Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Hobart’s unleavened lumps

SPLASHED on the front page of The Mercury yesterday (October 11) is the revelation by Charles Waterhouse of a huge, 11-storey development in the Hobart CBD. A $40 million hotel and apartment complex proposed by Doherty Hotels after six months of talks with the Hobart City Council and the Tasmanian Heritage Council , and supporting documentation which says the proposal complies with the use, height and siting provisions of the City of Hobart Planning Scheme.

The story sent a shiver down my spine. There are already huge, great ugly buildings in the CBD and, judging by the artist’s impression, this would be another one.

Public objections closed at 5.15pm yesterday (October 11) and at 4.10pm, I hastily lodged a protest : “As a citizen of Hobart, I object to the proposed development because it appears it would be yet another blot on the horizon, without architectural, historical or aesthetic merit.”

Why is it that developers, the Council and the State Government work against the very things that make Hobart special? It’s not that I object to contemporary buildings, quite the contrary. Nor am I against major projects. But I do object to the unleavened lumps that so often disgrace our city. If this monstrosity was on the waterfront, there would be an outcry. But it’s in the CBD and our poor, beleaguered citizens are weary …

Subsumed by the almighty dollar

The pursuit of excellence in design and purpose is subsumed too oft by the almighty dollar. The result? Developments, often on key sites, which do not add anything to the cultural heritage and character of these sites and nothing to the enhancement of Hobart — but they do comply with planning schemes and regulations.

The Hobart City Council should be at the forefront of town planning. Instead, it appears to process development applications.

Strangely, it can approve Zero Davey, at the entrance to the city, yet it can shilly-shally for years over public access to the foreshore. Architectural design aside, Zero Davey might spoil the alignment of buildings in Hunter Street, but the city fathers and mothers used a discretionary clause in the planning scheme to allow the building to exceed the permitted height by 5.5 metres — roughly, one and a half storeys.

But back to the foreshore, or more particularly, the Battery Point foreshore.

I live in Battery Point and have always said that a simple walking track was my preferred option, which I said at the public forum for candidates hosted by the Battery Point Sullivans Cove Community Association last week. The Association, however, seems to have its head in the sand — if not following in the footsteps of Custer’s last stand — on this issue. I have had enough and yesterday resigned from the Association (and yes, I have the receipt for my current membership,
despite whispers to the contrary).

If the Council shilly shallies, the Association obstructs.

A walking track was what I wanted. But I am sick of the obfuscation. That’s right! The stony wall of silence on the issue, with
behind-the-scenes moves to stonewall anything at all happening. Guy Parsons, in his comment on this website, criticises me for treading “too softly,” particularly after my “great series of articles on the difficulties, for the public, of treading (however softly) the southern foreshores of the city.”

I’ve walked on: I support a boardwalk as the way to go.

There is one more public forum on what the candidates have to say. It’s hosted by West Hobart Neighbourhood Watch, at the Lawrenny Court Meeting Hall, 131 Hill Street, today (Wednesday October 12th) at 8pm. I urge all readers to attend — to size up candidates for themselves.

Margaretta Pos is a candidate in the Hobart City Council election. Written and authorised by Margaretta Pos, 13 Crelin St, Battery Point, 7004.

For sure, Mr White

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  1. john latham

    January 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Nothing’s changed ay!!

  2. Debox

    October 13, 2005 at 2:55 am

    That’s the quandary of our sullied nature. We’re not as pure as driven snow. That’s the culture that spoils our culture; the politics we deserve, the truth of what our cities and towns say about us.

    I think you’ll find that it’s the Minister for Local Government who oversees the absence of most qualitative evaluations from the province of local councils. This is where the State is telling the Local. The Grassroots of Locale, from whence culture is nourished, has little real say about their architectural culture through the approval process.

    It’s not a Federal matter yet, but it’s not all where it belongs either; with the residents of the town. And to be fair, it’s not easy to get a design that satisfies the spender, the renter, the urban plan, the natural and cultural heritage evaluations, the ecosystem, the neighbours and the obtuse critic. Sure there’s plenty of bad in the people. That’s why there’s bad in the buildings. Where do we turn? To understanding.


  3. JK

    October 12, 2005 at 9:06 am

    Ditto for Launceston Council and its ready acceptance of any development no matter the architectural merits or not.

    It is unfortunate that nominations for council and mayors don’t have to publish a factural CV of themselves.

    Councils are not very selective in developments if they are full of real estate agents, brokers, lawyers and accountants.

    Why does it seem some councilors are always clammering after developers? Because they will probably gain financially from it or some dodgy deal in the future. It has all happened before across Australia.

  4. Debox

    October 12, 2005 at 7:12 am


    If it wasn’t for the beauty of the lines demanded by gravity, the reflection of our almighty light and our knowledge of its habitation by palatable people, such a building would be utterly barren.

    Like our average mavericks, plain.

    Many an artist would envisage moulding the lump or glazing it, aggregating it, contemporising it, glamorising, depragmatising and generously visually celebrating its use and the terrific original landscape displaced by its own profile and the profiles of that which has gone before it.

    Such opportunity screams out loud and hard at the poet, artist, lay visionary and other itinerate creams of culture and/or creams of original lands. It screams out at the urban character planners and the architects too. Such opportunity to enhance a plain canvas presents also the economic equation. It presents public taste in politics. Like fools we get together in our cosmic fantastic land. We come up with something quaint or plain or maybe something that rings bells.

    If we can keep out the bad, we can live with the occasional ugly; like misunderstood people in a crowd. Altogether an overall character is agglutinated. We fight for better than plain lumps. We get the politics we deserve, and the politicians. We’re all different, but the mediocrity wins best security. This particular lump is an okay beginning. It’s not 15 storeys high but skinny. It’s better looking than coup. We’re doing okay but bloody hell let’s get some dynamics in here.

    If the Council, as it has done, can say no to one artwork in front of a building but approve another, why can’t it say no to the artwork of the building?

    In some places plain is best. If ambulant people are able to walk reasonably safely with access eased by nothing more than rearranged river rocks, let the Battery Point shore walk be as plain as that; so as to maximise the nurture of the wild natural estuary edifice that laps near the heart of the pretty city and at the toenails of the natural mountain/hills edifice.

    Our own urban smites sit in there, ingrowing many of our own and blinding them with dead air, plastic, stunned minds, fluorescent lights and boring plain expressions of economic priority.


    Monte John Latham _ Debox

  5. (Ald) Jeff Briscoe Lord Mayor candidate

    October 12, 2005 at 3:35 am

    Margetta – you have done it again.

    Well done.

    You have hit the nail on the head. It highlights what type of new decision makers are needed on the Council – persons who think clearly and articulate what many in the community wish to happen.

    Hobart, the capital city, should be the leader in planning and design. We need to respect the built heritage. We need to make sure the design of big projects is totally sensitive to what already exists.

    Only 49% of Hobart residents voted last time. It’s never more important than now to exercise your rights and vote. Let’s … get those votes in!

    But more importantly let’s work together to “make Hobart Happen” and at least elect Margaretta Pos as an alderman and consider me for Lord Mayor.

    This comment is authorised by Jeff Briscoe, 318 Liverpool St, Hobart.

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