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  • Urban Consolidation: A single storey KFC?

    Hobart has a housing problem. The superheated housing and rental markets are doing real, tangible damage to our society. I recently heard from a doctor in training, working as a specialist at The Royal Hobart Hospital who has a wife, young baby and a dog. He had intended on bringing his his family to Hobart for his 12 month contract, and likely stay on to work here in the longer term, assuming he enjoyed his work and lifestyle in this magnificent city. Unfortunately, he was unable to find an appropriate rental. This has resulted in him finding a share house and leaving his family at home in Melbourne. The consequence is that we will not retain his specialist skill set in the long term. He will go back to Melbourne and his family. This is just one example of how housing can impact on our future as a city. The young engineer featured in the recent “Tiny Homes” proposal is another, as is all the young people being pushed further and further out of the city. So it is in everyone’s interest to investigate ways to increase inner city housing stock. We also need to increase the range of housing. In Hobart, free standing houses predominate. Some residents actually prefer town houses and apartments, and increasing the mix of housing types is part of the solution to create a vibrant liveable city. I was prompted to write this when I saw the 3D render of the proposed new KFC on the corner of Harrington and Patrick street. I am disappointed to see a single storey fast food store proposed in an inner city location. Especially when all existing structures are to be demolished. These developments provide great opportunity to design amazing buildings that encompass some residential elements. They don’t have to be 10 storey monstrosities, but they can be beautiful 3-4 storey buildings. I think the days of new single story commercial, retail and light industrial are over in the city. I also don’t think that single storey they serve the city as they should or could. A great example of what can be achieved with great design is The Rox building (pictured) on the corner of Elizabeth and Brisbane Streets. It is an aesthetically pleasing building. In fact, it is one of my favourite buildings in the city. But it doesn’t just look great, it serves multiple purposes. No longer a car park and vacuum store, The Rox now has 3 apartments and a penthouse. As well as, a luxury car dealer on the ground floor. It is great use of inner city space. And while I know the building is currently used as a hotel it still provides great inspiration for what can be done with a little bit of creativity and vision. Moving forward, let’s ensure that new build developments in the inner city: Make efficient use of space Are mixed use and include some residential components wherever possible Are beautifully designed Are aspirational and inspirational Together we can make an even better future for Hobart. Ryan.

