Why I support a Battery Point Walkway
Updated: Mar 12, 2022
Hobart's roads are increasingly clogged with cars, and drivers frequently complain that parking in the CBD is a challenge. Any solution that encourages people to take alternate forms of transport in and out of the city should be seriously considered. The idea of the Battery Point Walkway has returned to the news this week and I thought I would provide you with my view on the matter.
Creating a commuter friendly route
Sandy Bay is a large populous that lives an ideal distance from the city to use alternate transport: walking, cycling and personal mobility devices, like scooters and skateboards. It also has favourable topography for these activities by Hobart standards. The University of Tasmania's proposed changes to the Sandy Bay campus will further increase the size of the areas population, potentially further clogging our roads and city. So it is a shame that there is no easily travelled route for these devices between Sandy Bay and the city. The busy footpaths of Sandy Bay road and the one way streets and topographic challenges of battery point make choosing a route challenging and puts many users off.
The intertidal zone and The River belong to the people
The principle that the land that immediately abuts the river is public is important to me. I don't believe that anywhere in this country should be like the beaches of Miami. I don't support the notion of private beaches and exclusive access to areas of beauty. This is OUR city, OUR mountain and OUR river and each and every member of society deserves to be able to access those areas. 20 wealthy residents should not have the "right" to public space, especially when it is a detriment to the greater population. The benefits brought to thousands of people exceed the detriment of a few influential people.
Community physical and mental health benefits
The health benefits of this type of public infrastructure cannot be underestimated. Starting and ending your busy, and often stressful, workday with a walk or ride along a picturesque waterfront walkway will do wonders for mental health. Even with a blustery southerly blowing, the invigoration and rejuvenation of users before coming home to their families and loved ones will be immense. The walkway will encourage more people to be active too outside of just getting to work. The physical exercise will lower disease prevalence associated with a sedentary lifestyle and the mental aspects will create a happier, healthier society.
I have previously expressed my opinion on design. Design is so important and such a prominent feature of the Hobart water front should have significant value put into the design. It must be beautiful. Design elements can also mitigate the issue of access to private boat ramps, jetties and dry docks. This could include a raised or lifting section to allow the transit of boats. This element is one for the experts to solve!
For this project to be truly successful, I believe the route must stretch from Errol Flynn Reserve to Castray Esplanade at CSIRO.
So who pays?
In the past, ratepayers have expressed concerns about the cost of such a major project. It is important to point out that these types of projects are most often funded through federal grant programs they are rarely paid for by rate payers. Any proposal to proceed with the walkway must have funding attached to it from state and/or federal governments.
This could be an amazing piece of public infrastructure that is built for the good of all, use your imagination to consider just how good this could be.