How will the cable car affect me?
Each year thousands of people visit kunanyi/Mount Wellington to walk it’s slopes and experience the wonder of a natural environment right on the doorstep of Tasmania’s capital city. There’s nowhere else like it on earth! Do we really want to destroy this wonder by allowing the Mount Wellington Cableway Company to send huge cable cars carrying 80 people to travel over the top of bushwalkers every five minutes? As bushwalkers can we allow a private company to forever change the experience of visiting kunanyi/Mount Wellington’s majestic walking tracks?
The upper slopes of Mount Wellington are ill suited for development into a mountain biking mecca. Monumental terrain, environmental concerns, and hugely prohibitive geological features make the prospect of building even a single trail from the summit an impossibly expensive undertaking. A recent feasibility study undertaken by globally recognised mountain bike consultants World Trail put the cost of trail construction at over $300 per metre, almost ten times the per-metre cost of the Blue Derby trails. Utilising existing trails would require riding 7.5km down Pinnacle Road before encountering only two bike trail options, losing 550m of vertical along the way. That’s not much mountain biking for a ticket that’s likely to cost more than $60.
Mount Wellington’s magnificent Organ Pipes are one of the most iconic climbing areas in Australia. MWCC’s proposed cable car will send a 80 person capacity bus-sized cable tram right over these world class routes every five minutes. This will shatter the experience for climbers and threaten to turn the Organ Pipes from a globally renowned climbing destination with unspoilt views of Hobart and beyond into a tacky tourist attraction with views obscured by a mess of cables and steel boxes. Following the footsteps of adventure sports capitals like Canada and New Zealand, Mount Wellington is increasingly becoming an accessible centre for adventure sports in Hobart, and a cable car looming above will quickly squander that value.
The boom for the local economy is often touted as a primary reason to support a proposed cable car, but a development on the mountain will not see an increase in visitor numbers, only a shift in where their money is spent. Cruise ship passengers disembarking onto shuttle busses and being delivered to the terminal door will bypass the local businesses that rely on them to survive. While the Mount Wellington Cableway Company seeks to line their own pockets, they’ll happily do so at the expense of the small shops and attractions elsewhere in Hobart and its surrounds.
The Mount Wellington Cableway Company has shown a staggering disregard for the concerns of the Tasmanian aboriginal community. Within moments of the announcement that Mount Wellington would be given its Palawa name of kunanyi, the cable car proponents had registered the associated domain names, maliciously co-opting them for their own use. Their response to concerns from the aboriginal community can only be considered offensive, with CEO Adrian Bold posting emojis suggesting that they were crying with laughter at the concerns being raised. Tasmanian aboriginals have an ancient relationship with the mountain and its surrounds, and their voices should be heard clearly and respected in any discussions about its future.
No visit to the summit of the mountain is complete without a photograph of the majestic view that takes in the Derwent estuary, with the city sprawled at its feet. If the Mount Wellington Cableway Company has their way, these internationally renowned panoramic shots will be gone forever, marred by the steel tower required to transport trams over the face of the Organ Pipes. This view cannot survive the invasion of hundreds of tonnes of steel over 30 metres in height, erected on public land by a private developer.