Thursday, October 15, 2009

Battery Point Pathway: What the Candidates Think

Battery Point Foreshore @ Trumpeter Street. Photo by Jan Dallas.

Listed below are summaries of replies received from Hobart City Council candidates to an email sent by Tassieblather regarding their position on the proposed foreshore pathway around Battery point. Full replies are available by clicking on the relevant link.

SUMMARY (in order of response):

Marti Zucco: Supports full path

John Freeman: Supports full path.

Peter Sexton: Supports full path.

Damon Thomas: Supports "scramble track" option.

Corey Peterson: Supports full path. Concerns re: climate change, sea level rise, etc.

Leo Foley: Supports public foreshore access as an "absolute right", though "..would not want to jeopardise an unalienable right to access by insisting on the cycleway."

Toby Rowallan: Fully supports pathway, concerns re: finance and effects of climate change.

Wendy Heatley: Supports full path to wheelchair/cycle standard.

Rob Valentine: Believes scramble track "has merit". Many considerations re: Climate change, Crown Land, Building Standards, State Government, Local residents, Cost, Disability Discrimination Act.

Peter Brownscombe: Thinks there would be much higher benefits for many more Hobart ratepayers from development of a wide range of recreation areas on the Domain hill – but supports further examination of the costs and practicality of a low impact scramble track around the Battery Point foreshore.

Helen Burnet: No reply @ 15 October

Darlene Haigh: No reply @ 15 October

Dina Alexopolous: State Electoral Commission advises "no contact details disclosed by candidate's request."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Envirocrime: Grape Bar, Salamanca

I was just walking along Salamanca, it's a beautifully sunny Monday lunchtime. Seventeen degrees celsius according to the radio.

Grape Bar - no customers inside or out, six electric radiators going full pelt underneath their exterior umbrellas. I walked in to just tell them of this oversight, as I thought it must have been.

"Hi, you've got your radiators on outisde"
"Your outside radiators are on, and it's almost twenty degrees out there."
"No, they're on because some people like them on."
"But there's nobody there, it's a bit wasteful don't you think?"
Blank stare. Walk out of bar.

I mean ter say, these outdoor space heaters are enough of a blight on the environment (wear a jacket or go inside if you're cold!), let alone having them pumping the hydrocarbons when it's sunny in the middle of the day.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

HCC Candidate's reply: Marti Zucco

Text below of reply from Ald Marti Zucco, received 3 October:


I have always supported a walkway along the waterfront and will continue to do so.

So that the idea gets some momentum and we FINALLY get to see something happening the current view is to build in stages with the area that will require the most extensive works (and costs) be built at a later date. But this will still allow a link via the road system.

The intension is to have access at that point via the current road system.

This will at least see some action rather than the current stand off position.

The other stumbling block is that the HCC requires approval from the State Government for access across this area which has been a major issue. WHY? well maybe you can work it out as who lives in the area in question may be the answer.

As I have fought for public access to be maintained at Princess wharf I have the same view here.

I hope that answers your question.


Marti Zucco

HCC Candidate's reply: John Freeman

Text below of reply from Ald John Freeman, received 3 October:

I agree entirely that it should be built. For pragmatic political reasons I have suggested a compromise that only the Marieville to the slipyards be built initially and this was published in the Mercury about six weeks ago. The reason is to have the numbers in council as there is opposition for varying reasons. Once the first part is built the public pressure to complete the walkway will be overwhelming in my view

HCC Candidate's reply: Peter Sexton

Text below of reply from Ald Peter Sexton, received 5 October:

Dear Mr Plimpton,

Thank you for your email. I have been an advocate for a walkway around
Battery Point for many years. While Chair of Council's Parks Committee, I
initiated an environmental and heritage survey of the Battery Point
foreshore. Even though this survey documented a number of aspects of the
Battery Point foreshore which are extremely important to know regardless of
any walkway proposal, the so-called 'Friends of the foreshore' opposed it.

