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


The Liberals Plan to Flog off Taroona’s School Bushland



Flogging off more of the family silver to developers!

With no community engagement, The Liberal government has submitted a subdivision proposal to Kingborough Council for the residential development of a 9 lot land parcel within the Taroona School bushland precinct.

This is public land used by the Taroona community for recreation, and as an outdoor classroom and educational resource for the students of Taroona Primary and High Schools.

The community has used this area as a public reserve for many decades since the school’s development.

This diverse open-woodland area provides important habitat for native flora and fauna, including foraging ground for the endangered swift parrot. The area also provides recreational and open-space connection to the Derwent River foreshore.

This development subdivision is based on revenue, mostly likely to be sold to a single developer already in the wind for some prime land access.

Note how Lot 9 is continuous to the coastline, thus isolating the remaining bushland from the adjacent school ground with no allocated legal right of way.

The development application was declared in public notices posted recently on the land and in Mercury newspaper sometime before 2016.

This possibly means that the application is not subject to the new planning scheme criteria.

Written submissions to the Kingborough Council must be lodged by December 9th

*Ted Mead has been an intermittent resident of Taroona for over a decade. Ted claims one of the greatest aspects of the suburb is the native bushland, particularly the grand coastal Blue Gums that provide a welcome refuge for both humans and wildlife.

• Phillip Lowe (UK) in Comments: I remember this land around the Taroona School and a very nice place it is to walk. It does seem sad to contemplate residential housing on this community social space. What is even sadder is the picture that your commentating readers paint of Tasmanian politicians and establishment authority in general. What kind of confidence would this give to anybody who was thinking of moving to Tasmania?

Jeremy Rockliff: Halt to Taroona High School subdivision



  1. john hayward

    December 5, 2016 at 9:09 am

    As they have demonstrated with coal and refugee jails, the Libs firmly believe that an election victory is a mandate to plunk all public resources into their pork barrel.

    Whatever doggerel they may employ in their electoral marketing, they govern in the sort of prose you find in traffic signs.

    John Hayward

  2. Pete Godfrey

    December 5, 2016 at 9:29 am

    People in positions of power don’t seem to understand that humans need open spaces.

    We need places to relax, wind down and just be.

    Towns with nothing but houses stacked up against each other, just don’t do it.

    It looks to me that the fools that will be buying lots 1 to 8 will be living with a huge amount of traffic noise, air pollution and not much in the way of peace.

    I guess the best outcome would be that no one bought the blocks.

  3. Chris

    December 5, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Show us yer donation accounts and which developing individuals have contributed to yer Erica Betz regime.
    Oh fer an ICAC


  4. TGC

    December 5, 2016 at 10:39 am

    #1 CROSS Children WALK: CHEERFUL Children RIDE.

  5. TGC

    December 5, 2016 at 10:51 am

    #1 If only those countries from which refugees ‘flee’ could become countries from which there was no desire/need to flee- that way more Australians would stay here and see no need to travel overseas.
    As for coal mines- it is now well demonstrated we don’t need the energy – so long as we are prepared to compromise our standard of living- which we are- (although noting last Sunday 12- that’s TWELVE- large 4Wheel drive ‘giants of the road’ passed my front gate -one after t’other (not in convoy, just .modern families going for a drive)- a few towing boats (ships?)

  6. Rob Dalton

    December 5, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I think that is in the confirmd landslip area.

  7. Ted Mead

    December 5, 2016 at 11:40 am

    One wonders if this development proposal is spruiked up to assist their charitable cronies, or merely a revenue raiser to help ease the mega debts of Forestry, Hydro and Tas Racing!!!!

  8. Ted Mead

    December 5, 2016 at 11:46 am

    # 6 It appears that most of Taroona’s sloped area is susceptible to land slippage. The best way to exacerbate that is to remove the large trees.

  9. TGC

    December 5, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Most obvious of all: neighbouring residents- plus others- club together to buy the land.
    Some recent statistics suggest Taroona has a fairly high ‘economy’ rating.

  10. Carol Rea

    December 5, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I have just visited Kingborough Council to view the details of the Development Application.
    It was submitted in March 2015. The reports on fire hazards and environmental values were submitted April and May 2015. Why has it been sat on for so long?

    It would never pass the new Planning Scheme as it would not be zoned residential

    Apparently the $$ from the sale have been promised to the school. There are a high percentage of Taroona students who come from elsewhere. Parents and staff in the School Association of the High School are probably won over by this argument.

