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THE reactivation of the northern suburbs rail corridor is under threat by a proposed new road at Macquarie Point and the potential for the billion-dollar waterfront site is being sold “far short”, says the Glenorchy mayor.
In an unusual step, the Glenorchy City Council has made an official representation against a development application submitted by the Macquarie Point Development Corporation for a new access road through the 9.3ha site.
Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston will address the Hobart elected members at the council’s meeting on Monday night to urge them not to approve the application, which has been recommended for approval by planning officers.
An approved application would see the construction of a new road through the site plus a new slip lane on the Tasman Highway.
An mage from Mona’s Macquarie Point vision 2050.Ald Johnston said this would prevent the establishment of light rail along the existing northern suburbs corridor as it passes through where the new road is proposed to be built.
“This planning application is a desperate and shortsighted attempt at development for the sake of trying to keep up the appearance of progress at Macquarie Point,” she told the Mercury.
“This key strategic site is just being frittered away with ad hoc developments that are so far removed from the Mona vision that it would be laughable if the consequences for the greater Hobart region weren’t so dire.
“The proposed road development would prevent the rail corridor from continuing through Macquarie Point to access the CBD. This is in direct contravention of the Mona vision, the Hobart City Deal commitments to provide a public transport service along the rail corridor to the Hobart CBD, the Sullivans Cove Planning Scheme, and the State Government’s public commitments to preserving the rail transport corridor.”
Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston on the northern rail corridor. Picture: LUKE BOWDENThe council officers’ report said the location of the proposed road was considered to be “in accordance with the requirements of the planning scheme”.
“It is not considered the proposed road’s location is such that a future rail connection with the north is unacceptably impeded,” the report stated.
“There still remains a substantial portion of the site, including adjacent to the road, where a rail corridor could be located.”
Macquarie Point Development Corporation CEO Mary Massina with State Growth Minister Michael Ferguson at Macquarie Point. Picture: LUKE BOWDENAld Johnston, a long-time advocate for light rail in the northern suburbs, said for the Macquarie Point site to be successful, it must have a transport corridor to and through it, connecting people to the CBD and beyond.
“While I appreciate that [MPDC chief] Mary Massina may be under pressure to sell some land quickly, and may think the proposed road would make it more attractive for the escarpment development idea, what she is actually doing is selling the real potential of Macquarie Point far short,” she said.
“This proposed road would ensure that Mac Point remains only accessible to an elite few that can afford to live or work there.
“This public site would become an exclusive stomping ground excluding the broader community, deepening the economic and social divide, and cutting off the lifeline of economic development to the northern suburbs, while vastly undermining the value of our protected rail corridor.”
But Macquarie Point Development Corporation chief executive Mary Massina has expressed a different view.
“The comments made by the Glenorchy Mayor are factually incorrect — the proposed road does not infringe or impact on the public transport corridor easement set aside by the Government at the Mac Point site,’’ she said.
This article first appeared on www.themercury.com.au
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