I have written a number of times to the Mercury about this issue and most
recently I wrote explaining that the Council had undertaken a community
survey to guage the level of support for a walkway and despite around 80%
support, the State Government, through the Minister David Llewellyn,
continues to deny approval for Council to use the Crown land between the
high and low watermarks for a walkway.

In essence, Council can do nothing on Crown land without State Government
approval and for years, the State Government has refused to grant Landlord
approval. We can only keep trying, but it will require a different response
from the State Government if we are to ever build a walkway around the
Battery Point foreshore.


HCC Candidate's reply: Damon Thomas

Text below of reply from Damon Thomas, received 7 October:

Hi Scott

Sorry for the delay.

I apply a three part evaluation process to all issues- social , environmental and economic factors.

On the walkway I have carefully and comprehensively looked at the site , read environmental reports , spoken with a diverse range of residents and considered issues of cost , maintenance and depreciation treatment of a council asset .

I have concluded that a scramble track is feaesable but not a constructed walkway of the type most often put forward. It does not satisfy the test even if the considerable funding required was available which I understand not to be the case.

I have not lightly taken this approach . Should I be elected to Council I will always listen and involve myself with residents.

I hope on balance my other positions and energy will still warrant your overall support.

With best wishes

HCC Candidate's reply: Corey Peterson

Text below of reply from Corey Peterson, received 7 October:

Corey Peterson

West Hobart, Tasmania 7000

Dear Mr. Plimpton:

Thank you for the opportunity to express my thoughts on access to the Battery Point foreshore.

As a cyclist who both commutes and runs errands on my two-wheeled, self-propelled transport, I can speak from experience of the need for safe and easy to use cycling options in Hobart and surrounding municipal areas. While the majority of my cycling is through the CBD to the Eastern Shore, I do make use of the Inter-city Cycleway often so would see using the new southern access route as well, especially once it becomes safer to do so.

In principle I am in favour of a Battery Point foreshore pathway/boardwalk or whatever term best fits that would safely cater, as you note, to “the needs of both able bodied and disabled pedestrians, as well as providing a safe, off road route for cyclists.”

Predictions of a 0.8m sea level rise by 2100 from the International Panel on Climate Change as the most likely scenario at this time given existing and predicted emission levels over the next few years will necessarily impact the design of any structure. This is also the value provided by the Local Government Association of Tasmania to member councils and their engineering departments and risk managers. As this value has continued to rise over the course of the previous decade as models have become more accurate and data more reliable, it will be prudent to keep in mind that any structure might well have to be built for a value greater than this. In fact, it is anticipated that sea level rise of two meters will be closer to the truth this century.

Given this information, I would like to see what proposed designs are put forward from engineers and planners to provide the intended use while meeting the challenges of significantly higher sea levels and minimising impacts on the coastal environment itself before I would be prepared to commit to a particular solution and I do not think the solution will be “simple” in some respects.

One further item I would like to note is that any “pathway” around the Battery Point foreshore coming off of Marieville Esplanade through to Castray Esplanade should not preclude adding cycling enhancements through the Sandy Bay commercial precinct or at least access points from the routing currently proposed. The commercial area is a destination for cyclists as much as the CBD or the Long Beach area and we need to encourage cyclists into this area as well; any additional patronage is good for the businesses and it is essential that we keep this area vibrant.

Finally, the realities of the challenges from climate change and peak oil will require additional commitment to alternative transport options (not to mention the positive health effects) and I commend Hobart City Council’s efforts in this regard, but see that we can progress the plans further over time.


Corey Peterson
Corey Peterson
Sustainability and Resilience Promoter

HCC Candidate's reply: Leo Foley

HCC Candidate's reply: Leo Foley, received 8 October

Hello Scott

I support access to the foreshore, in all parts of Hobart. Public access to public space is an absolute right. That is the principle that will guide my thinking and actions.