    Note the steep slope. The flow of water from those blocks goes straight into the river via the stormwater drain. Weed seeds and other contaminants will flow with surface run-off into the woodlands which are classified as having high natural value. The fire hazard rules will require a huge amount of clearing. This will destroy the current natural values and potentially contribute to land slippage and increased run-off.

    This project has all the hallmarks of a sneaky deal just before the holidays when no-one has time to write a submission or view the hard copy of the application.

    Hopefully the Councillors will receive many emails urging caution above expediency.

  11. Robin Charles Halton

    December 5, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    I know the area quiet well, my wife regularly visits the area to photograph the birds.

    There is existing access for a car beside No 14 which is gated but been unlocked and open for the past year or two so one can drive with care downhill to the flat level area (former Archery Club range) above the steep cliffs.

    As far as I know the majority mid eastern portion of the area is geologically unstable, subject to land slips, hence the two levels that have been in the past manicured with a machine, probably a bulldozer to create the existing topography which is acceptable to allow tree growth to continue undisturbed.

    At the absolute worst case scenario, sale for Lots1- 8 goes ahead, Lot 9 must be excluded from development and remain as public land with sufficient public access provided onto Karingal Court between No 14 and proposed Lot 1.

    Good comments Carol, the entire plan for housing development is unacceptable given the unstable geology in the general area which is dependent on vegetation cover to maintain soil stability.

  12. mike seabrook

    December 5, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    public auctions to the highest bidder (solvent) and no crazy secret deferred payment or finance deals

    expect that it has been promised to a crony

    and for the next stunt look for the secretive sale of the lady gowrie site in battery point – corner of runnymede and mcgregor streets – the only 40 metre wide suitable site for a carpark near the salamanca square green

  13. Philip Lowe

    December 6, 2016 at 6:27 am

    I remember this land around the Taroona School and a very nice place it is to walk. It does seem sad to contemplate residential housing on this community social space.

    What is even sadder is the picture that your commentating readers paint of Tasmanian politicians and establishment authority in general.

    What kind of confidence would this give to anybody who was thinking of moving to Tasmania?

  14. TGC

    December 6, 2016 at 8:34 am

    #13 Yes, quite right-please don’t come.

  15. Bernard Lloyd

    December 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I say sell it.

    I am a Taroona resident, I live just above the proposed sub-division. I will be looking at the house roofs, and I say sub-divide it.

    I have walked through the area almost every day for ten years and I still say sub-divide it.

    If everything suggested above by the author were true, I may say different, but much is not so.

    The idea of a sub-division is not new. It has been around for decades. It was mooted in the 1990s(?) and 2000s. This proposal was shown to the high school and was approved by the current School Association. The consultation continues and the community can have their say, publically.

    This land has been in public use for several decades and has an interesting history of public use, but it is NOT public land. It is not Crown Land. It is owned by the Department of Education (Taroona High School) on two titles.

    It is NOT used by either the Primary or Secondary schools as an outdoor classroom. It is infrequently crossed during cross-country running. The Department of Education concluded decades ago that the land was surplus to their requirements, and wrote accordingly. Circumstances may change, but the school retains use of a very large area below the sub division for such purposes.

    It is used for recreation. Dog-walkers and dirt jump-bike riders come to my mind. Dozens of people would cross the block each day. I would also suggest that many of Taroona’s residents have never been on it. But only the two street frontages are proposed to be sub-divided. The bulk is unaffected—and some of that is protected by its own geological instability.

    It is a diverse, open woodland, but its importance as habitat is not known. It is beside a main road. It also has severely degraded portions until recently infested with blackberries and rabbits. Dogs and cats roam the area at night. It is certainly not a safe habitat.

    The sub division would NOT end the access to the Derwent River foreshore, which is approximately 200 metres away.

    The key fact on the revenue is that it will ALL, less sub-division costs, go to Troona High School, to be used in the school. And the High School is a 1950s era school that could use that money for many vital capital improvements.

    Lot 9 is not proposed for housing. It does not contain a path to the coastline, however the plan does show a “Proposed Right of Way” [?]. In any case the coastline can be reached from other multiple, nearby public rights of way.

  16. Ted Mead

    December 6, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    #15 Sub divide it hey Bernard!

    It’s fortunate for us that you are not on the council or in a political position anywhere because such an attitude to diminish bushland is exactly why communities fragment.

