Tasmanian Times


Waterfront: the big guns

Margaretta Pos

THE BIG guns are lined up in the battle over public access to the Hobart waterfront, with a former Governor of Tasmania and Chief Justice, Sir Guy Green, taking action in the Supreme Court in Hobart against the Hobart City Council. Sir Guy is seeking compensation for a strip of land compulsorily acquired by the Council.

Sir Guy lodged an application for compensation in the Supreme Court on Friday, under the Land Acquisition Act 1993. The application was lodged on his behalf by law firm Toomey Maning and Co. It was also lodged on behalf of Ken Hosking and Patricia Hosking, for an adjacent waterfront property.

The Greens live in a waterfront property in Battery Point with a rare title to the low water mark. The Hosking property also has a title to the low water mark.

After protracted negotiations stalled, the Hobart City Council last month compulsorily acquired the rock shelf between the high and low water marks to facilitate public access to the foreshore.

Sir Guy and the Hoskings wanted a total of $720,000. The Hobart City Council, under Lord Mayor Rob Valentine, allocated a total of $80,000. The final compensation for acquisition has not been revealed.

Sir Guy, AC, KBG, CVO, was Chief Justrice of Tasmania from 1973 to 1995, Governor of Tasmania from 1995 to 2003., and Administrator of the Commonwealth in 2003 when the office of Governor General was vacant. He has been President of the Tasmanian Bar Association, Chancellor of the University of Tasmania and Chancellor of St John Ambulance Australia.

Sir Guy is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Chairman of the Board of Tasmania’s Ten Days on the Island cultural festival, a Board member of the Menzies Foundation, chairman of the steering committee of the International Antarctic Institute, Honorary Antarctic Ambassador for Tasmania and Honorary Professor in the Antarctic Ecosytstems Co-operative Research Centre.

Dr Hosking, an engineer, is president of the Battery Point Sullivans Cove Community Association and vice chairman of Friends of the Foreshore. The committees of both groups are predominantly waterfront residents, and oppose a built walkway along the foreshore of the historic, inner city suburb.

Sir Guy and the Hoskings have chosen to apply under Section 42 1 D of the Act, for a court determination of their entitlement to compensation. Because Sir Guy is a former Chief Justice of Tasmania, the case will have to be heard by a judge from interstate.

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  1. John Herbert

    June 14, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    From a reasonable point of view there is no argument for this proposal. There are better things to do. However, it seems this has scarcely been a priority fo the HCC or its Aldermen. Go and buy another hill for six million and stick a plaque on it.

  2. Margaretta Pos

    June 13, 2007 at 2:42 am


    When I said I take note of postings that bear the names of the authors, I should have said I take notice of reasonable argument, regardless of whether it’s critical of me.Obviously, many correspondents use pseudonyms, so my original comment doesn’t hold.

  3. John Herbert

    June 11, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    It is reassuring to learn someone is listening Margeretta. Let me reitereate my position. The walkway is a seriously flawed idea.

    Not because it compromises the most desireable real estate in Tasmania and not because it will become a litter trap and hang out place for yobs et al of a night time and not because it drags people away from the charming streets of Battery Point where they can take in the place and spend money in local businesses.

    It is because the foreshore from where the proposed track leaves requires the time and money that will otherwise be spent on this ultimately fruitless operation

    If the Princess wharf shed number one were to be demolished it would add significantly to the Salamanca area.

    The cleared space could have purpose built marquees that can be put up during the taste of Tasmania. When not in use there could be basket ball courts, skate board bowl, chess boards, table tennis tables, cafes, flowerstands and the sorts of things that people do in civilised places. Something that may be the difference between peoples children leaving this place when they are able.

    The city of Hobart needs to work on its city and make it a hub of activity. Not on walkways out of the place and sloping parklands out of town that would be easily developed appropriately with a bit of forethought.

    One is left wondering when some mature proposals will come out of the ol’ HCC.

  4. Margaretta Pos

    June 9, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    To set the record straight ….

    I have campaigned for greater public access to the foreshore. I have not campaigned for a built walkway. Some want it, some don’t. I don’t intend to enter the ring on this issue.

    Compulsory acquisition is always ugly and I think anyone who has property subject to such action, is perfectly entitled to reasonable compensation. What is reasonable, however, is open to question.

    Lastly, I have not been swayed by anonymous poison pen letters, anonymous postings on this website, or the personal rudeness of some Battery Point residents. I do, however, take note of postings that bear the names of the authors.

  5. Andy O'Brien

    June 8, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Jeez Margaretta,you forget that a man’s foreshore is his castle, and castles sometimes were surrounded by moats to keep out undesirables.
    However,despite the thoughtful musings of posters 567&8,most moats today have become tourist attractions,and the long dead castle dwellers were either defeated,bought out,or just mercifully disappeared off history’s pages!
    Andy O’Brien.