  • Federal Election: What's in it for Hobart

    It's that time again: the federal election will be called this weekend with Australians going to the polls on Saturday 21st May. The silly season is upon us; our TVs, newspapers and social media feeds will be filled with all sorts of information, misinformation and disinformation fed to us by those that yearn for power but why is the Federal election important to Hobart City? and what does it have to do with Hobart City Council? It is important to understand how our councils are funded. Did you know that council rates make up only 3.4% of tax raised by all Australian governments? Yet councils are responsible for providing so many of our day to day services. There is also a popular misconception that Your Rates pay for all of councils business. In fact, on average, rates make up about 40% of councils' revenue Australia wide. A further 40% of their income tends to come from revenue raised through fees, charges and fines. That leaves an average of 20% of councils' revenue acquired through grant processes. Because 96.6% of total tax revenue goes to State and Federal Governments, it's important that councils tap into these revenue streams to achieve the big changes they want in their region. The four mayors for Greater Hobart recently announced their wish list for Greater Hobart's Federal grant process. Transport has to be at the forefront of any Greater Hobart plan. Poor transport networks and congestion slow everything down, they make our economy less efficient with more time wasted moving from point A to B, and they contribute to stress levels and cost of living. It is in everyone’s benefit to improve the Greater Hobart transport network. $20 million to activate ferry services Stations at: Bellerive, Lindisfarne, The Casino (Sandy Bay) and The DEC (Wilkinsons Point) Hobart has a traffic problem and any solution that encourages some road users to take alternative transport is worthwhile of consideration. The River Derwent is one of our greatest assets in terms of its visual appeal, mental health benefits and recreational use but it is completely under utilised for transport. The river could be a highway for fast ferries, moving people about in comfort; efficiently and effectively. Ferry commuters are often some of the happiest commuters of all. There is no stress on a ferry, unlike being stuck in traffic, and the beauty of travelling on the River Derwent to and from work provides a great time to wind down and reflect, improving user's happiness. A comprehensive and cost effective ferry service with well thought out park and ride facilities is a must for Greater Hobart. The reduction in road users will also make the journey faster and easier for those who have to take the car. So its a win win. This is the number one priority for Federal Grants in my view. It's low hanging fruit so let's get on and build it. Federal Labor commits! (8/4/22) Ryan Posselt with Federal Shadow Minister for Cities & Urban Infrastructure, Andrew Giles after Federal Labor committed to $20 million for River Derwent ferries - 8th April 2022 $18 million for Greater Hobart active transport connecting network We often think of active transport as cycling, running and walking. However, the increasing use of e-mobility or micro-mobility devices, such as e-scooters, One-Wheels, e-long boards, Big Wheels and e-bikes is changing the way people move around and use traditional active transport networks. Enhancing the network and ensuring safe passageway for these novel devices, will combine with falling micro-mobility prices and rising fuel prices to encourage more people off the road and onto these alternate transport devices. This benefits everyone. Its cheap and easy for the micro-mobility users and it frees up our road network for those that drive. It's a win win. I use many different forms of transport. I drive, I cycle and I own a scooter. Each has its place in my transport around the city and the change in use is noticeable when you frequent active transport corridors, like the intercity cycleway. I now pass many scooters, in particular on commutes up the intercity cycleway. So this is an important initiative. Remember the RACT believes that moving just 4% of road users to other forms of transport will significantly reduce congestion. Activating the northern suburbs transit corridor The northern suburbs transport corridor (the train line that runs adjacent to the intercity cycleway) has long been talked about as an important asset for easing traffic and providing affordable transport for people from the northern suburbs. Yet nothing ever seems to happen. The state government recently received an independent report from GHD that states that light rail is not an option in this corridor. That leaves two options on the table: A rapid transit bus route or a trackless tram system. I support trackless trams as they are forward looking technology. Some trackless trams are designed to carry in excess of 400 people and they can travel both on normal roads and on specialist corridors. This makes them flexible and fast. They are also electric, making them 100% green in this hydro powered state of ours. Regardless of which transport modality is chosen, this corridor needs to be used, it has sat sadly dormant for too long. Now is the time to build our future, lets make that happen, and use Federal grant funding to do so. So, this Federal Election it is important that our councils’ leaders lobby the incoming government for funding for these crucial projects. It’s also important that you, as the voter, consider your vote and which candidates are most likely to provide funding for these crucial, future building projects. Every vote counts! Ryan.

  • Parking: Is it really that bad?!

    Chatting to people around Hobart, there is a clear sentiment that parking is difficult for many people. The implementation of parking meters that are not user friendly and a parking app that makes Gen Y users shudder, contributes to the sense that people don’t want to battle traffic in and out of the CBD only to find parking as yet another hurdle on their journey to spend money with our retailers, cafes and restaurants. I support all forms of transport, and believe that moving around the city should be easy, no matter what option you chose. We must make cycling safe, which will also encourage more people into privately owned micro mobility (like e-scooters and e-bikes), we must enhance our footpaths to encourage more people to walk, and for those that choose to drive, we must work to achieve efficient routes, with suitable parking at the end of the route. We also must remember that sometimes you just have to take the car - I have a toddler so I completely understand! There are many ways to enhance the ease of CBD parking. I believe Hobart City Council should: Implement universal free 15 minute parking across the city that precedes the metered time. This allows consumers to pull in and pick up a coffee, lunch or click and collect items. If they intend on staying beyond 15 minutes they will need to pay for that period on arrival with the first 15 minutes provided free. Scrap metered parking that is 30 minutes or less. Review access and egress from multistorey council car parks. Argyle street car park is a great example of terrible design. The exit needs to be traffic light controlled with a pedestrian crossing. There are also systems used elsewhere that use licence plate recognition to enable automatic exit gates. This means no stopping to put a ticket in a machine, which just holds everyone up at peak times. One resident reported waiting multiple hours over Christmas just to get out of the car park - that is totally unacceptable. Review proposals to enhance Condell Place car park in North Hobart in concert with implementing on-street parking reform on Elizabeth Street. I support the idea of a multistorey carpark in Condell Place. I believe it should be sensitively designed, involving excavation to achieve an extra level and limiting height to ensure amenity is preserved for surrounding residents. Condell Place is easily accessed from the Brooker highway, and the provision of a limited park and ride facility on weekdays may help to decrease city congestion. These are good starting points to address parking in the city. As always, I would consult and engage with experts and expert staff at Hobart City Council to identify and rectify parking problems within the CBD. We all know there is an issue, so let’s get on and fix it. Ryan.

