Impacts of a cable car
The impacts of a cable car on
Way of life
We all know the Tasmanian tourism economy is thriving, but the reason we are having such strong growth is because we do things differently down south.
We enjoy our mountain in a thousand different ways. From mountain biking and climbing, to photography, bushwalking, and building car-bonnet snowmen for the drive back into the city.
A cable car would change all of this and is hardly a creative tourism solution.
“We find ourselves presented with the proposal to slash the face of the mountain with the flick knife of greed in the form of a cable car, ascending over of all things the Organ Pipes, destroying the great jewel of the mountain”… “How is it that the Chair of the Board of Directors for Tourism Tasmania, James Cretan, can also be the largest preference shareholder in the Mount Wellington Cable Car Company? He has bought through his company 250,000 shares for $312,500… It appears to be a conflict of interest for him, for Tourism Tasmania, for the Mount Wellington Trust and for the Government… No matter how much the Government says it is not an issue, it is an issue”…“A tsunami of money is washing over us, and with it it threatens to wash away the very thing that makes this island precious for us and for those who wish to visit… Tourists will value our island more for the respect we grant it… Tourism should serve us, not we serve tourism.” Richard Flanagan
This development will be visible from every angle in the greater Hobart area, from the Eastern Shore, to Kingston, and the Northern Suburbs.
Think bus-sized capsules capable of carrying 80 passengers, strung between 75 metre high towers and a new multi-story tourist complex glaring above the Hobart skyline. Walkers and mountain bikers will have cable trams clattering above their heads, and the view of Hobart from the summit will be obscured with infrastructure – no more amazing summit selfies! Whatever your leaning, it’s undeniable the mountain will never be the same.
While the Mount Wellington Cableway Company haven’t publicly announced the proposed ticket prices, it is possible to look at similar Australian infrastructure to understand the potential costs. Firstly, there is the Blue Mountains Cableway which costs adults $45 per ticket. Then there’s the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway in Cairns, a project often compared to the proposed Mountain Wellington Cableway project by the Mount Wellington Cable Car Company themselves, which costs adult users a whopping $80 for a round trip. With these existing pricing structures, it’s hard to imagine a family using the proposed Mount Wellington Cableway for less than $150 dollars, not taking into account the extra $50 likely to be spent on feeding the kids at the summit restaurant. With predicted costs well beyond the price range of the average Tasmanian, it is clear this development has nothing to do with improving transport options for locals.
Conflict of interest
Since first spruiking the idea in 2013, The Mt Wellington Cableway Company has engaged in almost zero public consultation and has in fact cancelled several meetings with various interest groups. They have even publicly admitted to working with the government to covering up plans for the development until they could secretly push facilitating legislation through parliament!
What’s even more shocking is the fact that current Tourism Tasmania Chairman, James Creton, owns 250,000 shares in the Mount Wellington Cableway Company, while Tourism Tasmania sits on the board of the Mt Wellington Park Management Trust. This is a clear conflict of interest.
It’s pretty clear who stands to gain from this development, and it isn’t the general public.
Just three days before the election was called, the government gave approval for drilling and other preliminary works on the mountain. And then just one day before the election was called, the State Government told Carlton United Breweries (Cascade) they would give them a million dollars, no strings attached. A million dollars! That could buy a lot of influence in a company like CUB, whose land they required to proceed with their preliminary plans. Despite this huge incentive, CUB (Cascade) conducted extensive responsible community consultation and announced recently that they would NOT support a Cable Car using any of their land to reach the mountain. You can read their media release on our news page.
Although the proposed cable car has been marketed as a major ‘private’ development, it’s more than likely the economic responsibility will fall back on the taxpayer when the project is unable to meet its ambitious targets. The Mount Wellington Cableway Company knows that if the project is built, they can guarantee the Tasmanian Government will step in when their dodgy financials don’t stack up. For the private developers, this a risk-free project reliant on inevitable taxpayer support.
While the Mount Wellington Cableway Company makes many promises regarding the construction and operation of their proposed cable car, it is a very real possibility that any permits secured to build and run the project will be immediately sold to a foreign investor with no connection to Tasmania. The permits required to undertake the cable car project are transferable, and the MWCC are not bound in any way to holding them and seeing their project through to its end phase. Any promises made by the company in these early stages of marketing carry no long-term weight, and could be quickly discarded by the future owners of the project. Up until 2014, Canadian company Bullwheel International Cable Car Corporation was slated to be the project’s primary financial backer, with no promise of MWCC CEO Adrian Bold remaining a majority stakeholder. The Canadian company has since severed ties with Mr Bold and the Mount Wellington Cableway Company. These negotiations clearly demonstrate the possibility of a foreign company taking ownership of the project were it to ever receive the required permits, while MWCC and its small cadre of shareholders take the money and run.
“there’s nothing disappearing on this planet faster than it’s wildness, it’s naturalness, that being which inspirits us, which is so important to all of us because it’s an avenue to our own origins”…
“the icon of this natural planet is on the back door of this great city [Hobart], which tells us about the wildness, the remoteness, the thing that makes Tasmania already internationally famous. We don’t need cable cars in there. People are coming here for what it is.” Bob Brown
A FRAGILE PLACE
Currently, over Hobart’s summer months, over 30,000 litres of waste are pumped from the toilets on the mountain’s summit each week. Thousands of tourists accessing the pinnacle will increase this amount exponentially, with a proposed restaurant and cafe pushing waste management to its limits. These visitor numbers could easily overwhelm the fragile alpine environment, leaving rubbish strewn across the mountain, flora trampled beneath boots, and even more human waste being transported off the mountain each day.
The Mount Wellington Cableway Company would have you believe that Pinnacle Road will no longer require maintenance and will never need to be widened if the proposed cable car was to be built. However, if you consider the increased number of tourists and locals driving to the summit to visit the proposed restaurant complex instead of forking out hundreds of dollars for the cable car journey, it is obvious that pressure on the roads will not decrease. If there is increased traffic and increased lengths of stay at the summit restaurant, inevitably there will also be some gridlock parking qualms and a need to clear land for additional parking options… Not to mention the heavy vehicles that will be required to build and service a new summit centre with no existing infrastructure.
In fact, if the cable car was to begin at the proposed Main Fire Trail site, the increased traffic on the already congested Macquarie and Davey Streets would cause major delays for Hobart commuters.
“Aborigines, like most of you aren’t against development at any cost, but it has to be done with pride, honour and consultation. We saw [Adrian] Bold, dishonestly register Kunyani as a domain name shortly after we gave the mountain back its name. That’s the sort of deceit that we have to confront, as we’re confronting this development. We can see no reason to trust anything that company says, or so far anything that this government is doing to facilitate this destruction.” “Kunyani has an aboriginal history much longer than the 100 years that white people have been here. It’s about time that everyone started to put us [the aboriginal community] back in the landscape”. Heather Sculthorpe