    The best use of this land is for it to be set aside for community use. Who knows what lays ahead, and easily accessible areas such as this bushland may be even greatly valued by all in the future.

    You waffle on about it being degraded from cat and dog activity, but that unfortunately is the case with most urban bushland areas everywhere due to irresponsible pet owners.

    Nobody is claiming this bushland area is unique, though it is one of a few remaining coastal woodlands between Long beach and Hinsby beach. Next thing we will hear is that you would advocate the sub division of those to prop up school funding???

    Essentially we are doomed everywhere if we have to flog off bushland to finance our schools.

    Bernard – You claim to be a professional writer, then surely you can produce something more compelling and articulate than your post here!


  17. Philip Lowe

    December 6, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    I am surprised that nobody has ever seen a fox on this land.
    It sounds ideal fox habitat.Could it be that in the ensuing hysteria would there have been too many baits laid for political comfort in view of the number of domestic animals that use this space?TGC,don’t you think that open minded people are neede in Tasmania,or are they an inconvenience?

  18. Robin Charles Halton

    December 7, 2016 at 12:17 am

    #15 Bernard, the wife and I dropped down today, read the development sign at the site , sorry the map is unreadable for all detail.

    A local told us that inside the lane way beside No 14 that leads down to the bottom level, the old archery site, on the mid level of Lot 9 the School wishs to develop a Performing Arts Centre, are you aware of that.

    We noted the dreadful mess below Lots 6,7 & 8 as if a backhoe has been used to quarry out some sort of dirt bike track!

    So if the housing goes ahead E ovatas and E linearis around the roads edges will go to!

    Another observation the area between the school and the treed area Lot 9 below the Church looks like permanaent slip zone where there has been past movement (mud flows) hence I reason the area is unsuitable for construction purposes.

    To maintain future tree cover the steep edges below the Archery site all vegetation and the retention those old growth E globulus near the little creek is essential to maintain a strip of natural environment and ensure soil stability!

    Public access is essential as I would expect in an area frequented by reliable Taroona locals should be maintained and no need for security fences as I presume the area does not attract undesirables, from out of town.

    Why hasnt the School Taroona High been open to the locals about the plan or am I intreperting this article presented by Ted Mead incorrectly!!!!!

  19. Richard Kopf

    December 7, 2016 at 12:38 am

    #15 You are spot on. The land was subdivided in the 90’s and was to be sold with most of the proceeds to help fund improvements to the High School but its was deemed to be a land slip area and the Government of the time chickened out. It became a rubbish dump and probably still is.

  20. Ted Mead

    December 7, 2016 at 11:01 am

    # 18 &19;
    This land is far from pristine, but that”s not what the controversy is about. It’s about community public space, which seems to be multiple use.

    There were some excavation works in recent times, I think as part of the Taroona Sewerage works diversion. I guess they didn’t seem inclined to rehabilitate it.

    Robin – I just walked through last week and found 4 species of Eucalypts, There are some old E.viminalis on these blocks that are holding the earth together. Lots of ovata, linearis/pulchella, and blue gum in the wetter areas. There’s possible even obliqua there but i didn’t look around a lot. That’s a reasonable diversity.

    There are no shortage of exotic grasses, though there has been weed control done by the Taroona Environmental Network over the years.
    And I guess the interpretive vegetation signs were placed through a school project.

    There were some remnant objects from old school projects but not of the rubbish dumps that was referred to by Richard#16

    Obviously the school wants to develop an art unit on one of these levelled blocks which is understandable, and would have broad community support, but it should not come at the cost of the entire bushland area.

    The Libs will be looking for something come the next election to boost their popularity, so maybe the school committee should be lobbying them for such funding?

  21. Bernard Lloyd

    December 7, 2016 at 11:33 am

    To #16

    Ted, I am sure you know that the Education Department has now withdrawn its sub-division application so the question “Is the best use of the land bushland or housing?” is now moot.

    The errors in your article are not. Vagueness combined with cliché, irrelevancies and misinformation do not produce the best results possible.

    So, I was grateful to read your acknowledgement that the bushland is not unique, that there are several coastal bushlands nearby and that marauding pets do have an impact on its habitat value. Your silence on my points—that the land in question is not public land, is surplus to the school’s requirements, is not being used by either school, and that the sub-division does not preclude nearby access to the river—I also take as acknowledgement that your article erred.

