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We understand that a housing development proposal is being thrown together in haste after a request from the Australian Government who want to see a ‘nod’ to housing as part any funding bid for an AFL stadium. We are concerned that this project is drawing on very limited information and a total lack of consultation with or respect for key stakeholders and caretakers of the land in question.

Our concerns are as follows:

  1. There is a danger to privatise the public foreshore of the River Derwent – the proposed Regatta Point site is public land that has been accessible and culturally significant for nearly 200 years. It has been the location of the Hobart Regatta since 1838 and includes several jetties and the only public access boat ramp in this municipality. It is one of only a small number of places where the Hobart community can easily connect with the River Derwent. While we presume there will be some continued public access to the waterfront, there be a conflict between public interest and private amenity of apartment owners.
  1. A poor location for housing – the location for the apartments is a narrow strip of land which sits between the River Derwent and Cenotaph Hill, cut off the site from the active, urban part of the City. Alternative sites for housing in the CBD or North-Hobart will provide better opportunities for integration into city life that will also be easier and cheaper to develop.
  1. A flawed attempt to activate Macquarie Point with people – the size of the proposed stadium doesn’t allow for any other mixed uses directly around it, so most of the time the site will be devoid of people. The apartments project is not of a scale to provide substantial activation required for the site. This housing proposal is a ‘nod’ to a broader range of uses but is so poorly sited and conceived that it ends up looking like a tokenistic add on.
  1. Impacts on both Regatta Grounds and Cenotaph is an insult to Hobart’s cultural places – important caretakers of these historic places have been informed but not genuinely consulted. The stadium’s size is a huge concern because of its visual and looming over impact on the Cenotaph and now another knock-on effect is the need to take over public foreshore, because there’s no room left at Macquarie Point to create a mixed precinct.

The rush to select a random grab-bag of proposals is extraordinarily poor planning and bound to lead to bad decisions that our community will regret for many years. We anticipate that there will be a significant public backlash against the loss of this public land for a poorly conceived project.

We urge the Prime Minister to reject any financial support for these poorly conceived plans for Macquarie and Regatta Points.

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