For more than 100 years this project has reared its ugly head. It has been defeated every time, more or less always for the same reasons:
A lack of strong business case.
A lack of local support and interest.
The land is publicly owned, and inevitably the developer wants the people to make a gift of the publicly owned land.
The Mount Wellington Cable Car Company has created a divisive proposal. Their project has only been able to proceed because the state liberal government has introduced controversial new legislation that can compulsorily acquire publicly owned land and allows the developer to circumvent normal planning processes.
Perhaps unsurprisingly there has been no consultation with the Aboriginal Community, who have expressed strong opposition to this proposed development on Kunanyi.
As it currently stands the cable car would be obtrusive, with three massive steel pylons up to 40 metres tall, including one at the top of a 2.1km span at the apex of the Organ Pipes. Airborne carriages with up to twice the capacity of a Metro bus would operate for up to 16 hours a day, potentially ferrying 650 people per hour directly over the Organ Pipes to the ecologically fragile Pinnacle area. At peak times the carriages would cross every five minutes.
The large multi-storey commercial building planned for the summit, with multiple restaurants and catering for hundreds of people at any one time, would be clearly visible from Hobart and from adjacent areas on kunanyi. Walkers and climbers would be subjected to a permanent mechanical intrusion that would significantly diminish the experience of being on a wild mountain.
A large area of bushland would need to be cleared and massive earth works instigated at the top of Old Farm Road for the proposed base station and fire safety clearance, parking for 400 vehicles (approximately three hours accumulation of passengers), bus turning circle and fire bunker.
It would fundamentally change the character of South Hobart, with dramatically increased traffic congestion, noise, lights and visual pollution. Property values and privacy would be at risk. The proposed location for the starting station would threaten the integrity of the unique heritage view scape of the historic Cascade Brewery facade and the slopes behind.
Old Farm Road is a very special and unique part of the world, surrounded by natural beauty, peace and tranquility, only a short distance from the centre of Hobart. This ambiance would be shattered by the proposed development. The major roadworks, visual impact, privacy impact, associated noise, and an order of magnitude increase in traffic would have a huge negative affect.
Any development on kunanyi/Mount Wellington is an issue for the whole of Tasmania. It is the backdrop to the city of Hobart and is what makes this corner of Tasmania so special.
Tasmania’s future is not in unimaginative imitations of experiences that are available in degraded environments elsewhere. The proposal would entrench mass tourism. It would damage Tasmania’s brand and preclude more appropriate developments and activities on the Mountain.
Article by Ted Cutlan - Spokesperson for Residents Opposing a Cable Car.
Image at top: Thousands attended the No Cable Car MayDay event. Photo courtesy of Rob Blakers