    With all that “cleared” we can examine the issue of Doom. It is not in sight, Ted. The sky is not falling in. The school, your house, mine: they all stand because some bush was “flogged off”.

  22. Bernard Lloyd

    December 7, 2016 at 11:59 am

    On #18


    Good maps are so helpful!

    I agree with you about the creek verge and the coastal strip below the archery range, and the issue of landslip is a significant issue in this vicinity of Taroona but neither tree-cover nor landslip is—according to the expert reports—an issue on the proposed sub-division land, which is a considerable distance above the archery range.

    Regarding the loss of the trees on the slopes, we can only speculate. The blocks are big and have flat parts. Would you build on that slope? I wouldn’t. But I can’t say.

    On public access, it is not precluded by the sub division. See map. (Haha)

    The sub-division has been considered for decades. It is no secret. And this version, I believe, complies with all the rules of advertising and process. Some people object. Fair enough. There is a process for resolving that, too.

  23. Ted Mead

    December 7, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Well there may have been some assessment errors on my part, but given the poorly described map that was posted on the land, one can easily interpret what looks like an inappropriate subdivision.

    At the end of the day this article did give rise to community discontent, and so a re-evaluation by the school committee has made the correct decision to withdraw support for the subdivision.

    All up – the result is positive!

    The Taroona school just needs to find another funding source for their arts project, which i am sure is supported by the community.

  24. Carol Rea

    December 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    #22 Bernard – looking at the hard copy detail in Council Chambers the other day it became apparent that clearing the on and around the blocks would be substantial. Each block has to agree to clear vegetation to protect the adjoining blocks from fire hazard. Depending on tree coverage this could mean total clearing from 15 to 40 metres. That’s a large area and there are no exceptions.
    This would not be able to be used as residential under the new planning scheme. I understand it is zoned respite care, aged or other similar purpose.

  25. Ted Mead

    December 7, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Without question I shot from the hip fairly quick on this one. This was because representations or objections to the DA were due in a few days.

    Let me tell you in brief a story that reinforces my cynicism about DA’s being lodged around Christmas time.

    Many years ago I received a notification from the Tasman Council that Telstra had placed a DA for a microwave tower directly above my property. The letter was dated around mid December, yet I didn’t receive it until the 23rd and it claimed responses to the DA closed on the 27th December.

    Of course I smelt a rat, and I immediately contacted the Tasman Council who claimed the letter must have got caught up in the Christmas mail and delayed.

    I then asked the Tasman Council why there was no DA submission included in the notification, as they are obligated to do so. The Tasman Council declared that all they had was a DA application form from Telstra with no project details included beyond a description, and that Telstra were expecting the Tasman council to pass it as a matter in principle at the next general meeting in early January as to streamline the project.

    I then requested a copy of the project specifications, site plan, feasibility study and the environmental impact assessment. The Tasman Council told me to contact Telstra for that information, which I did but was quickly fobbed off, by being told they had no obligation to deal with me.

    I then notified the Tasman Council that the DA was illegal, and subsequently they delayed the vote on the DA until further notice.

    Telstra subsequently refused to answer questions to the Tasman Council, which I had submitted.

    Unfortunately for me I had to spend my entire Christmas break to do research on this project.

    I found out a precedent was set in Victoria in the high court by an individual appellant who defeated Telstra on a relatively similar project.

    It didn’t take me long to convince the Tasman Council to drop this one like a hot spud, pending threats into the Supreme Court.

    Even though the project site was abandoned I did finally get the DA specifics forwarded by the Council, albeit near 3 months later!!!!!! – and ironically it was much smaller than I had anticipated so I may have not even objected to it.

  26. Jaiia Earthschild

    December 8, 2016 at 10:31 am


    Glad you posted this – and apparently it is already off the hook for now…

  27. Bernard Lloyd

    December 8, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    To #25

    Good story, Ted.

    Salutory. You were justified in being—and you are sensible to be—sceptical when considering government, business and land developers. A little cynicism is well in order, too. All proposals lodged in December just smell fishy.

    I also admire your honest responses to me. Not many people acknowledge, let alone publish, that they might have got it wrong. That is not easy.

    Reflecting on it myself, in Taroona terms, proposing eight housing blocks on a parcel of land that has had community use for many years obviously (with hindsight—and clearly with a bit of foresight) should have involved more consultation than the regulation period—especially if you had confidence in your proposal.


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