“Becoming the Jewel of Tasmania”
1. GOALS OF THE MASTER PLAN
The primary goal of the master plan is to ensure a well-planned and desirable community for the peninsula, to be developed over the next 30 to 40 years.
This is the opposite of the all too common result we see when there is no long-term vision and masterplan. After all, “failing to plan is a plan to fail”.
The master plan was intentionally designed to meet Tasmania’s vision for future growth, as outlined in the State of Tasmania’s Regional Land Use Strategy (STRLUS). The vision statement reads as follows: ““a vibrant, growing, liveable and attractive region, providing a sustainable lifestyle and development opportunities that build upon our unique natural and heritage assets and our advantages as Australia’s southernmost region.” As a result, the master plan contains six neighbourhoods each with a “Vibrant and Attractive Activity Center”.
Please take the time to review the master plan in light of the following STRLUS “Tasmania Together Goals” that we believe will assist The State of Tasmania and Clarence Council in fulfilling their goals, for the benefit of the entire community of Greater Hobart and beyond, for generations to come.
- A reasonable lifestyle and standard of living for all.
- Confident, friendly and safe communities.
- Vibrant, inclusive and growing communities where people feel valued and connected.
- Built and natural heritage that is valued and protected.
- Sustainable management of our natural resources.
If a community is not walkable (and bikeable), it is simply cannot be sustainable. Skylands has been deliberately designed to be first and foremost a walkable community.
The health benefits of walking are both common sense and well researched. Clarence City and the State of Tasmania’s policy documents recognize this clearly. How local councils might encourage more of it is one focus of the report Creating Liveable Cities in Australia and this Project, undertaken by LGAT with the support of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and Brighton, Launceston and Clarence Councils. This pilot Project assessed the “walkability” of three Local Government Areas with the aim of producing data that could be of practical use in policy and planning.
An area that is walkable for transport is one that consists of three key factors: 1) Land Use Mix and services of daily living (something to walk too); 2) Road Connectivity (a way to get there); and 3) Housing Density (housing and population density needed to supply services and different land uses) (Giles-Corti et al., 2014). Areas that are walkable influence how people move around their neighbourhoods to undertake daily activities which reinforces the importance of services of daily living that include access to supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol stations, newsagents and public transport stops in community design.
(Source: From the website of the Local Government Association of Tasmania)
Skylands is planned to provide services of daily living including convenience stores, newsagents, day care centers, schools on the Montessori model, public transport stops at each neighborhood center and the ferry terminal. In addition, there are multiple small parks and playgrounds as well as the foreshore reserve and hilltop parkland, all interconnected with walking and cycling paths. However, equally important, it is designed to make walking pleasant and interesting, to encourage social interaction and to strengthen the bonds of the community.
3. How development of the master plan addressed petition issues
- 1. “Over 70% of dwellings are semi-detached or “multi-family” with shared backyards. Most have shared or no backyard, relying on open space”.
- While a robust mix of housing is envisioned for the site, with the aim of attracting different households, the vast majority of housing proposed for Skylands (75% of all dwellings) will have their own private yards. All single-family dwellings, whether attached or detached (duplexes and townhouses) will be designed with their own private backyards.
- 2. “Tranmere now has 685 dwellings, will add 4 times (2,740) as many homes and over 6,000 more residents”
- The anticipated growth of this area is expected to mirror current trends meaning people will continue to move to the greater Hobart area as it is a desirable place to live. In recognition of this, the Skylands site has been identified by the State of Tasmania for future development on the State of Tasmania Regional Land Use Strategy Document (STRLUS).
- Skylands is expected to develop incrementally, at an average of 100 dwelling units / year taking 25-30 years to build out. If not on this site, where should new residents go? We believe this site is well positioned to accommodate and absorb some of the anticipated growth of the region. Skylands is fortunate to be of a large enough site that it can be developed as a full community, providing commercial, retail, civic and residential uses on the peninsular.
- Skylands has also been designed following the Principles of New Urbanism that essentially fights sprawl and lays out the rules to design sustainable and resilient communities. These principles can be viewed at this link: www.cnu.org/principles. The founding principals at DPZ CoDesign were deeply involved in crafting those principles that we hope you agree are equally appropriate for Tasmania. It bears mentioning that an Australian CNU chapter also exists and can be viewed at this link: https://www.acnu.org.
- 3. “Skylands and other developments will contribute to increasing demands on infrastructure which is already failing to cope.”
- As Hobart continues to grow, Hobart’s infrastructure will need to adjust accordingly. That is one of the reasons why the STRLUS designates future growth areas in anticipation of where new or improved infrastructure should be directed. The city will ensure services are provided to new homes and that is why there are requirements at each stage of development that the developers must comply with at the appropriate time.