  6. Honest Broker

    June 7, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Why is it that Margaretta Pos seems to want to personalise the simple issue of a landowner seeking a return of costs incurred as a result of the Council wishing to acquire his land? If Margaretta found herself in the position of having to seek legal, surveying and valuation costs as a result of the council wanting her land, surely she would expect to be treated fairly, reimbursed for any costs she might acquire and left no worse off than before?

    Why then exaggerate this action to recover costs into some sort of show down? Is it political motivation, attention seeking or is she merely acting as the mouthpiece for those in council who are desperate to deflect attention from their inept handling of the acquisition negotiations?

    It is interesting that the phraseology used by Margaretta at times closely resembles that of a certain alderman who likes to use the walkway proposal to gain personal publicity. Coincidence perhaps…..

  7. Realist

    June 6, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    At last, another realist – John Herbert is correct, why waste money on a walk to nowhere?

    The principal driver of the walkway/promenade/bike track appears to be Jeff Briscoe. This same Mr Briscoe claims to be interested in affordable housing. Now, if HCC placed the costs of the recent land acquisition (maybe $1M, who knows?) plus the likely costs of the structure (maybe a further $5M to $10M into a fund for providing accommodation for the homeless and disadvantaged, it could leverage this seed capital to gain support from the State & Federal Governments plus industry and commerce, to turn it into fund large enough to make a huge and permanent impact on the plight of the homeless and disadvantaged in Hobart.

    But, to be realistic, this would take a level of business acumen, of which there is precious little evidence amongst the HCC aldermen, especially amongst the development lobby who have outvoted their more sensible colleagues in the drive to build a walkway at all costs.

    Realistic ratepayers will have their chance to make their point at the forthcoming election – to elect those who will waste their constituents’ money to build monuments to aldermanic vanity or to spend the money where it is most needed in the community.

  8. John Herbert

    June 6, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    This walk is a stupid idea that resonates with people who want to walk around Hobart like it is a glorified museum looking where the old whalers used to sail. If people need this for enrichment of their lives then their lives cannot be enriched by definition.

    Another dumb idea by some idiot on the council. When will it stop?

    Now its morphing into collective tall poppy syndrome. Petty squabbling over small minded ideas, mmm, must be the Hobart city council.

    Ditch the shed where the Taste is held, open up the waterfront, the money will be the same and – you know what: people can still walk to Marieville Esplanade. IS there anyone with brains in that Building??

  9. Ken hosking

    June 6, 2007 at 2:44 am

    The article written by Margaretta Pos has a substantial number of errors of fact.

    Firstly, the court action she describes has nothing to do with access to the Battery Point foreshore. Neither does the action relate to the compensation for land compulsorily acquired by Hobart City Council. Rather the action relates to claims for legal and other costs resulting from the issuing, by Hobart City Council, of an invalid notice-to-treat, followed by the lapsing of this notice late last year.

    Second, the titles in question do not extend to the low water mark or to any point defined by tidal movements, but to specific surveyed points.

    Third, titles which extend beyond the high water mark are not particularly rare in Tasmania, and there are even examples of titles that are completely submerged at all levels of the tide.

    Fourth, it is totally inappropriate to enter into speculation regarding the asking and offered prices for the acquired land whilst a negotiated settlement remains a possibility.

    Fifth, there has been no compensation paid or committed to the owners whatsoever.

    Sixth, I am not the Vice President of the Friends of the Foreshore.

    Seventh, the committee of the Battery Point Sullivans Cove Community Association is not predominately comprised of waterfront residents.

    Eighth, it is not up to Margaretta Pos or anyone else outside of the court system to decide whether the court action will have to be heard by a judge from interstate: this is up to the courts to determine.

    Eight errors in one article are far too many and indicate a need for much more diligent research prior to publication.

  10. Ken White

    June 5, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Guy Green and next door having filed a whatever in the court against the Hobart City Council acquiring their land have surely ratched the stakes up a notch or two.

    On the face of what I read, me thinks, the former Governor Guy will be bringing some wraith down around or over his head.

    Shows he is in a corner when, as before, he was content to let others bat for him. One has to ask the question why would he want to sally his image when, having been there, done that, he only has a few short years to go.

    It’s like Don Bradman bullying the umpire in his last test match.

  11. John Biggs

    June 5, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    For one who has both contributed to, and benefited mightily from, service to the public, I would hope Sir Guy would show a little more generosity to the public than he is showing in this tawdry affair.

  12. Low Carl

    June 5, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    This should be a good watch. An interesting blend of private and public interests. The discussions themselves can’t hurt the status quo on the foreshore. But the players may be ruffled here and there. As far as the foreshore is concerned, or rather access therethrough, being the crux of this thing, the viability looks to be about to be thoroughly tested. The crux of this thing though may trully be the matter of I me mine and social power, if I recall the beginnings; in which case the players will hopefully all be uplifted by our wonderfully errudite legal understandings and the ‘cosmic’ beings who convey them.


  13. Mark

    June 5, 2007 at 1:13 am

    Justice becomes clear when viewed from one’s own perspective…shame about the neighbours in the Good Neighbours’ Agreement.

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