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


For the love of cement …

*Pic: This is the no-man’s-land behind Magnet Court – a disgrace to any city or suburb that has just undergone a “transformation”.

This pathetic box of weeds is your Council’s idea of greenery and charm. About as uninviting as is humanly possible.

Compare this with the “villages” of northern and eastern Sydney, each of which is an oasis of greenery and charm.

First published March 7

Last December the City Council celebrated the completion of the Sandy Bay “upgrade”, carried out, ostensibly, in collaboration with local stakeholders. It took over a year, tied up traffic, cost shop owners dearly and inconvenienced shoppers. Worse, there seemed to be no sense of urgency in the execution of the Plan. Many, many people, standing around doing nothing and getting paid for it.

A commemorative plaque states that the Plan will be replicated in other suburban precincts. Before that happens the Council should take a long hard look at what it has, and has not, achieved.

And, as a side-note, on July 24, 2017 the City of Hobart published its “Street Tree Strategy” with the catch-phrase: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” This study cost you, as a citizen of Hobart, $77,000. It represents another colossal waste of money since clearly, none of its precepts have been followed in Sandy Bay.

In March, 2017, I wrote to the mayor urging the planting of trees (“…and more trees”)—in my opinion, the only thing likely to have a positive and long-lasting affect on the stark, cold, and unlovely Sandy Bay “strip mall”. I received a meaningless pro-forma reply from the mayor’s office. The end result is a desert of cement and two million dollars worth of sidewalks. If there was a “village feel” before, we certainly don’t have it now. The poor old palms on the centre island were ripped out but not replaced. In their stead we have cold steel to compliment the cold cement. The brightest spots in Sandy Bay are the traffic lights.

After my pro-forma reply, I decided to get up a petition, but many “collaborating” business-people told me they had been assured by the Council that trees were indeed part of the Plan. Accordingly, I dropped the petition idea.

There must have been a misunderstanding. Sad to say, cement and planters are very sorry substitutes for trees. Others have written to the Council about this ugliness, and about trees, to no avail.

The matters have also been raised with the General Manager. Alas, the City turns a blind eye and we are saddled with some bureaucrat’s idea of “upgrade”, which is a great pity when one considers that the “Street Tree Strategy” was prepared for the Council by one Phillip Jackson, Arboriculturalist and Environmental Consultant.

A particular blot is the unlovely Magnet Court, and while the City has little influence here, it actively ignores the pleas of long-suffering residents of lower King Street, who must live with Magnet Court’s third world rear-end every day. Residents have pleaded for regulation, and for trees to camouflage this disgraceful mess. The City has come up with no end of reasons for ignoring the problem.

Meanwhile, on upper King Street, the traffic flow has been realigned to prevent vehicles from Woolworth’s parking lot turning right onto King Street. In so doing they have created a major bottleneck; where there were two lanes there is now one—at what is already a busy intersection; one recently designated as the State’s worst accident zone.

We deserve better than this.

*Tony Hagar, LLB (UTas), MBA (Columbia), is a playwright and artist. He lived 40 years in New York City where, in his most recent iteration there, he was a real estate developer. He studied at Parsons School of Design and has been featured in The New York Times Real Estate pages. He is strongly of the opinion that lack of standards and lack of vision at City Hall renders the Hobart CBD and beyond (exclusive of the Waterfront and Macquarie Street) drab and of no interest to tourists.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Robin Charles Halton

    March 22, 2018 at 12:49 am

    My observations during the last few mornings while coming into the city for appointments show that there is lots of heavy haulage going both ways to and from the city building up to the morning peak hour traffic BOTH up and down the steep section on the Southern Outlet from Mt Nelson.

    A few days ago a container fell off a truck on that sharp corner leaving the Tasman bridge coming towards the city, but lucky no following motorist was killed!

    As I have been saying for least the past decade and a half, Hobart needs a city bypass especially to deflect heavy haulage and other unnecessary traffic away from the city while preferably avoiding the steep sections of the Southern Outlet from Mt Nelson to the city and vice versa! Heavy haulage prime movers and B double type trailer rigs are getting bigger, loads are heavier and there are increased numbers on the road!

    In the case of the Southern Outlet, the three local councils, Hobart, Kingborough and Huon, need to engage with the State government as there is nothing surer than the increased potential for serious accidents especially on the steeper section between mt Nelson and Davey/Macquarie streets.

    With monthly increased traffic volumes using the Southern Outlet while dependent upon the only formal road transport access, warning signs are needed to avoid serious road accidents. Alternative roading planning needs to start immediately!

  2. Robin Charles Halton

    March 20, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Build the road bypass behind the city to alleviate unnecessary traffic using the two major city streets Davey St and Macquarie St.

    Real nation building stuff mate, making hobart a better place to live and invest in.

    All this childish rubbish about Light rail and commuter ferries is absolute nonsense and totally off the planet as fools from both Hobart and Glenorchy citys’ Councils grab at anything that makes them appear good.

    Servicing scattered populations in the Greater Hobart area along the former rail route from the city to Brighton cannot be justified until there is a significant increase in population numbers and that is unlikely for decades to come.

    The government needs to continually rethink improving public transport via Metro, a trial run with cheaper fares would be interesting to see if the bus services can compete with cars for commuting.

    I have few problems with cycle usage to date although seperate paths from traffic are preferable but difficult to know where to place more paths because of a lack of future city planning.
    Hobartians are not particularly prolific cycle users and there is no point forcing people to take up cycling when they are unable to!

    An example of poor planning is moving the University into the city, as I suspect it could end up as a somewhat regrettable move unless the university chiefs and government have a hidden agenda to downsize its capacity at Sandy Bay!