- The advantage of a masterplan for the entire peninsular is that it can sensibly phase the future growth over the next 30 to 50 years to plan for the efficient distribution of infrastructure in an orderly manner.
- All of the infrastructure, roads, footpaths, street lighting, stormwater system sewer and water systems, electric service and communications within the Skylands masterplan will be, as is always the case with development, engineered and constructed in accordance with the rules and codes of controlling authorities, by the Carr family at their cost. After one year, under maintenance by the developer, the roads, footpaths, etc. are transferred to Council.
- It is the Carr’s intention to donate land for a private (Montessori) school on the peninsular. At this stage, the city has indicated there is no need for a public school. If that were to change, the master plan would be adjusted accordingly. An exception to this would be schools required by the State.
4. “Intruding on our skyline”
- We are requesting the UBG be modified to permit some place-specific intrusion over the 70m line, but only where it makes sense from the standpoint of completing neighborhoods where possible. DPZ has designed the master plan with 6 specific neighborhoods, that would include a mix of housing types and uses to afford residents the ability to walk or bike to some of their daily needs. We encourage you to go listen to the charrette final presentation at this link to better understand the many reasons for this request: skylands-hobart.com.
- There were technical, environmental, and aesthetic reasons why this line was established by the state.
- The technical reasons are no longer relevant or can be resolved. (I.e.: the height at which TAS water can provide water supply lines).
- The environmental and aesthetic reasons remain relevant of course. We acknowledge the importance of open space and a prominent skyline and that is why we are proposing a large regional park on the top of the ridge. Moreover, we believe it is as important to have horizontal views protected, as it is to have vertical ones protected, and that is why we included greenway corridors throughout the master plan that more than compensate land wise for the suggested intrusion over the 70m.
5. “Over the hill connector roads, connecting the eastern side of the peninsular to the westerns side via Norla Street which is steep cul-de-sac.”
- Generally speaking, from a traffic standpoint, the more distributed and connected a road network is, the lighter the traffic can be on those roads. On a peninsular, it is important to connect the eastern and western sides where possible to prevent the condition under which a lot of traffic would be funneled and directed along the long periphery spine road of the peninsular to circulate from one side to the other which is an inefficient way to circulate.
- We acknowledge that for those living along Norla Street’s cul-de-sac, this will be an unexpected imposition of additional traffic. As a result, we are committed to designing that road, if approved, to be as narrow and pleasing as possible. Additionally, we anticipate it will not need to be built until many years into the construction of the community.
- We were asked during the charrette to explore other east-west connections and we did. This trajectory makes the most sense as it impacts as few households as possible and is the least intrusive on the skyline as it can cross the hill at a lower elevation than other potential connectors.
- 6. “Destruction of the existing sheoak forest and associated wildlife corridors.”
- We appreciate that she oaks are visually prominent on an otherwise bare hillside. Additionally, we know residents on the eastern shore have gotten used to seeing them and may likely find it strange to not see them. However, the following is important to note:
- It is unlikely they existed before the peninsula was cleared for farmland and for timber for the boilers of the jam factory and for rendering at the whaling station during the 1950s (?)
- She oaks are not a protected species, and many do not consider them a particularly attractive tree.
- They are known to be a bushfire hazard and, if left, they could burn one day and leave an ugly black scar for years.
- They do not provide a wildlife corridor and it is rare to see any animal or bird in them.
- Some will be retained in private yards.
- As part of the master planning effort, a more comprehensive landscape scheme is proposed. This includes:
- Attractive greenway corridors of vegetation that will stretch from river to the hilltop park. These revegetated corridors will provide wildlife corridors intended to attract more native animals and birds
- 7. “Interstate consultants (Traffix) used unrealistic traffic modelling”.
- The traffic modelling used by Traffix Group was an accurate high level preliminary assessment of future traffic patterns. Additional detailed studies will be provided at appropriate times as required by the Clarence City.
- The modelling looked at actual traffic counts and projected traffic counts on existing streets including Oceana Drive and Tranmere Road, as well as the future street network. The projected traffic counts are based on the proposed development program for Skylands.
- The modelling assumes other transportation management strategies or measures are in place to mitigate traffic impacts, such as a ferry service to and from Hobart, staggered work schedules, only increased since COVID, and some internal capture of trips within Skylands due to its mixed-use nature.
- Additionally, a study by The Department of State Growth is underway that will consider the impacts and future needs of the South Arm Road (Rokeby Road) corridor between Pass Road and Acton Road. The study takes into account 1,771 additional dwelling units (= 65% of the Skylands plan) by 2039.