  • The problem with Airbnb

    Hobart has a housing crisis, there is no two ways about it. It has one of the tightest rental markets in the country, driving rental prices higher than some of the larger capital cities. Purchase prices show no sign of abatement either up 30% in the 12 months to December, a price rise equivalent to $440/day. The competition and profits for existing property owners is a boon for the established amongst us. However, it provides major stresses on those less fortunate and our communities future - our young people. The majority of solutions are managed in the state government sphere and outside the realm of local government. However, there has been a continued failure to act at the state level, which has caused rental costs to sky rocket. Extraordinarily high rents have combined with rapidly rising costs of living to put serious pressure on vulnerable people, families and young people. It doesn't help that Tasmania has proportionally lower incomes than our mainland counterparts. Although the majority of policy levers lie with The State, there are options available to Hobart City Council and other local governments The use of appropriate housing for Airbnb is contributing to the problem. There is no doubt that many Airbnb operators are good willed families who work hard to both purchase the property and provide a service to their guests. That's why a retrospective change would be unsavoury, as those people may rely on the income produced from Airbnb to cover daily family expenses. However, a prospective pause on Airbnb approvals in Hobart doesn't actually lead to worse outcomes for any of our society; its a change in legislation for the greater good. I believe Council can act to put downward pressure on rental costs in particular. One immediate lever is limiting short stay accommodation, while longer-term solutions are sought and implemented. I support both motions currently in front of Hobart city council. I support: Pausing new approvals for whole property Airbnbs Finding a financial lever to encourage existing owners to rent their property out to long term tenants over Airbnb.* *I'm not convinced that a different rate schedule is the best approach for this financial lever, and there may be a better solution, such as charging a small per-night surcharge for visitor accomodation in Hobart municipality. I would need to seek expert economic advice on this matter before I had a firm position. But the idea of a small (<$5/night) surcharge for tourists visiting Hobart has merit and is worth exploring. the ongoing cost to airbnb operators may encourage some to move back into conventional land lordship. While, large profit making hotels would contribute just a little bit extra to our services, resulting in a better experience for tourists and locals alike. Such a scheme could increase council's operating budget by more than $5 million. I don't believe such a small surcharge would dissuade interstate and international tourists who are spending hundreds to thousands of dollars per day. But as always, I would seek expert analysis before moving such a motion before council. Back to the housing crisis. Hobart City Council needs to work with property developers and current land holders to increase the rate of apartment developments in appropriate areas within the city. Planning now for cohesive, beautiful and functional developments will only enhance this great city of ours. Current light industrial operations in the municipality should be given incentives to relocate further out from the city, opening up plots of land for future development. It's a 5 year plan for our city, so we need to act now. I'll have more to say on urban consolidation closer to the October election. But for now, lets pause Airbnb approvals and allow more of our society to live their best life with security, certainty and a long-term roof over their head. Ryan.

  • Subsidised & free public transport

    The concept of subsidised and/or select free public transport has been around for decades. Think about Melbourne's free tram zone as a good, successful example. So what are the considerations of implementing these types of schemes and why do I support them? There are many benefits to increasing the number of people using public transport. In 2019, RACT found that Hobart has the lowest public transport and alternative transport utilisation rate of any capital city at 16%, and that increasing public transport utilisation by as little as 4% would make a significant difference to congestion in and around the city, making car journeys faster for those who require a car. We don't need to achieve a massive change in population behaviour to see great results and thus, simple changes can have great effects. After all, decreasing congestion in the city also makes the city environment more pleasant and more people focused. Offering frequent free public transport in key areas, such as the CBD to North Hobart, CBD to Salamanca, CBD to Sandy Bay and CBD to Cascade Brewery, could result in greater usage of private business in those areas as well as decreasing the cars on the road. Work in the CBD and fancy going to North Hobart for lunch? No problem! As the cost of living is rapidly rising, and fuel prices are going up and up, private transport from the outer suburbs is becoming increasingly unviable for some families. Incentivising the bread winners in these families to move to public transport will mean less pressure on these struggling families. This can be achieved by decreasing fares and providing a better service, with improved facilities, allowing these people more time with their families and in their communities, increasing quality of life. Public transport is a public service, it should be run at a net loss to the governmeent that operates it. No other government service is expected to turn a profit: Hospitals? No; Law enforcement? No; emergency services? No. The worst model of public transport, is the model where governments try to make a profit from the service charges. When did a public road ever turn a profit? Councils and State governments fork out billions of dollars building and maintaining road networks. Subsidising public transport would cost a fraction of that, but have incredible effects for the population. In summary, public transport should be: Cost effective Comfortable Efficient, and Safe Thats why I support subsidised public transport and a free public transport network in key areas, in conjunction with improved services in greater Hobart. Ryan

  • Affordable housing: Are tiny houses the answer?

