GREG CLAUSEN
Inspired by the documentary, “The Age of Stupid” that showed at the State Cinema recently, some concerned citizens have decided to question the justification for constructing the Kingston Bypass.

In the run-up to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, we’ll be swamped by politicians of all colours (except Barnaby Joyce) trying to convince us that they are greener than tree frogs. Let’s hear what they have to say about the Kingston Bypass.

Liam Correy, convener of Healthy Transport Hobart (Your Voice, Mercury 24 August) notes that the price tag for the Kingston Bypass is $40m. That is an unhealthy waste of money, so I have lodged an objection to the Development Application which closed for comment on Tuesday 25 August 2009.

There has never been a climate impact statement for the Kingston Bypass project. Alternative proposals were never costed because a investigation report was never made available for detailed analysis. The independent traffic consultant who sat on the Kingston and Environs Transport (KETS) Committee never had the opportunity to comment on traffic alternatives. In the run-up to the 2006 State election, the politicians got hold of the glamour of spending other people’s money and the rest is history. I was a member of Kingborough Council staff on the KETS Committee during 2005.

Those were the days before the concerns of climate scientists filtered into the media, held in check by fear of putting their careers in jeopardy if they stepped outside the official line of the Howard Government.

The Kingston Bypass will not help long-suffering Kingborough commuters get to Hobart any sooner. The Hobart end is at choking capacity and if traffic growth continues unchecked as projected in 2005 then we are in deep climate trouble.

Over the years, the Kingston Bypass project has had a lukewarm reception from government because the economic merit has never been there. The fundamental distress for Kingborough commuters is that public commuter transport is a dog. Unfortunately, the Kingston Bypass caught a ride on the Fiscal Stimulus Elevator and now we are looking down the barrel of $40m+ investment in Kingborough car culture at a time in history when we ought to be planning alternatives.

Funny thing about the FS Elevator is that it shot through the roof and now we’re all wondering how to get it down. But, who’s got the courage to proclaim that the Kingston Bypass is a climate nasty that Kingborough does not need? Rather, commuters would be better off with a convenient and dependable park and ride transport alternative together with improvements to Summerleas Road roundabout and Channel Highway between the roundabouts. A park and ride is not part of the $40m.

The Tasmanian Environmental Protection Authority is a gummy shark on climate matters because there is no climate impact assessment protocol. All political colours have been strangely silent on this project but how will the good citizens of Kingborough sleep at night during the Copenhagen Climate Summit and beyond?

Try and catch “The Age of Stupid” some time. It may be us who they are talking about. Send an email to StupidKingstonBypass@gmail.com for more info.

Greg Clausen

Fern Tree