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

Economy

Knowledge is power …

• Knowledge is power

Once the motto of one of my old State schools, and it shows the level of schooling at that time that only recently I found it to be a tenet of that indefatigable questioner of authority, Father Francis Bacon.

That’s not to say that my State school teachers didn’t try to instil the idea of questioning authority – it was the seventies and eighties in Tasmania, after all. Well I remember Mr Moore coming into the Fourth Grade and waving his arms about over Lake Pedder and the seeming lack of public concern over Hydro flooding the Lake at the Town Hall meeting the night before.

Well I also remember Mr Price reading us Animal Farm and then dropping into the conversation comments about the Spanish Civil War. A hotbed of ALP and Socialist membership amongst the teachers in the old Rosetta Primary school, for sure.

By the time we all got to high school, we still had some teachers who raised a little consciousness on apartheid and environmental issues in the Social Studies unit and were a little more than shocked to see me reading up on Marx and Lenin (“Know your enemy”, I told them, a child of the Cold War and refugee parent exiled by Soviet Communism.)

However the majority concentrated more on passing on the understanding that the more knowledge each of us had, the more power we would have to pass the State-set rote exams to a sufficient State points level to go to the next level of permitted questioning (Years 11 and 12).

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• Politics, as does Nature, abhors a vacuum

After the dust of the talking tour around Tasmania’s Councils has long settled, after each Council has gone into committee to talk it over, it appears the Minister’s desires for wholesale amalgamation may have to go unappeased if local reporting of Council decisions across the State is considered any reasonable evidence.

So it begs the question of how what appeared to be a straightforward policy process has skewed off the path local government was expected to follow?

Some Councils are willing to entertain each chipping in up to $50,000 of ratepayer’s money for Treasury-chosen consultants to explore some of the possibilities around amalgamation. Note that such support has been hinged around with all sorts of caveats on top of the Minister’s expressed four aims. And that’s not to say the votes were unanimous in those Councils either. A number of Mayors pointed out there needed to be some agreed guiding principles and outcomes before actually entering into any consultancy process. So here’s the Minister expecting consultancies to commence according to his timeframe, and that timeframe already looks like being derailed.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Robin Charles Halton

    May 14, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Council has been very evasive about the free finance it has or is still intended for Myer and or Kalis.

    When approached by the media, former Mayor Thomas, shortly before he lost control of his mayoral position he was evasive and he did not want to discuss it publicly for legal reasons.

    So the matter remains with the legal eagles and is tightly bonded against public disclosure on how the monies put aside by council to “gamble or invest in CBD renewal” in the case of Myer as trading conditions have changed downwards since in the CBD to justify another major retailer.

    My personal observations are there are ample smaller retailers that have set up in the city that retail more than enough of what Myer could actually offer.

    The Bathroom and Kitchen Shop in Collins St is a fine example.

    The State government has already provided $7m financial gift, so how much in total did Mr Thomas provide of ratepayer money or did council raise a loan for the same.

  2. Robin Charles Halton

    May 14, 2015 at 12:54 am

    #7 Eva thanks for your reply but I fail to fully understand your leading sentence, I sense a hint of double meaning!
    Do I understand that the council have approved BPW and it is now a matter of whether or not council will need to raise a loan, use ratepayer money or wait for Federal funding.
    Regardless the project will go ahead once funding clearance is in tow, yes or no!
    We do appear to have something in common, neither of us support the project.

    re Crown Plaza, I appreciate your concerns the media failed to report the shading issue over the revamped Cat and Fiddle Arcade.
    Of cause there remains an element of investment risk for Kalis as I believe they are dependent on a Singapore accomodation/hotel investment group to furnish and occupy the building once it is finished!

    I too have reservations about Myer in Hobart, I hope that the council is not expected to the tune of $3.5M to prop up the enterprise if it fails to self finance furnishing its retail centre.
    It it true this was agreed by council when rebel Mayor Damon Thomas went overboard splashing our money around on predictions of CBD renewal three years ago.

    How does council actually provide the finance or is this tied up with secrecy for legal reasons from the public that I believe former Mayor indicated to the media before he got shafted.

  3. Alderman Eva Ruzicka

    May 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Dear Mr Troise?
    Bridge opening? I know there was a suggestion of a ramp where the BPW crosses a jetty with gates either side. What bridge opening are you talking about? Is this something that has been developed as part of the Tribunal proceedings? The question then is whether it is a substantial change to the design.
    I’ll have to ask some questions.
    Kind regards,
    Alderman Ruzicka.

  4. Alderman Eva Ruzicka

    May 12, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Dear Messrs Halton and Troise,
    Firstly, the BPW – what makes you think various of the Aldermen will not move to ensure the ratepayers of Hobart pay for all of it? There has been no indication of success with Federal funds to date, and if they are not forthcoming, expect HCC to raise a loan and/or expend rates that could be more useful elsewhere (in my humble opinion).
    Secondly, the Myer building. To quote the report: there would be some additional winter overshadowing of the Cat and Fiddle
    Arcade site, particularly during afternoons. There would be some increase in morning to
    middle of the day overshadowing of Liverpool and Murray Streets during the balance of the
    year. The closest part of the hotel tower would be set back around 12 metres from Cat and
    Fiddle Square which has a glazed roof. There would be afternoon overshadowing of the
    Square at all times of the year under the previously approved proposal.
    Failed the CBD? All that money spent on opening up Cat and Fiddle to natural light and now what, less amenity for the driver of the CBD, retail. Reconstruction of Cat&Fiddle; Arcade has enticed more people into the CBD to spend because it got rid of the gloomy character.
    In Tasmania, sunlight makes the difference to our positive and negative behaviours.
    Time will tell and no doubt all sorts of other factors will muddy the outcomes.
    The other issue, of Myer’s viability – I too share very strong reservations we’ll have a Myer in Hobart after the results of Myer’s strategic review due to be concluded in November, and if we do, will it last beyond the economic subsidies of the current project.
    Finally, two questions to ask, when people say development brings jobs. Does the money spend and income earned stay in the State? Is the employment created meaningful and satisfying in meeting the workers and their families needs? Goodness I know that sounds a little leftist, but that is not where I’m coming from in this debate.
    And if you’re wondering why my vote changed from committee to Council, how a person votes at committee is not always representative of what happens a week later after some deeper consideration and reflective debate at Council.
    Kind regards,
    Alderman Ruzicka

  5. Robin Charles Halton

    May 12, 2015 at 7:43 am

    #5 James Troise, Those in council who supported BPW project were to be seen as cool and trendy aldermen!

    Jeff Briscoe is essentialy holding the BPW baby at his expense as never making it as a Deputy Mayor. In fact he might eventually be shafted at council elections if he continues to disfigure his reputation by pushing impracticable engineering boundaries of the BPW.

    Council has learnt nothing and has continued to waste money promoting nonsense just to prove to adjoining landowners that they dont own the waterfront.

    Scrap the stupidity now as there are priorities where scarcer Federal funding will be required to improve recreational facilites for Hobartians.

    In the long run I would doubt if the new and wised up Mayoress of Hobart would want to continue along with Jeff’s BPW bun fight, other aldermen should consider the same.

    Mayoress Hickey recently indicated support for an aerial cycleway/walkway across the Tasman Highway linking the Cenotaph and the Domain as a WWI Commemoration project, with Federal funding it could realise as being a straight foward project worthy of further consideration.

  6. James Troisee

    May 11, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Thanks Eva

    $3-4million made up off

    – $1.5million legal and experts cost at tribunal hearing (5 lawyers for council and 13 so called expert witnesses ) x 8 days

    – $800k for compensation for reducing two residents low water mark titles

    – cost of council staff and experts in the design and lodgment of DA multiple times due to council stuff ups $???

    Were you aware of the bridge opening in Stage 1 when you voted on this project or was this created after the DA was voted on. Briscoe has publicly stated there would be no opening in stage 1 But know council has plans of it?

  7. Robin Charles Halton

    May 11, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Eva, I am afraid that you flunked on behalf of CBD business at the council meeting the other night by not voting for the extra two floors to be added to the Myer building.
    But you were not alone, Anna Reynolds, Suzy Cooper and Phil Cocker did likewise.

    I would strongly suggest that the hotel and accommodation aspect for the Myer building will be successful now that Hobart has a strong visitation profile as does Ttasmania.

    I think the council and the general public remain in some doubt about the extent of the success of the Myer retail component at Liverpool Street level.

    Based on the nifty design of the building it should be attractive to the eye, far better than a number of horrid square glassed boxes of varying vintages dotted around the CBD.

    I tend to agree with Mayoress Hickey who seems to be inspiring both ratepayer and business confidence by having a flexible approach with leading her team in a new direction.

    Previously HCC has been dogged with problems through lack of strong leadership and lack of clarity especially under previous Mayor Damon Thomas who was always running around in tangents making a big man of himself and to a lesser degree with Rob Valentine when he was Mayor who was obsessed with findings of the Jan Gehl report.

    Anyway it good to see aldermen who remain confident in amplifying business to boost the CBD.

  8. TV Resident

    May 11, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Since council are no longer responsible for our water, can you explain why Launceston council rates have skyrocketed higher than they ever were when they had water as well???? I wonder if other councils are doing the same and fleecing ratepayers so that the GMs can fund their favoured mates.

  9. Alderman Eva Ruzicka

    May 10, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Dear Mr Troisee,

    I’d love to see the the total figures in the public arena, however there was a quantity of legal action that ended up being pointless, and it was dealt with in the Closed, as per the Local Government Act, so I as an elected person can’t talk about that. Perhaps an RTI could winkle it out?

    The Development and Environment Service committee dealt with the DA last year and if you read that, it becomes apparent the cost of consultancies is again pretty interesting. Perhaps that would make a good question in Council’s public question time?

    As perhaps the cost of the current Tribunal hearings although that is ongoing so may have wait for the RTI on that. I’d be interested to find out now you’ve arrived at $4M. And then there will be the actual construction costs, currently being pushed around at $8M, although some hasten to say that will be the total cost of all three stages contribution.

    Kind regards,

    Alderman Ruzicka

  10. James Troisee

    May 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Eva can you reveal to the public what the total $$ spent on the Battery Point walkway development has been to date? Would $4 million be close?

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