    Are tiny houses the answer to Hobart's housing crisis? In short both yes and no. Tiny houses provide a place where tenants or owners with limited financial means can feel they have a safe place and a place of their own. They can be built off site, towed to wherever they need to go and easily removed or moved on. However, as they are required to be mobile, they cannot have any permanent services, which includes sewerage. A recent proposal to build tiny house villages on vacant carparks or vacant land to be used for future development while they are designed and approved is not the solution. Everyone deserves to feel safe and have a space of their own but this proposal provides no certainty to prospective tenants. It doesn't even provide appropriate amenity to the residents. Would you want to live crammed into a carpark? The main proponents of such a scheme are existing short stay operators, property developers and real estate moguls. The profits to be made for the owners of the tiny houses exceed any other property returns in the city. Compare rents of $200 per week proposed for an investment of $100,000-$150,000, when $1 million apartments are available for $750/week. This solution is almost double the return for the owner, with almost no ongoing costs and less outlay. So who does this really serve? Furthermore, the cost to council or the developer to provide the services required for basic housing, such as organised power, water supply and sewerage, as well as, the potential requirement for a full amenities block, is prohibitive and wasteful. It really is a poorly thought out solution imported from the trailer parks of America. So how can small scale accomodation and tiny houses be better used to help solve the housing crisis? Hobart City Council can play a role in this space by encouraging current home owners to install a tiny house or prefabricated studio in their backyard through: Cutting red tape to fast track approvals processes Waiving development application costs for single bedroom free-standing "developments" Assigning a council employee to a portfolio that includes providing advice to prospective owners, assessing and referring applications, and providing recommendations to council. Commissioning a report into a bulk-buy scheme with a Tasmanian constructor of these types of accomodation. Potentially, significantly reducing outlay costs for prospective owners. Dispersing these tiny houses or single bedroom studios/granny flats amongst the Hobart municipality will help to establish a better sense of community for the tenants, who will feel like a permanent resident in their community enabling them to build relationships with people in the area. While the provision of proper rental contracts will provide protection and certainty for the future tenant. If I am elected, I will seek advice from experts and look at the evidence from elsewhere for solutions to the housing crisis and how Hobart City Council can reduce to the cost of living for those who are struggling. Ryan.

  • Electrification of Local Government

    Councils are large organisations, much larger than people often think. To give readers some context, Hobart City Council operates on a budget of $142 million per annum. This is more than the budget for many of the State based services, like Ambulance Tasmania. Councils also deliver a large number of services requiring the use of different types of vehicles, from light fleet vehicles for inspectors and managers to move about the city, to heavy vehicles like garbage trucks. They also utilise lot of different plant machinery, like mowers and excavators. As a result of providing such a wide range of services, and needing such a large number of vehicles, Council's expenditure on vehicle and vehicle running costs are significant. I felt it was timely to write this post now, as fuel prices soar to record highs, with no signs of slowing down. At the time of writing retail diesel price is $2.30/L in Hobart. There has been discussions at different government levels of how to best deal with this financial challenge, including reducing fuel excise tax at the federal level. However, there are things we can enact at a council level to reduce Hobart City Council's ongoing operating costs. I'm talking about electrification of the entire Council fleet. Not only does fuel cost mean that it is getting increasingly expensive to run traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and plant machinery, but Hobart and Tasmania are fortunate to run on 100% green energy. So it make sense that Hobert City Council, as the council operating the states capital, leads the way in electrification of the fleet. Even though the purchase price of electric vehicles is higher than traditional ICE vehicles, the ongoing maintenance costs and running costs are significantly less. Furthermore, the resale value tends to be much higher. So it makes financial sense and its good for the planet. The large scale use of electric vehicles at government level also means that more electric vehicles come onto the second hand market, increasing the rate of affordable electric vehicle take up by the general population. Electric vehicles are also quieter with less emissions, making our city a more pleasant place to be. So, if I'm elected to Hobart City Council, I will request an investigation into electrification of the entire fleet of Hobart City Council vehicles, including: Costing a 3 year replacement program for the entire light fleet, like passenger cars Reporting on new technologies for heavy vehicles, like garbage trucks Investigating options for light plant machinery, like mowers and small excavators Trialling a new program of shared personal mobility devices for council staff to use to get to appointments, such as a small fleet of electric scooters or electric bikes, to reduce the total number of fleet cars (and reduce congestion in the city) Costing the ongoing running costs of the entire current fleet vs a future electric fleet Identifying further areas for solar installation on council buildings to offset the cost of charging the fleet Producing a 5 year costed transition plan Seeking federal and state government grants to aid in the transition costs. Transitioning the fleet to electric just makes sense. Ryan

  • RACT Greater Hobart Mobility Vision

    RACT updated its 30 year transport vision for greater Hobart this week. In broad terms I applaud their vision and their well thought out document. We all know that Hobart's roads have become increasingly congested over the last few years but did you know: Hobart has the 4th most congested roads in the country? Hobart has the worst % change in travel time of any city in the country? 84% of commuters use a private vehicle to get to work, the highest of any capital city? Congestion costs the economy $100 million / year? Fuel costs in Hobart are higher than in other capital cities? These are all incentives for us to act on transport right now! I believe in planning for the future, and building the infrastructure we will need in 30 years right now. I also believe that the economic and social benefits of fixing transport in greater Hobart out-weigh the costs. Interest rates are low at the moment, which means that money is cheap to borrow, especially for large government entities. So, it is great to see an independent body, like RACT, produce a document that can guide decision makers to achieve a global, cohesive transport strategy for greater Hobart. It is important to note that many of the recommendations fall in the State Government jurisdiction and some rely on federal funding. However, many aspects fall firmly into the portfolio of the Hobart City Council If elected to Hobart City Council I will support: Creating protected active and alternative transport "spines" that connect key transport corridors, joining Sandy Bay Rd, Elizabeth St, The Intercity Cycle Way and The Rivulet Track Delivering infrastructure that provides greater separation between people and vehicles A settlement strategy that encourages infill development and densification around key transport corridors and active urban centres Upgrading public transport infrastructure, like bus stops, and ferry terminals to be fit-for-purpose, as well as be a pleasant place to be, providing live transport information to users through modern IT infrastructure The implementation of transport hubs at key locations in the city, like the Royal Hobart Hospital and University of Tasmania The primary end terminus of the northern suburbs transport corridor being in the Hobart CBD, not Macquarie Point Greater connectedness between the CBD and waterfront A less car-centric waterfront precinct I believe we can be even more ambitious with some of the State jurisdiction interventions than RACT's vision. For example, a comprehensive ferry service, with 8 terminals up and down the River Derwent, can be implemented at relatively low cost right now. And a decision on transport modality in the Northern Suburbs Transport Corridor can be made right now, with procurement and tendering starting tomorrow. Let's be ambitious and build a better future for tomorrow, today! You can read more about RACT's Transport vision by clicking the link below. Use the comments button to let me know what transport solutions you think we should be focusing on! What Hobartians told RACT in 2019:

  • Why I support a Battery Point Walkway

    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. Design 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! Route 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. Ryan.

  • Follow the Evidence.

    Evidence is everything! Holding three healthcare related degrees and having worked as a paramedic for more than a decade, I have learned the importance of the scientific approach. Everyday, we treat sick people with medications and interventions that are based in sound evidence. We never treat someone just because we think it might work, only to find our intervention has had some bizarre side effect or has even made the patient sicker. Council planning and management should be no different. Every Council program or piece of infrastructure should be evaluated against the evidence. The vast majority of services provided by Hobart City Council are provided around the world, and many different solutions have been tried and tested. We should be looking for the gold standard, based on results found elsewhere, and applying it to Hobart. To continue with the health analogy, if we continue to "treat" our city with solutions that are not based in evidence or at the very least, expert consensus, then we risk bizarre consequences. Another key tenant of healthcare, is evaluation of treatment while-ever the patient requires care. We don't just keep giving the same antibiotic, even when the patient is not getting better. We are constantly evaluating our treatment: "Is this treatment working?" or "Should I be trying something else?". And we use empirical data to help us with our decision making such as blood tests, imaging, and vital signs, like blood pressure. Again, this should be true of Councils. Every change we make to crucial infrastructure, like roads, traffic lights, parking meters and intersections should be evaluated for its effectiveness and any unwanted side effects identified and mitigated as part of a robust review process. So, if I am elected to Hobart City Council, I will always seek to have council programs that are based in best practice, evidence and expert advice. I will aim to ensure that Council programs are constantly evaluated to look for ways to improve the way we do things. Ryan.

