Wednesday, October 07, 2009

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

No comments: