Mount Wellington cable car project cuts supply in hopes of getting the green light

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A supporter of Hobart’s Kunani / Mount Wellington cable car project says he has taken a “regrettable” step to scale back his plan in an attempt to get approval for the project.

The Mount Wellington Cableway Company has appealed the refusal of Hobart City Council to accept their offer to the Resource and Planning Appeals Tribunal.

Hobart City Council rejected the project in July.after an independent designer’s report showed it would reduce the mountain’s tourist, recreational, cultural and landscape value.

21 grounds were presented for refusal, nine more were later added to the appeal.

The company has now presented a revised proposal that CEO Chris Oldfield said will reduce the size of the center top by about 40 percent.

“We will also reduce our opening hours to mostly daytime, except we do not run the cable car until 9am on school days.”

Snow-capped coonuny / Mount Wellington rises behind Hobart's waterfront.
Announcements of new plans are not required for public comment. (Supplied by: Deni Cupit)

The number of people who can travel in cabins has been reduced from 80 to 40.

“It’s unfortunate, but we listened to what was said in the community, we listened to the advice,” said Mr. Oldfield.

Mr. Oldfield said the Organ Pipes route was the best choice from both an environmental and scenic point of view.

Residents opposed to the cable car described the revised proposal as “inconspicuous development,” without requiring new plans to be advertised for public comment.

“This supporter seems willing to do and say anything to gain access to public land at the top of Kunanyi,” said spokeswoman Vic Bailey.

“No one should have any confidence that an abandoned restaurant will not be rebuilt in a future development application that should be considered when the special values ​​of the Kunani are compromised by the construction of the cable car, cafe, bar and functional center. “

When asked if the company would consider making further changes, Mr. Oldfield said: “As long as I remain chair of the cable car, we will not come back with any second proposals to expand the scheme, I can give this personal guarantee.”

Mount Wellington Observation Deck
The developer states that his facility will only operate during daylight hours.(ABC News: Gregor Salmon)

According to the critic, the changes do nothing to avoid environmental impact.

Bailey challenged the company’s claims that it listened to feedback.

“While this revised statement aims to remove some of the 30 grounds for denial, it is silent on others,” he said.

Green parrot sits on a branch.
Residents who oppose the cable car fear that the development will disrupt the fast-moving parrot’s habitat.(Supplied by: Jeffrey Dabb)

“These changes do nothing to avoid bulldozing of swift parrots and masked trees, nesting owls, traffic on residential streets, noise, sewage and odor.

“There is still a 35-meter tower at the top of the mountain, and it is impossible to understand how abandoning a significant commercial element of development will change the already discredited claims of economic benefits.”

The amendments will now be considered by the parties to the appeal in an attempt to achieve a mediated result.