    Hobart faces too many fanciful planning nightmares that neither State or local government is game to speak up about.

    The stupidity surrounding Mac Point is another example, no investor wants a bar of the location stuck behind a working port.
    Cheap demountable accommodation, car parking, storage for heavy equipment and a scattering of venues for major cultural events on a seasonal basis.

    Hobart lacks future planning by government to provide necessary infrastructure while private investment in the city centre continues, its a wild run.

  3. Robin Charles Halton

    March 20, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Now its time to move on from the pissy attempt by the council to pretty up the ugly Sandy Bay CBD and concentrate on other more important issues now facing Hobart rapidly increased volumes of traffic passing to and from the city, mostly around the daily working day week peak hours through the city onto and from the Southern Outlet.

    To date Hobart City Council and the State Government have both ignored the issue which for both of them seems to be in the two hard basket!

    I guess we will have to wait till there is a major incident which involves heavy haulage on the Southern Outlet or coming down from Mt Nelson through the city which is the only economical and timely route so far from the Southern region past the city.

    Note that I said passing through the city as most have no business within the city itself.

    There is no getting away from it, new roading infrastructure will be required and at an enormous cost.

    This term of government needs to start planning for that to happen if premier Hodgman wishs to increase population, hence business activity levels as Greater Hobart and its surrounding regions are attracting far
    more people to reside here than anywhere in the central north, north east and north west of the State!

    The writing is on the wall, act now before traffic volume matters turn into an ongoing crisis management situation.

  4. Robin Charles Halton

    March 19, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Wait till the council continues the cycle lanes on the footpaths on each side!
    I can bet that Ald Burnett needs to clear the pathway for this to happen!

    I cant see the council ever constructing a totally over engineered complex bridged cycle walkway only halfway along the BP waterfront terminating up the steep incline beside an operational slipway onto Napoleon St!
    Sounds pretty stupid to me!
    Literally “walk” away from it Jeff.

    It would have to be an embarrassment for whoever on council was so excited about the SB development, maybe the Liberal party has absorbed the culprit but the toilets are very artful, expressive and “exciting”,definitely worth a visit to escape the grey streetscape!

    My advice to Ald Jeff Brisoe as a mayoral candidate, dump the BP waterfront walkway idea all together, a simple scramble path would do!
    $11M of rate payer money estimate would be scandalous to ever consider attempting the ridiculously impossible!

    Council should clear their conscience and wipe their bums clean to show support for absolutely essential emergency portable housing at Mac Point for persons in need.
    Treating basic ‘Housing” like a civil emergency is recommended!

    Roger Jaensch has been appointed as the governments rep to resolve the housing crisis.

  5. Ian Broinowski

    March 19, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Sandy Bay makeover feels more like a public urinal. Hygenic, sterile and devoid of imagiation but excruciatingly funtional. Where are the trees!

  6. Scott Breheny

    March 11, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Excellent comments Tony. Any softening of the area with greenery (but not with ill-chosen palm trees as before) can only help to make the surrounds far more attractive and enjoyable.

  7. Peter Willans

    March 10, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Well described Tony.
    In the 60 odd years i have driven over Sandy Bay Road it has never looked so drab and uninviting.
    A veritable sinkhole for the unimaginitive town planner to cry over what it may have been.
    If someone with imagination and flare had taken to the draft boards!!
    If only a plan incorporating leafy trees and shrubs were to adorn the sidewalks and median strips.
    Everywhere on the mainland green is in.
    Alas. Not on Sandy Bay Road.
    Carry the good fight Tony.
    A cause looking for a champion.

  8. Malcolm & Ros Saltmarsh

    March 10, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    We couldn’t agree more Tony … a disappointing waste of a considerable amount of money. As South Hobart residents, we would certainly hope for a more imaginative and attractive result for our suburb in the near future.

  9. Robin Charles Halton

    March 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Literally close your eyes when driving through the short stretch of Sandy Bay CBD, thus avoiding the shades of grey pavement and the horrid mish mash of buildings.
    The new toilets beside Woollies were worth the effort, nice art work and general layout.

  10. Geoff Holloway

    March 7, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Well said Tony Hagar! and to think that we have 4 (or 5, depends who you talk to) ´Green´councillors on the Hobart City Council! The $millions spent on the Sandy Bay precinct is a disgrace and waste of $! I hope that the other suburbs (Newtown, South Hobart, etc) take note of what has happened in Sandy Bay because they are next!

  11. John Biggs

    March 7, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Agreed. The year-long cock up has yielded a very ordinary mouse.

    Still, some are pleased with the result. An old guy was heard to remark “Aren’t the new pavements great? It’s like being in Paris!” (sic).

  12. MjF

    March 7, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Good article. The planter box certainly looks forlorn and unintegrated with anything. Maybe more will appear in time. Let’s hope the city gardeners know how get the best out of this fine feature.

  13. Elisabeth Rees

    March 7, 2018 at 12:59 am

    Thanks Tony. This is a brilliant article which should have all Hobart citizens concerned.

    There certainly does appears to be a stunning lack of traffic, planning and landscaping knowledge at our local council, and a general inability to deliver agreed plans on time and to a reasonable budget. Any town planner should know about the calming of traffic (both vehicle and foot) with the use of trees and greenery. That token box of grass is appalling.

    I look forward to seeing a response from the Hobart City Council.

  14. don knowler

    March 6, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    The siting of a second gigantic service station at the heart of Sandy Bay was a terrible mistake, considering there is an existing service station literally over the road.

    Bring back the palms which made the Sandy Bay strip distinctive – and do something about the ghastly rear end of Magnet Court. That wall would be an affront to the South Bronx, if it is still how I remember it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top