Seven Mile golf development likely to be refused

As reported in the last Tasmanian Conservationist (December 2013, #330), the Clarence City Council voted (close to unanimously) at its meeting on 21 October 2013 to support the proposed rezoning of the eastern portion of the Seven Mile Beach peninsula to allow the Mat Goggin proposed golf course and accommodation development. The council vote triggered a public consultation process prior to Christmas which drew a massive response of 168 submissions – the great majority opposed to the rezoning and development. 

Even so, we know the CCC councillors well and fully expected them to ignore the public submissions at its meeting of 24 February 2014.

The Council meeting was packed with 70-plus people, most of whom were members of horse-riding clubs and opposed to the rezoning.

In a surprise move, Councillor Sharyn Von Bertouch put a motion that the council should not support the rezoning. It appeared that she believed it to be a mere protest which might garner the support of a few other councillors. We held our breath as councillors spoke to the motion and finally voted 8 to 3 in support of it.

Clearly the councillors were heavily swayed not only by the submissions of horse-riders and other people who use the peninsula for recreation but also the concerns raised by Hobart Airport. The eastern portion of the peninsula is under the flight path for planes approaching the airport. The airport’s operators are concerned that the proposed development right under the flight path will bring noise complaints from new residents which could restrict the airport’s operating hours and limit its income. It seems that currently the airport is able to operate air freight services virtually around the clock and this would be highly unlikely to continue if more than 200 residences were constructed.

The final decision on the proposal for rezoning of the Seven Mile Beach peninsula will be made by the Tasmanian Planning Commission. The Commission is not bound by the council vote or the public submissions but takes them into account. It will make its decision by determining whether the relevant policies and legislation have been appropriately applied. We are confident that the Commission will uphold the council’s decision.

If the Goggin development went ahead it would be a very bad planning precedent, counter to Coastal Policy provisions which aim to prevent ribbon development, and the newly adopted urban growth boundary, which seeks to encourage development within or adjacent to existing serviced areas.

Below is a heartfelt statement which was read to the Clarence City Council meeting on 21 October by a local boy who loves horse-riding on the Seven Mile Beach spit. Seven Mile Beach has some significant environment values but it is far from pristine and this makes it ideal for higher-impact recreation such as horse-riding, large-scale orienteering events and dog walking. It seems that the Goggin Foundation greatly misunderstood just how important the area is for recreation.

Peter McGlone