I support a walkway around the Battery Point foreshore. There are obvious difficulties, such as the working slipways, and the steep terrain below Napoleon St. I doubt that anything more than a scramble track is possible in that area.

The suggestion to build part of the walkway (to cycleway standard) between Castray Esplanade to the slipway seems to me to have merit. It would be a good start. I'd take advice on how to progress it to Marieville Esplanade. That would be the overall aim.

But, Scott, lets be clear. The main issue for me is access to the foreshore. Having a cycleway is a good idea, and might be possible, but I would not want to jeopardise an unalienable right to access by insisting on the cycleway. There are other options for a cycleway to Sandy Bay, so we should keep those in mind as we decide on the
foreshore walkway.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
Leo Foley

HCC Candidate's reply: Toby Rowallan

Text below of reply from Toby Rowallan, received 12 October:

Hi Scott,

Thanks for your question, and I appreciate your making the effort to have this issue discussed.

Sadly local government despite its frequent impact on our daily lives gets little attention in our news media. Having said that I believe there has been considerable interest in this particular issue within the Hobart community.

Like my fellow Greens candidate Corey Peterson, I fully support the notion of a walkway around the Battery Point foreshore that caters for cyclists, able-bodied and disabled pedestrians.

I also note that cost and practicalities rarely fail to intervene in such plans, and that if elected as an alderman I would have to consider these against other needs. Hobart City Council is not a bottomless pit of money and the construction of the walkway/cycleway may require many more years of waiting before it is completed, assuming the council approves it. Other sources of funding may be possible, however these are yet to be explored.

Unsurprisingly, being a Green candidate, I am also concerned about climate change. Any walkway will have to take into account likely sea-level rise. To not do so would be foolish and wasteful.

I also believe that it is important to note the concerns of all interested members of the community. Aspects of such a proposal as this have the potential to sharply divide a community, and I believe it is vital that the public is fully consulted with and their concerns heard, before any decisions are made.

Finally, I don’t believe the construction of a cycleway around the Battery Point foreshore should preclude the inclusion of a bicycle lane along Sandy Bay road. Hobart is a very car-dependent city and we need more public transport options throughout, including more bicycle-lanes, but also more pedestrian friendly areas. There are many more options, some much more expensive of course, such as light rail, but at the very least I would like to see bike-racks on buses, to allow for those cyclists who aren’t so enthusiastic about going up hills.

Warm regards,

Toby Rowallan

Greens candidate for Hobart City Council

HCC Candidate's reply: Wendy Heatley

Text below of reply from Ald John Freeman, received 13 October:

Dear Scott,
I don't seem to have received your email, so apologies for not responding earlier.
My views are as follows:
I am fully supportive of the Battery Point Foreshore Path. The path should be suitable for multiple uses - cycling, walking, wheelchairs and prams. It will be a great asset for Hobart residents and for visitors.
I believe the path should also be part of a Maritime Trail celebrating Hobart's maritime history as well as its current role as a working port, starting at the Domain Slipyards, past the Maritime Museum, the Battery Point slipyards and ending at the yacht clubs at Sandy Bay.
Thank you for co-ordinating this survey.
Wendy Heatley
Endorsed Greens Candidate for Hobart City Council

HCC Candidate's reply: Rob Valentine

Text below of reply from Lord Mayor Rob Valentine, received 15 October:

Hi Scott,

Unfortunately I’ve been rather busy with duties and haven’t been able to get to your survey on this one until now, knowing it was going to take some time to explain the matter.

The walkway issue has certainly been on the agenda since about 1925 I believe, so it is not only a few decades, but about 80 or so years! There are many issues in this one.

The immediate governing factor here I believe is what the Government is willing to accept. A firm commitment is needed as to what they are willing to approve for development on Crown land before Council is in a position to develop anything as such.