  • Design matters.

    Design matters. It's a simple statement, yet so often overlooked in public infrastructure. Often governments see infrastructure as utilitarian: "designed to be useful or practical rather than beautiful". The recent demolition and replacement of Hobart's Parliament offices at 10 Murray St is a great example of why design matters. From a brutalist building, that was a blight on the skyline and dominated over the heritage parliament building below, to a stunning modern building that is beautiful to look at. It's not only beautiful to look at but the addition of the public space below, known as Parliament Square, has added to the amenity and practicality of the area. Good design increases happiness by making our surroundings appealing and pleasant to be in while enhancing practicality and usefulness. The most recent UTAS accommodation block on Melville Street, is a good example of bad design. While it may be functional as an accommodation setting, it is a simple concrete box, and frankly, it isn't good enough. It detracts from the city space, and is ugly to look at. Major developments in Hobart need to have high architectural value. Developments need to be great buildings that suit our great city. We own our city, and we can control what type of buildings are built here through planning and review processes. They must add to, not detract from, the cityscape. And large scale, wealthy property developers, including the University, need to be held to the highest standards - they can afford it. But good design doesn't just have to be applied to large scale developments . Good design has its place all through our city. From rubbish bins to bus stop shelters, footpaths to lighting, design is a constant in our lives and Hobart City Council must strive for the best design. A recent example of small-scale good design is the replacement of the unsightly concrete toilet block at Long Beach Reserve, Sandy Bay. The Long Beach area is an important location for many residents of greater Hobart, combining a large children's playground, sporting fields and beach front promenade. It is appropriate that this recreation area includes attractive and practical public facilities. By engaging local architecture firm, Preston Lane, to design a modern and beautiful amenity block, we once again see that good design improves both look and function. The new toilet block almost disappears into the hillside, no longer an eyesore. It has gained outdoor showers and modernised public bathroom facilities. It also includes a roof-top viewing platform with seating, again enhancing the utility and user experience. I believe in good design. I believe we should hold developers to account and I believe Hobart City Council should set the benchmark for design to enhance our lives and the liveability of our great city. Ryan.

  • Bushfire Preparedness

    This weeks bushfire on Mount Nelson came as a timely reminder to residents of Hobart city that bushfire is a threat we live with every summer. Science tells us that bushfires are likely to become more frequent and more ferocious in the immediate future as a result of climate change. This weeks fire in Mount Nelson started as a result of routine bush care, the use of a brush cutter. It roared into life in seconds, and as I drove past on the Southern Outlet, I saw flames stretching 15-20m into the sky while our fires services, both professional and volunteer, went to work to get this threat under contol. We take their work for granted but it is dangerous work, as the tragic crash of a fire fighting helicopter this month in the North of the sate reminded us all. So we must do everything we can to manage fire threat while living amongst the bushland mountain setting that we hold so dear. The 55th anniversary of the 1967 disaster reminded us all of the consequences of failing to do so. The fire at Mount Nelson tracked into an area of bushland that had recently undergone a fuel reduction burn. I have no doubt that this contributed to the Tasmanian Fire Service's ability to get the fire under control. Many aspects of fire mitigation come under Hobart City Council responsibilities. That is why it is important we continue to fund a proper fire mitigation strategy. Including: Supporting the Tasmanian Fire Service in their bush fire mitigation activities. Ensuring the network of fire trail in, and access points to, our bushland are maintained to the highest standard, which allows heavy tankers to get in to fire prone areas. Listening to fire fighting and fire mitigation experts, allowing science and experience to be at the forefront of Hobart's bushfire management plan. Continuing to enforce robust planning rules in bushfire prone areas. Supporting bushfire prone communities to have local plans in place in the event of major bushfire, including encouraging households to have current bushfire survival plans that are reviewed annually. Promoting safety messaging each bushfire season.

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