- 8. “Developers failed to provide an environmental assessment of this proposal.”
- At this stage, no environmental assessments are required. However, an environmental assessment will be provided at appropriate times as required by the Clarence City which is typically as subdivision plans are being developed.
- The Carr Family is familiar with this process as they have conducted environmental assessments in the past for their past subdivisions. In 2005, on behalf of the Carr Family, an environmental assessment was conducted by Andrew Welling – a Tasmanian Environmentalist.
- 9. “Developers were unaware this development backed onto the Ralph’s Bay conservation area.”
- We are aware of Ralph’s Bay conservation area. Any impact on this Marine Protected Area as with the rest of the shoreline, (which will become Council property as the neighborhoods are developed), will be given the proper attention during detailed planning of neighbourhoods 4, 5 and 6.
- 10. “Proposal fails to include any sporting fields”.
- This is not correct. The masterplan reserves land for smaller sport fields such as tennis courts. Additionally, land is also allocated for playgrounds in each neighbourhood that would be large enough for some sporting practice, e.g. setting up a soccer net. However, there is insufficient reasonably level ground to accommodate a full size sports field without encroaching on the upper levels that are proposed to be preserved as a parkland.
- 11. “Fails to address concerns raised by the limited consultation in regard to over-the-hill connector.”
- The consultation so far has not been limited and it included a 6-day charrette (planning workshop) in which community members were invited at multiple events to provide feedback as the master plan was developed. The consultation will continue as required by Council.
- While we understand the concerns raised by the Norla Street residents, we explored other possible connections which were shown during the charrette. The Norla Street one was the preferred option after the charrette, but it is by no means assured. If ultimately included in the final design, it is the Carr’s intention to make the connecting street narrow, treelined and as unobtrusive as feasible.
- While the Carr family are recommending the connector for added robustness of the street network within Skylands, it is not a critical part of the masterplan.
- 12. “One small school identified in the plan which does not contain a sporting oval”.
- The Education Department currently believes there is an excess of school capacity at this time. Should this change, the Skylands Plan will need to be modified. Recently, nearby land that had been reserved for a school was disposed of by the Education Department.
- Several small private schools are envisaged, and they will be located in prominent areas reserved at the neighbourhood centres where they can be visible and highly accessible.
- Additionally, there is currently a shortage of day care centers, as determined in the Residential and Commercial analysis conducted by Macroplan. As a result, many were included in each neighborhood to address this shortage.
- 13. “Community consultation consisted of a small number of live web sessions at inconvenient times that suited the US based developers”.
- When the Carr family hired DPZ CoDesign (DPZ) to plan the Skylands site in late 2019, it was with the firm intention to conduct an in-person public multi-day workshop where the many designers could have directly interacted with the community. COVID-19 unfortunately changed those plans when DPZ was not permitted to travel to Australia. Instead, DPZ spent time developing a project website and organizing the virtual multi-day workshop (Charrette).
- This charrette included focused topical meetings, live design sessions and presentations. The design team worked late into the night to accommodate the time difference.
- Many community members attended the charrette and provided feedback. For those who were unable to attend, all sessions were recorded and made available to the public that day for viewing at a more convenient time. Community members were made aware of the project website and encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions. During the presentations, community members were able to have questions asked and answered in real time.
- Additionally, the Carr family hired a facilitator to help publicize the charrette ahead of time.
- Before the charrette, DPZ interviewed at least 10 different stakeholders to get their feedback and ideas for the design of the project site. This included the State of Tasmania planners, bike advocates, community wellbeing advocates, TAS water, etc. Additionally, DPZ benefited from all of the interviews that had been conducted by Niche Consultants in their development of a Structure Plan for the peninsular.
- DPZ is a US based firm that has a global reputation for designing, advocating and assisting with the implementation of sustainable communities. They are not developers. They have been hired by the Carr family under a professional services contract.
- 14. “Web sessions were not broadly publicized and had an attendance of a maximum of 20 to 30 people, including the owners of the site.”
- It is unfortunate if some in the community were not aware of the web sessions however schedule information was put on both the Council and Skylands websites. While we would have welcomed additional attendees, we were pleased with the attendance, with the questions asked, and with the feedback we received. Overall, participation was encouraging, and the project website received hundreds of comments and suggestions.
- 15. “Feedback that was provided was overlooked and not taken into account for the final proposed plan”.
- While not all comments received were incorporated, for those who attended the charrette, and for those who listened to all the taped sessions, it should be clear that the vast majority of comments received were incorporated into the many master plan iterations. When comments were not built into the master plan, the designers took the time to explain the reasons why. We are confident that the master plan does take into account the feedback received to date. There will be other opportunities to provide feedback.