The matter is presently before the Council and has been so for some time, as you rightly point out. The processes that Council has had to go through to secure components of the two blocks that have prevented full access to the foreshore have been very time-consuming and necessary, in order that due process is followed. To debate the intricacies of such processes at this stage is not that relevant as it is in the past, nor could I do it full justice given the confidential nature of private property acquisitions in any event.

Council officers are however drawing up concept plans I believe to assist the debate on the matter (I will check tomorrow on this one).

Without committing to a final position at this stage I believe a low impact “scramble track” that requires grooming of the rocky foreshore to improve pedestrian safety and access has merit. The reasons for my current position are as follows:

1. As it is a matter that is presently before the Council, it needs to be emphasised that elected members are prevented from going into a debate on such matters with there mind made up. It shows bias and such behaviour has been taken to court by aggrieved parties before in other municipal areas, so we must be careful as to what is expressed, given that the matter has not been concluded (of course if a definite position is expressed, the elected member could simply vacate the council chamber and not vote so as to avoid the obvious conflict of interest, but that would seem to nullify their reason for being elected to Council on such a matter in the first place).

2. Regardless of what people may want, as there is Crown Land involved with what ever configuration is chosen, the Crown must give its permission for development to occur. After writing to Minister Llewellyn on this issue, Council has since received a response basically stating that a low impact walkway is acceptable, as you are aware I believe, but he has also stated that it would need to be acceptable to the local residents for the Government to approve of Crown land being used in this way.

3. Cost, sea level rise due to climate change, and also natural, built and cultural heritage issues all come into play here. To construct anything at all, apart from a groomed foreshore track, is likely to result in something that needs to comply with Disability Discrimination Act requirements. This could result in a walkway that could resemble a small highway almost, given that it would need to be something in the order of metres wide to handle two passing wheel chairs, high enough to be above the highest tide with railings to stop people from falling into the water, possibly lit from above due to salt water issues, and possibly wide enough to accept an emergency vehicle should such access be required, given the significant length of the walkway. Then there is also the issue of heritage to be considered and its location on the natural headland of what is a significant heritage precinct. I believe all of these things may need to be considered against the Australian Building code for such structures.

I may indeed be wrong about the issues listed above, but whoever is elected to Council this month will need to wait for the officers qualified advice (as required under the Local Government Act) and possible public consultation on the final design, if any, before final decisions are made.

I hope this clarifies the matter for you.


Rob Valentine

HCC Candidate's reply: Peter Brownscombe

Text below of reply from Peter Brownscombe, received 16 October:

Hi Scott

I write to reply to your request for my position on construction of a walkway around the foreshore at Battery Point.

I am not opposed to the concept of a low impact scramble track around the Battery Point foreshore but I think that there would be much higher benefits for many more Hobart ratepayers from development of a wide range of recreation areas on the Domain hill. And so that would be my priority if elected.

I think that there needs to be much more assessment by Councillors about the decisions they take using ratepayer funds.

In broad terms I think that there are many examples of Hobart City Council spending much more money than is required on pet projects of councillors.

For example, I mention the white elephant that is the construction of so called Mawson Place, the fiasco that was the restoration of trams and the laying of tram tracks and the massive upgrades of the foreshore walkway recently done at Lower Sandy Bay.

All look really nice – but were done at great cost to many Hobart ratepayers but with little actual benefit for most of them.

I think that there is a need for much more focus on what is spent on the capital works program and whom does it benefit – with a view to trying to have fewer grand monuments that benefit few ratepayers.

As indicated in my brief statement that has been circulated to all potential voting ratepayers, I think that development of the very large area that is the Domain for recreation uses would be a much better investment for the people of Hobart than most others been canvassed.

I consider the area that is the Domain is similar to Central Park in New York. That is, it is a great asset owned by all the ratepayers that nearly every ratepayer could use – if it was sensitively developed for more recreation activities.

