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Nearby: Lady Franklin’s vision

David Crean, former Tasmanian Treasurer and currently the Chair of the Board of Directors of Hydro Tasmania, is trying his hand at becoming a subdivision developer. However, a 16-block subdivision he has proposed for land he owns in Lenah Valley has sparked opposition from local residents.

In April this year Crean’s consultants submitted an application to the Hobart City Council for a subdivision development directly adjoining Acanthe Park on Lenah Valley Road, the site of the Lady Franklin Museum. Crean, who has owned the 2.53 hectare block of land since July 1993, is proposing that approximately one-eighth of the land be set aside to be bought by the Council to add to a reserve on Brushy Creek Road. A further 1297square metres of land has been agreed to be set aside to protect four of the five clusters of spreading knawel, which is listed by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment as a vulnerable species.

Asked what the value of the project would be, Crean told Tasmanian Times (TT) that he hadn’t “done detailed numbers on it.” A conservative estimate is that the development will yield several million dollars.

The Lenah Valley Community Association, which has organised a public meeting about the proposal tonight, argue that the subdivision will spell “doom for Lady Jane Franklin’s vision for Hobart”. Lady Franklin originally donated 10 acres of land for Acanthe Park—“the vale of flowers”—to the people of Hobart. She also set aside a further 400 acres as a working farm to support the Acanthe Park. However, subsequently the land has been whittled away - the farm sold and roads and a bus terminus built on the remaining few acres. Instead of supporting the subdivision and buying a fraction of the land, the Lenah Valley Community Association wants the Hobart City Council to purchase the entire block.

Crean, while open to selling the land to the council, told TT that when he had offered it to them a decade or so ago they had flatly rejected the option.

Crean, who had two stints in the Tasmanian parliament, was state Treasurer from August 1998 until his retirement in February 2004 due to ill health. A few months later then Premier Paul Lennon approached Crean to see if he was interested in being appointed the Chair of the Board of Directors of Hydro Tasmania. He was, and in September 2004, the then Minister for Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, Bryan Green, announced Crean’s new role. This year Crean will be paid $105,000 as chairman.

When Crean’s architect, Mark Peacock from Peacock, Darcy and Anderson submitted the application for Crean’s project, he listed Crean’s Hydro Tasmania email account as one of the three contacts for his client. According to Hydro Tasmania spokesman, Pat Garnham, the organisation’s guidelines allow employees “a limited amount of email and internet usage for personal use” but with a caveat that they aren’t to be used for personal profit-making activities. Peacock was not available for comment.

Crean said that the project was being handled entirely by Peacock, Darcy and Anderson. The email account, Crean said, was a “personal” one which he had used “on occasion” in relation to the project.

Public meeting
Where: Lenah Valley Community Hall, 21 Creek Rd Lenah Valley TAS 7008
When: 7.30 pm Monday October 10.

More information on the proposal can be found on the Hobart City Council’s website: http://www.hobartcity.com.au/Development/Planning/Advertised_Applications - in the window listing applicationns scroll down towards the botton and click on the link for the development application number 11-00822 for 270A Lenah Valley Road, Lenah Valley which is described as “Subdivision (16 Lots and Public Open Space) “

The deadline for public comment on the proposal is Wednesday October 12.

First published: 2011-10-10 02:41 PM