construction of a cable car in Wellington Park nor has Hobart City Council received an application for a planning permit under LUPAA. Neither the Trust nor Council can begin assessing the impacts of a cable car development until a proposal is lodged.
Following a request by the MWCC, the Trust has provided it with a preliminary list of the issues that would need to be covered in a Park Activity Assessment for a cable car development in the Park. These are the relevant requirements outlined in Chapter 8 of the Wellington Park Management Plan 2013 that the Trust needs to consider when assessing the impact of any development proposal in the Park (see section 8.5.1 on page 134 and S2.1 on page 167 of the Management Plan). This includes that developments: “Be consistent with the management and preservation of the values of the Park, as identified in this Management Plan”. The Trust may require further information if it is not satisfied that the information provided by the proponent is sufficient to assess the impact of the proposal and proposed impact mitigation measures.
In its application for a planning permit under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) the MWCC would have to demonstrate that its proposal meets the standards for use and development in the Management Plan, including conserving flora, fauna geological and geomorphological values and protecting natural processes. Building height and size would also be considered as part of the application for a planning permit under LUPAA (see Table 5 on page 144 and S2.6 on page 171 of the Management Plan).
3. A comment was made that the Trust only employs a manager and part-time ranger to look after the Park.
The Trust currently employs a full time Manager and an Education and Regulations Coordinator who works 4 days per week as well as one weekend per month. The Trust also engages the services of a heritage consultant one day per week. This level of staffing is adequate for the day to day functions of the Trust. As noted above, on ground management of the infrastructure in the Park is carried out by the various Park management agencies and the Trust’s role is mainly strategic planning and regulatory. The Education and Regulations Coordinator is assisted by a number of authorised officers appointed under section 13 of the Wellington Park Act 1993. When necessary the Trust is able to draw on additional resources from the State Government and Park management agencies as well as specialist consultants.