However, there are very good examples much closer to home. Kings Park in Perth is probably the best Australian example – although there are good ones in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. It is on the edge of the CBD, is very accessible and has been developed so that there is something for every ratepayer.

At Kings Park in Perth, there are cycling ways, running tracks, playgrounds, gardens, city viewing platforms, heritage interpretations, a small art gallery, b-b-q’s, toilets, kiosk, restaurant, etc etc.

To my mind, I think far more of Hobart’s ratepayers would get far more benefit from the investment in upgrading the Domain area to provide these sorts of opportunities than from investing any more money in foreshore developments in the richer suburbs of Battery Point and Sandy Bay.

Bear in mind that millions of dollars would be required to construct a new foreshore walkway and considerable risks taken in any significant foreshore improvement for the safe access of people along the waterfront at Battery Point and into Sandy Bay – particularly given the predictions of water level rises and storm surges flowing from global warming.

So as a simple conclusion, I think that there are opportunities to do far more good for many more ratepayers by doing projects other than further consideration of a major new walkway around Battery Point.

I hope that more people come on board and support the idea of a walking track, cycle track, look out area, public toilets etc at the Domain hill – which is owned by Council and work could start almost immediately. The Domain hill is a jewel just waiting to be discovered, used and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Hobart people each year.

Thanks for providing me the opportunity to express my views on this issue which is of great interest to many people.

Peter Brownscombe

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Battery Point Foreshore Pathway

There is an election for Mayor, Deputy Mayor and six aldermen coming up in October for the Hobart City Council. One of the primary matters on which I will be basing my vote is the construction of a foreshore path around Battery Point.

This issue has been festering for some decades now, stymied mainly by high-profile residents of Clarke Avenue who regard the foreshore as their private domain, and who seem to have great sway on council and state government.

I have written to all candidates standing in the election to ascertain their position on this relatively simple infrastructure project. See below for the text of my letter, and click here for contact details for all candidates. Watch this space for their responses (or non-responses as the case may be).

3 October 2009

Dear Candidate

The Battery Point foreshore pathway has been stuck in a standoff situation for many decades now. As you are no doubt aware, the issue has again been given quite a bit of oxygen over the last year or two, culminating in exhibitions of concept drawings for the area, which, it now seems are going nowhere yet again.

It is my opinion that the pathway should be built in its entirety, and be fully capable of fulfilling the needs of both able bodied and disabled pedestrians, as well as providing a safe, off road route for cyclists. This is especially pertinent given the HCCs current plans for Copenhagen style cycle lanes along Sandy Bay Road between Marieville Esplanade and Lower Sandy Bay.

A full pathway around the foreshore will provide the necessary link to complete a flat, seamless and safe route for commuter and recreational cyclists virtually from the CBD to Long Beach.

As you are a candidate in the upcoming Council election, I am writing to establish your position on this vital and simple piece of infrastructure development. I will be publishing all responses (and noting non-responses) on my website,, as well as other Tasmanian news sites.

I will be voting in the October election, and my major consideration will be this issue. Likewise, I will be advising others I know to vote based on your response to this correspondence.

Please respond either by email, or by post to me at PO Box 3106 WEST HOBART 7000


Scott Plimpton

Thanks to Jan Dallas for the beaut header photo. There's a heap more of his foreshore shots right here. And there's some photos I took walking around there last weekend here.

List of HCC Candidates

Title Firstname Surname Address Suburb Postcode
Ms Dina Alexopolous No public contact details as advised by State Electoral Commission.
Sandy Bay
Mr Peter Brownscombe

Alderman Helen North Burnet

Mr Leo Foley 31 Brushy Creek Road Lenah Valley 7008
Alderman John Freeman

Alderman Darlene A Haigh

Ms Wendy Heatley

Mr Corey Peterson

Mr Toby Rowallan

Mr Peter Sexton

Mr Damon Thomas

Alderman Rob Valentine

Alderman Marti Zucco