Hobart cable car project deals blow as company loses appeal over council’s refusal
Controversial kunanyi/Mt Wellington cable car project has been given a hammer blow as Tasmania’s planning authority ruled it failed to meet noise, visual impact and biodiversity standards .
- Hobart City Council previously rejected the cable car proposal, but the company appealed that decision to the Planning Court
- It has now lost that appeal, despite the project’s reduced footprint
- Community group opposed to the cable car says it’s time for the company ‘to abandon its vision of privatizing the mountain’
The Tasmania Civil and Administrative Court (TASCAT) has upheld Hobart City Council’s decision to reject the scheme, leaving the developer to wonder if there is a way forward for the disputed plan.
The Mt Wellington Cableway Company had attempted to appeal the council’s decision, with TASCAT considering a reduced proposal.
The updated plans reduced the footprint of buildings on the mountaintop and halved the number of people allowed to travel in the cable cars.
In its ruling, the court upheld the council’s initial refusal, finding that the project failed to meet 18 of the 26 contested grounds for refusal.
These reasons include the noise of the proposed cable car, its impact on the biodiversity of the mountain and the visual impact of the project.
The cable car company has the option to appeal the decision again in court, but will have to wait two years before filing a development application with Hobart City Council for the same or a similar project.
Call to permanently end the cable car project
Residents opposed to cable car chairman Vica Bayley said they were “relieved and grateful” at the decision and called on developers to put their proposal on hold.
“This is a clear signal for the developer, its shareholders and supporters to abandon their vision to privatize the mountain and abandon this, or any other cable car development,” he said.
“This saga has cost the community dearly – in time, energy, cohesion and money – and it is time for it to end, and the developer is the only one who can do so.
“We will always fight for the mountain and will now work to restore some of the management protections that were changed, to no avail, to facilitate this development.”
Mount Wellington Cableway Company chairman Chris Oldfield said he was disappointed with the decision and that the company would take the time to consider the future of the project.
“We need to get advice from our legal and planning advisers on the technical details of the court’s decision,” Mr Oldfield said.
“The court’s decision and its implications for the future of the project must also be considered by our board of directors and our major shareholders.”